Portsmouth’s Connex group is showing how they row and exactly what floats their boats, after a busy season already, with one successful full-moon float under their belts. With one and done, the group is looking at the next float scheduled for June 3, as well as a whole season of floats to prepare for.
“We try to have them on or around the full moon dates,” Connex organizer Dawn Scott said. “It can be hard for some of us to get out on a weekday, though, so we will often shoot for a Friday or Saturday. We just gather around 7 p.m. and we require lights and lifejackets. We just paddle out and float. Some of us do it together in large groups and just visit, bird watch, critter watch, give wild flower alerts, whatever we can do to enjoy the outdoors. I think it gives people a better appreciation for nature and it is an incredible de-stressor; sitting in the outdoors is always good.”
The first float of the season was the Cinco de Mayo Full Moon Float, which brought out around 40 paddlers to take on Turkey Creek. The water was cold, but spirits were warm as they took to the water for hours, exploring wildlife and bonding over a hobby they all enjoy. Afterwards, many stayed to camp at Shawnee State Park.
“Oh, my goodness, it was fabulous,” Scott said. “We had an amazing turnout and had some new faces we’ve never seen before, which is even more exciting, because we’re reaching new people.”
If you do not own a kayak, then you can rent one from the campgrounds and join them, according to Scott. Additionally, if funding is a concern, some members of Connex have extra kayaks that may be available if people request them ahead of time.
Scott said Dr. Logan Minter brought out several loaner kayaks from the Connex members for new people to try and they were all used.
“It was great,” Scott said. “We want people to know that, if they give us a day or two notice, we can probably secure them a loaner.”
The season opener float went so well that Scott says she is energized for a season of fun and believes they will be successful in reaching new people.
“I’m pretty excited. We had a lot of fun, because we had our themed float with Cinco de Mayo. Strawberry Moon is next, so we hope people will be creative and bring strawberries to give out or something like that,” Scott said. “More than anything, we hope people turnout to enjoy a gorgeous moon and good time with like-minded people to see the beauty of Turkey Creek.”
Scott explained that you don’t have to be a member of Connex to join in activities, but she encourages people to join, because it allows the group to continue working on community service events and projects.
“We love it when people join our family, because it allows us to continue our mission,” Scott said.
The full moon floats are only one branch of dozens of events offered throughout the year by the organization to get people active in the community through bicycling, paddling, walking, hiking, and more. In the coming months, they have many events scheduled, weekly Tour de Portsmouth rides to a monstrous Wild Ride event in Shawnee State Park. Follow them on Facebook for more information on their events.
The Connex attendees will meet on the scheduled dates at the Turkey Creek ramp that is close to the Nature Center off 125.
The scheduled floats include the Strawberry Moon Forever Float on June 3, with a 7:30 p.m. launch in celebration of the Strawberry Moon; the I Buckin’ Love America Float on July 3, with a 7:30 p.m. launch in celebration of the Buck Moon; the Amost-Full Moon Float on July 29, with a 7:30 p.m. launch in celebration of the Sturgeon Moon; the Not-Quite Blue Moon Float on August 26, with a 7 p.m. launch in honor of the Blue Moon; and the Gathering Together Float on September 29, with a 6:30 p.m. launch in celebration of the Harvest Moon.
“I love to hike, bike, and kayak,” Scott said. “There is such a benefit of doing that with others who are like-minded, and I think Connex is just good for the soul.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved