Life on the Green River

To live in Hart County, means you’ve probably floated the Green River.

Some paddle it once and talk about it for the rest of their days.  A few of our locals have enjoyed a handful of days on the river in their lifetime.  But MOST Hart Countians find themselves returning to the Green again and again, as if they were walking into an extension of their own backyard.

Paddling on the Green River, by Sandy Ladd Russell.

The Green doesn’t just run geographically through our county, but it is a cultural thread that runs through our generations.

Your dad purposefully tossed you out of your canoe so you could learn how to crawl back in.  Your mom oohed and ahhed over every fossil and feather you found on the river banks.  Your grandparents asked you where you’re putting in and where you’re taking out so that someone knew your plans.  They also know the farmers of all the land in between in case someone needed to come get you.

Grandparents paddling the Green River.

Your siblings argued with you over who was supposed to be directing, who was supposed to be piloting and “why didn’t you see that branch sticking up out of the water sooner?”  Your neighbors took turns running trot lines with you through the night. And your dog would happily make every trip to the Green with you if you’d let him.

Why have these 29 miles of water become so central to our lifestyles here?  It’s partly because the Green is gorgeous, free flowing and teeming with an abundant variety of animals in it, on it and around it.  It could also be because the mighty Green is to be respected and makes sure you walk away not thinking more of yourself than you ought.

Three paddlers stretched out along the Green River. Photo by Wayne Garmon.

And as Pocahontas sang, you can’t step in the same river twice.  No matter how many times you go to the Green, you will have found change. It is simultaneously familiar and unknown.

And maybe it is that combination that keeps us returning, it is a comfortable adventure.

Dayton Carby fishing on the Green River.

We can stand on a sand bar where our grandfather once fished AND see things he never saw. We can watch ducks leave their nests in the spring and watch icicles form along the banks in the winter. We can float comfortably through the riffles one day and have to walk our kayaks over them the next weekend.

You know the Green, but you never know what you will find.

So, one last thing you should know about the Green and us locals, we welcome you.  We realize that it is too great a treasure to keep to ourselves.  We’ll wave at you and maybe ask you where you’re from as you float on by.  We do ask that you learn about water safety before you set off in your canoe or kayak, wear your life jackets, pack some extra water and snacks and please leave no trace once your gone.

Here’s the link to our two local liveries:

For more information about the important waterways in our region, check out Cave County’s paddling page.

Featured image photo credit: Cindy Atwell