Hot and humid? Try a refreshing float

No, this float isn't made with ice cream. Last week the column subject was local waters that produced good midsummer fishing. When the flows of our local rivers are at their normal summertime levels, one of the more enjoyable methods is floating these watersheds in a small car-top boat, canoe or kayak. There are few summertime outdoor activities that bring more relaxing pleasure than paddling and drifting along with the moderate current of a medium-size river like those in our region.

For starters, spending a hot summer day floating with the currents is a refreshingly cool escape from the heat. Many sections of the Chenango, Unadilla, Upper Susquehanna and Tioughnioga flow through wooded areas, and even in those sections that don't, shade is often available from abundant shoreline trees, the canopies of which usually extend well out over the water. Add fishing opportunities, and it makes for a great day outdoors despite the warm air temperatures.

The ability to keep cool also extends beyond being "just on the water," as there will be numerous shallower sections in these rivers, usually where deeper pools start or end, that demand for you to exit your craft and walk it through the ankle-deep shallows. And sometimes, especially on the hotter days, you'll wade/walk your craft through the shallower sections even when you don't have to, just for the enjoyment of feeling the cool water flowing around your feet and legs. You're also apt to encounter an occasional fallen tree spanning the river, which will mandate a short portage. These trips usually involve wearing clothing that's cool and dries quickly, but river-floaters never go barefoot -- for there are sharp rocks, broken glass, barbed wire and other assorted dangers lurking beneath the water. Whether you wear shorts or long pants, make sure you use a sunscreen stout enough to protect from sunburn and skin damage. If you wear shorts or pants, there's several khaki brands that stand up well to water and dry quickly. Choose one of those. Protect what's between your ears, and that means wearing a hat and polarized sunglasses.

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