The ditch is a narrow twisting enclosed canal that runs through the backyards of a small community. While this doesn’t sound very exciting there are loads of benefits.
Winter months are pretty stormy around here with lots of wind. When other locations are too exposed, the ditch is mostly protected and we can usually get at least a four mile paddle in. With twists and turns there are infinite challenges depending on the direction and strength of the wind. Otters, beaver, deer, raccoons, geese and many different species of waterfowl take advantage of the protected waters as well.
For skill development and board control this waterway is a gem. There are 5 small bridges to duck under, Big Al and Little Al (alleys) and the Gates of Alder to name a few of the features. With hidden sticks and shallow spots, keeping a heads up for a superman dismount is wise! Anticipation and strategizing for upcoming maneuvers teaches so much for timing and technique. How and where do I place my paddle to get the desired outcome? Do I want or need to turn, move sideways, stop or paddle in reverse? These opportunities just don’t arise as easily on big open waters. I believe finding a place that has a more defined route allows you to really concentrate on developing a wide range of skills, which will pay off in the big picture.
We don’t like garbage that ends up in the water so we clean it up. Along with plastic bottles and cans, fishing line, Styrofoam, buckets and bags, there have been a few good finds. Some of these treasures include a parrot kite, a plastic floating alligator, flower pots, a broad tipped hunting arrow (that came with a price which is another story) and lots of tennis balls.
It’s wonderful to be able to go to exotic, dreamland places to paddle. Clear warm water is certainly intoxicating. I also think there can be great opportunities if we explore our own backyards and I am thankful we have this unique waterway.