Kayaking the Licking River

After my first trip to Blackhand Gorge hiking around I knew that I wanted to grab my Kayak in the near future and explore the Licking River. Saturday was going to be the day!

I finally found someone to join me and we met up at the park entrance on the east end of the trail in separate vehicles. This allowed us to park his vehicle here and drive mine up to the east end of the trail with kayaks loaded. We found a great area to launch from just under the bridge that you cross before you enter the gravel parking lot.

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Launch Area

What a beautiful day to be out in the water and we where the only ones so far!

 Slowly floating down the river I take in the scenery and try to enjoy the silence of nature, no phones, no horns, just the sounds of running water and wildlife. My time to relax and reflect!

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At some point, I’m not sure when, I found myself in a small eddy and I realized that if I just laid back on my kayak letting my feet and arms dangle in the water this small whirlpool would just keep slowly moving me around in a large circle for the rest of the day if I allowed it to. I must have laid there for at least thirty minutes just starring at the sky watching the birds fly overhead. It was truly was relaxing!

I thought that having a friend of mine with me would make things feel rushed but he was in his own little world too, casting his line in trying to catch something as we floated along.

Stopping every so often just to explore the river banks I found evidence of other creatures going about their daily routines. Sometimes I like to just watch them moving about, trying to figure out what it is they are really doing.

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As always, I have my camera in hand taking photos of my surroundings. Not only do I like capturing these moments for just the fun of it, but I also like to look through them all at the end of a trip hoping to find something new that I missed while in the moment. This is my way of discovering new things to do in the same locations and I plan trips to return.

I think I could spend days in the same small areas just exploring things small and large, letting my mind wander whichever ways it desires to. A small tent, campfire and a hot cup of coffee while starring up at the stars! I think I’m talking myself into a new adventure as I type.

Paddling down further we come upon the formation for which this area is named for. “Blackhand Gorge”

The Blackhand Gorge was thought to be named after the Black Hand, a prehistoric petroglyph in the shape of a black hand with spread fingers and part of a wrist. One elongated finger supposedly pointed towards a nearby Indian mound. It is thought that the symbol meant that all tribes passing through the gorge on their way to the flint pits a few miles south must pass through in peace.

One legend describes a contest set up between two suitors. The loser amputated his own hand in shame and threw it off one of the gorge’s cliffs, creating a hand shaped mark on the rock but who knows for sure. Stories of old handed down to become legends.

As we paddled down the river we occasionally pasted a couple just sitting on the bank holding hands or kids swimming. This is really an awesome place to visit for all!

Unfortunately, as with all things, our trip was coming to an end and we could see the bridge coming closer.

Our take out point. Coasting onto the bank I was sad that it was over so soon but I could see that for some, their memories were about to begin.

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Rafts, chairs and coolers lashed together, their journey was just beginning! Stories to be told and laughter to be had, I wished them a safe trip as we loaded up our gear.

This is what it’s about, getting out and just having a good time, no matter what that might be!

Check out the Video Highlights


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