USGS gauge in Ararat, North Carolina
The Ararat River flows from the foothills of the Blue Ridge in Ararat Virginia into North Carolina to its confluence with the Yadkin River three miles West of Pilot Mountain State Park on the Surry/Yadkin border. Along the way it passes through my hometown and just behind my house.
June 24th, 2016. Ben and I took his friend Matthew for a float from
Riverside Park to Tharrington Park. The water was low but we made
it. A highlight was a deer that ran across the river right in front of
April 4th, 2016. A little hometown park-n-play/roll tune-up by Chase 'n
Charlie's on a 70degree evening.
June 13th, 2015.
Ben and I cooled off with a fun run from the Middle School to Chili Rojo, with two breaks for swimming. We wanted to check out some of the new river restoration work. We ran across one almost river wide strainer, but other than that, Ben's first time out on moving water in his new Sidekick went great.
May 7th, 2015.
I flipped around some beside Tharrington Field while Ben practiced soccer. I had to move downstream to a new spot as it was too shallow in my old one at 1.2ft. (super short video)
August 3rd, 2014.
Ben bought a Dagger Blast from my friend Dale. This is the same Blast that Jackson paddled on the Ararat in August 2009. Our friend Drew bought a Dagger Blast from my friend Kit. And together they tried there new boats out on the Ararat. The water was low, but clear, and we had a nice Sunday afternoon paddle.
July 4th, 2014.
Ben and I took a holiday float down the Ararat. We had a little bump of water due to the heavy rains the day before. The rains also meant that the river looked like chocolate milk. We made two stops for swimming and one stop to eat blackberries.
August 23, 2013.
Ben and I made our 3rd trip of the summer down the Ararat together. This time we switched boats, which let me play a little and gave him a chance to paddle something a little more narrow and longer. We had our best time yet, thanks to a seal launch and some swimming.
July 20, 2013
Ben and I hit the Ararat at Riverside Park at 10:28AM and were at the take-out at Tharrington at 11:20AM. Ben used my stick, well my borrowed stick, and I hand paddled. Much as Jackson did at that age, Ben enjoyed the waves more than the slow water. The level was nice, the weather great and I enjoyed spending time on the river with my wingman.
July 18, 2013
Ben and I joined Troop 538 for a trip down the river. The scouts were in canoes, while I paddled the lone kayak. I enjoyed watching the scouts have fun on the water. Ben rode in the sweep canoe with Josh and finished the trip safe and dry. Video here.
June 17, 2013
A burst of rain gave the river a little bump, which I took advantage of with a little park and play fun. I parked at Riverside and played for about a quarter mile before carrying the boat back up the greenway. Click here for some video.
June 11, 2013
I spent about an hour playing around with cartwheels on the Ararat. I parked at the middle school and put in next to the foot bridge, then took out at Main Street. I shot this little bit of video of me playing and this video of a mother beaver carrying her kit further upstream.
April 25, 2013
Another evening of park-n-play while Ben practiced soccer. I shot this video. I again had fun and learn a little more each time.
April 18, 2013
While Ben practiced soccer on Tharrington Field, I played in the river right beside him. I shot this video, mostly with my new GoPro.
July 20, 2012
As sort of a spur of the moment type thing, I threw the Fun on the roof rack and drove down to the takeout at the end of the greenway. I was curious if there was a hole deep enough to try a few enders. I got lucky and found a spot only a hundred yards upstream. Click here for a video from that session and from the next day at my sister's pond.
A quick afternoon downpour gave us a bump of water to ride on our last Wednesday night paddle before school starts next week. I asked Jackson if he wanted to just relax at the house tonight or paddle and he quickly chose the river. Great night, only took one hour to get from the park to the house. Amy ran shuttle for us, dropping us off at the put-in and driving down to the river to pick us up behind the house.
Jackson and I were joined by Dale, Brandon, Dave and Meg on a Wednesday evening paddle on the Ararat. It took us two hours to paddle the three miles between Riverside Park and Highway 52.
July 3, 2009
Jackson and I spent a couple of fun hours on the river this morning. We paddled the two miles from Riverside Park to our house. Things I heard the most were "I'm going to see if I can get back up there and surf it" and "do you mind if I lead through this one"
They are not finished reconstructing the river yet, but I wanted to check it out since the scoops and bulldozers were taking a break for the 4th. It's not going to look natural, but it's nice all the same. I told Jackson I was going to call it the Instructional Channel. They channeled it in with boulders to create narrow features, which were followed by deep circular pools. That pattern repeated for most of the sections that were worked on. Some sections were left natural, mostly the ones with the rounded granite boulders already in place. Very few shallow shelves. Jackson enjoyed stopping to swim in the deep sections. I think it's going to be a nice and convenient place for him to practice, especially since we can take out right behind the house. I haven't paddled it in years due to the number of strainers that were on it then. Those are all gone now. It took us around two hours, but only because we played so much on our way down.
October 18, 2006
Today's story is one of two extremes. A perfect start and a miserable ending. Sandwiched between two rainy days, we had a perfectly sunny 85F/29C Wednesday. My friend Jeff and I took full advantage of it by wrapping up work early, grabbing our boats and hitting the river. The weather was amazing. I had to take off my cold weather gear because it was so hot. After dropping my van off at Riverside Park, we were at the put-in on Riverside Drive, directly across from Crossingham Road, by 4pm. We made good time on the river, with just enough water leftover from Tuesday's rain to not drag. This run might have been short on woo-hoos, but was packed with ooohs and aaahs as the changing leaves were beautiful in the setting sun. Perfect day. (read the rest of the trip report here)
December 23, 2005
Six days after my first paddle on The Ararat, Jeff and I decided to run it in our whitewater boats. We didn't find as much water in the river this time though and our progress in many spots were slowed as we tried to navigate over rock garden after rock garden.. The trip a week before fell three days after a good rain and I only rubbed the river bottom once during the first three miles. I also paddled five miles in 2.5 hours as opposed to the three miles we covered in 3 hours on this trip. Low water aside, it was a beautiful day to be outside and on the river. The water was perfectly clear and I was able to watch the trout swim right under our kayaks. I saw one nice 12 inch trout near the put in, then a school of thirty or so 8-10 inch fish further downstream. At the backup before Linville Road, I floated over a school of at least a hundred 6-8 inch fish. If I was more of a fisherman I could maybe tell you what the fish were, but it's hard to tell when you are looking straight down at them. A grouse flew out of the brush on the right river bank as Jeff glided past it.
We stopped at one of the more fun and picturesque sections so that I could clear out a tree blocking the exit from a small surf spot. (You can see the tree, now floating harmlessly, in this picture. )This not only ate up too much time as we wrestled with the tree, but Jeff also got wet getting in and out of his boat. He was getting pretty cold as the sun began to fall on our paddle to the falls next to the quarry. I was really looking forward to running these rapids in the whitewater boat. We had no time left to remove the tree blocking the river-left line, so I ran it river right. I can't wait to catch these falls when the water is up 6-12 inches. At this point we were running really late. I had estimated that the trip would take us two hours. We got started late and I only had two hours to kayak and get back to my house. The trip took an hour longer than planned, so we were really booking it to try and get off the water without being too late for my holiday dinner plans. When we hit the wide patch of no water right before our take-out at Riverside Park, Jeff and I just hopped out of our boats and drug them down the river. So the day ended in typical fashion for Jeff and I; cold, tired, and late. But I still had a fantastic day. And we now know the water level needed to paddle the Ararat. Hopefully we'll get the water we need and run this section again, because I enjoy this new found local run very much.
December 17, 2005
Just on the other side of a small patch of woods and a large cornfield lies the Ararat River. I'm not sure why I hadn't paddled it before. I didn't really know anything about it other than what you see as the river pass through town. So today was primarily a scouting trip to see if the river was worth running. Plus I just really wanted to get outside and on the water. I was on the river at eight am to paddle the four or five miles from the Johnson Creek/Ararat River confluence to where the Ararat passes behind my house. The temperature was 32F/0C at the put in, but warmed to 40F/4C by the time I took out. I paddled solo, which meant the Element instead of the GT. The first couple of miles north of town reminded me of the Dan River as it passes through Claudville. It was a surprisingly fun paddle. The first mile I was just happy to be outside and paddling. The second mile I was noticing how nice of a class I/II run it turned out to be. The water level drops once you reach the city , but north of town I found plenty of water and no rock gardens. One nice little section just north of the Linville Road backup was especially fun with huge boulders creating a maze of lines to take. Once you reach Linville Road the water backs up behind a rock pile-up next to the granite quarry. I had assumed the backup was from a dam and was ecstatic to find an awesome set of rapids instead. I debated portaging for probably ten minutes. I figured I had about a twenty percent chance of making it through dry in the rec boat. I knew that would mean a pretty cold swim, but as usual, I couldn't pass it up. A straight through line on river left was blocked by a tree, so I had to take a more technical line on river right. You can't be but so technical in an eleven foot boat though and the river and the rocks really did all the work for me. The line I had mapped out didn't pan out, but the one that the boat took me in worked much better and my big "Yeah, That's what I'm talking about!!!" echoed through the granite quarry on the left bank. The rest of the trip wasn't nearly as fun as the water level was lower and the river was peppered with strainers and rock gardens. So next time I will probably take out at Riverside Park rather than paddle all the way to my house. Plus that little patch of woods seemed a lot bigger and denser when I tried to drag my boat through it. And the portage across the corn field carrying a boat and gear wasn't the most fun. On the other hand, it rocked to be able to get out of the river, walk in my back door and get in a hot shower. I think Jeff and I are going to be able to use the upper three miles of this run a lot in our whitewater boats. I can't wait. (Note: I no longer have to drag the boat through the woods because a wide clear path has been made to the cornfield. The portage is now as simple as walking across a field to my house.)