PORTSMOUTH- Portsmouth’s Connex group has spent a summer showing how they row and exactly what floats their boats, after a busy season of full-moon floats under their belts and one remaining.
“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 life jackets. 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.
The following floats included the Strawberry Moon Forever Float, I Buckin’ Love America Float, the Almost-Full Moon Float, and Not-Quite Blue Moon Float.
“It has been a fabulous season. We’ve seen a lot of new faces on bikes and on kayaks; it’s just been wonderful,” Scott said.
Scott explained deciding on a favorite float would be impossible.
“Picking my favorite would be hard, because we did so many fun things,” Scott said. “For Strawberry Moon, I brought in sliced strawberries and waffle cones, but the moon on the last two floats was just extraordinary.”
The next, and final, float of the season is the Gathering Together Float on September 29, with a 6:30 p.m. launch in celebration of the Harvest Moon.
“I won’t be my last kayak of the year, or many of ours, but I hope we do have a good turnout, because not many people know we have one left,” Scott explained. “I hope we have a good turnout, because the weather is starting to turn and impact the trees and it is just going to be beautiful.”
If you do not own a kayak, 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 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. They had many events scheduled this summer, including weekly Tour de Portsmouth rides, a monstrous Wild Ride event in Shawnee State Park, Safety Town, Party in the Park, TOSRV, and more. 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.
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.