Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Rhine

The "Emmericher Poortekerl"

Car-driving is not one of my most favourite activities. I had to spent a lot of time in the car today, picking up Lieke (She stayed some days of the school holiday with a friend in the eastern part of the Netherlands). To make a break I stopped just over the border in Emmerich (Germany) and walked half an hour along the Rhine. In Emmerich, just before the Rhine enters the Netherlands, the river is at its widest. Up to 16.000 cubic meters of water per second pass the border. Walking along this giant flow is impressive. The Rhine made Dutch landscape, ecologics, economics, transport, history, culture… It still does, and will do in the future.

I thought of my plans to kayak down the Rhine from Switzerland to Woerden. For some reason, after years, it stays a plan/an intention. Every year I make other decisions with my kayak-plans and go for the sea, not for the Rhine. To be honest salt water, tide and currents, surf, swell, sands and open crossings attract me more than river paddling… That’s one reason. The other reason is that sea-kayak activities are mostly group-activities. And the best fun is the fun you share.
But yet it’s still on my mind: a solo-paddling journey along the Rhine 1300 km’s. Two weeks paddling down the mother of all rivers. Two weeks on my own. I am going to do it. 2008 is the year for it… Sure.

It's done before. I won't be the first to paddle down the Rhine:
- Bart and Karst did it in 2001;
- Erik and Corné did it in 2003;
- Ide and Erik did it in 2005;
- Bill and Mike are going to do it in April 2007 (and intend to set a new world record, less then 7 days...).

4 comments:

Michael said...

An interesting trip to do, but I'd take as much time as possible to absorb each nuance of the river and the history it flow through. Seven day? Not for me, but I'm not the racing type!

bonnie said...

Funny, I have that same thing with a concrete, achievable plan/intention staying just that - a plan/intention.

I would love to paddle the Hudson - probably from the locks at Troy, so that I can experence "locking through" & on down to NYC. Don't know if I'll ever manage it, it would take one full week of my 3 weeks of vacation, but it's on the "like to do" list. Somehow doing it solo always seemed appealing - I love a good paddle with friends, but this would be one that I'd rather do for myself, at my own speed, dilly-dallying if I find a marsh I want to explore, clicking off 30 miles without a stop if I feel like it...

ah, pipe dreams.

Well, here's to 2008!

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Maarten said...

Dear Hans,

here an other dreamer from Arnhem. Last year I cycled to Gibraltar and for this year I have exactly the same plans as yours in 2008. So I was wondering if you have completed your journey on the Rhine river. I have found a lot of couples who have paddled down the river but did you do it all on your own?
Any advise and information is welcome!