Go with the Flow: A Guide to Paddleboarding on the Salty River | Nicole Underwood

By Nicole Underwood/NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ) – Arizona has many popular things to do in early summer. Known more for its desert than its bodies of water, the sunny state has more to offer than hiking, camping and golf. This year, try exploring a cool adventure in the heat – like an afternoon floating on a paddleboard along the Lower Salt River.

Located just north of Pinal County, the Salt River is teeming with recreational activities that keep tourists and residents alike coming back. One of the most popular activities, tubing the Salt River, has been a tradition in this area for years. But, now, other forms of enjoying the water are floating on the surface, such as kayaking and paddle boarding.

Paddleboarding has increased nationally in recent years, especially during the quarantine months of 2020. Here in Arizona, paddleboarding is an almost year-round activity, thanks to our mild summer weather. fall and spring and decent water flow during these seasonal months. . In winter, however, Salt River levels become too low to take advantage of the full flow of water. However, you can still relax by the shallow river to take in the beauty of the water, outdoor scenery, and wildlife.

Currently, paddle boarding continues to be the fastest growing sport in the United States, as reported by the Outdoor Industry Association. If this is your first time doing the sport, it can be helpful to know where to start. Solid, inflatable stand-up paddle boards (known to regular skateboarders as SUPs) are desirable recreational toys. They are both easy to transport and versatile to use anywhere you have access to a large body of water. This convenience alone, along with its affordability, durability, and ease of use compared to other outdoor recreation options, makes paddle boarding an understandably popular activity.

Do you want to buy your first paddle board? There are many different boards to choose from, with most quality boards ranging from $600 to $1200+. All-around boards – the most common type – are a good place to start. They are wider for stability and balance, made from PVC and great for portability. You can also invest in paddle boards for fishing, complete with accessories like a chair and a place for your tackle box, touring boards for larger bodies of water, or racing boards designed for long distances at sea. optimal speed.

Don’t have a board? You can rent paddle boards nearby at the No Snow Paddle Board Shop, located just off Highway 60 and Power Road on the way to the Salt River, with affordable prices, kayaking options, and a variety of boards and accessories to buy if you get hooked and want to own a personal board. They also organize events perfect for beginners to learn all there is to know about paddleboarding and the Salty River.

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Float with a four-legged friendNicole Underwood, NewsBreak

Then the Salt River is the perfect place to paddle, even with your four-legged friend (if he’s a water fan). Although you can enjoy paddle boarding along one of the many Arizona lakes available, the lower Salt River is a popular destination for many reasons.

The Salt River (O’odham/Pima: Onk Akimel, Yavapai: Hakanyacha or Hakathi) is approximately 200 miles long and is connected to the Verde River, controlled by the Stewart Mountain Dam. The name “Salt River” derives from the large salt deposits that entered the water after the White and Black Rivers merged, increasing the length of the river to approximately 300 miles. The season for using the river is between May and September, when the river is flowing at full capacity and the dam releases water. But often people head for the river as early as March and as late as mid-October, depending on weather and water levels.

Paddlers can enjoy a leisurely 2-3.5 hour trip on the river, with spots along the trip like Coon Bluff, Granite Reef, Phon D Sutton, Water Users and Pebble Beach. A plethora of wildlife exists in this vast area, where you have a front view. See birds like bald eagles, hawks, falcons, egrets, herons, owls, robins and countless other species, as well as sea turtles, trout and even bats. mouse. Other animal species such as the bighorn sheep, javelin, coyote, raccoon and many others have appeared.

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Wild horses of the Salt RiverNicole Underwood, NewsBreak

Horses are by far the most talked about animal, due to their obvious majestic nature and the thrill of seeing a herd, many of which have foals in tow. Horses often like to graze along the shore, but be sure to give these beautiful beasts space – it’s Arizona law not to disturb wild horses and offer a minimum of 50 feet when you meet them.

According to the Visit Mesa website, there are up to 500 of these incredible animals around the lower Salt River who come to enjoy the underwater foliage. Historically, horses have lived on this reservation since the early 1900s and are governed by the efforts of a local nonprofit, Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. Many visitors have the opportunity to enjoy it early in the morning or at dusk, but it is not uncommon for them to linger until the early afternoon.

Get ready for some floating fun and make paddle boarding part of your summer plan this year.

Clyde P. Johnson