Risky Places We Love: Getting Lost on the Green River

Posted by Lisa A.

My dearest friend and her three kids came to visit us in Nashville last month. Her travel plans included a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park. I suggested that my two kids and I meet up with them for a short kayak trip on the nearby Green River.

Green River

The Green River is named for the obvious green color which is a result of the depth and the lush tree lined banks. It’s a beautiful river.

Kayaking Gear

We had five kayaks for the adults and three big kids. We towed the two little kids in an inflatable boat. Because of the car situation we had to leave the big kids alone in the woods with bug spray, a Frisbee and no cell phone service (gasp!).  They survived just fine.

We had fun. We laughed when the little kids yelled, “butt massage,” as the bottom of their boat went over shallow sections with rough rocks. We argued over whether the furry creature eating a sapling on the shore was a woodchuck, a beaver or a muskrat.

The kids paddled like rock stars. It was one of those proud parenting moments. You’re familiar with that moment, right?  The one that comes right before the fall?

It started to get dark. The kids got hungry. The trail mix ran out. Linda and I did the math. We had gone at least five of the eight miles. We didn’t have enough daylight to finish this eight mile trip. We were gonna be on the river with five children after dark with no flashlights. We did what every good parent would do in this situation … we pulled out our cell phones. I’m not sure exactly how we thought that this would help but it seemed like the only option. Epic fail. We moved on with option two. Stay calm and keep paddling and paddling and paddling….

Our take out point was a ferry boat crossing. I’m pretty sure the kids broke out into the Hallelujah Chorus when we finally saw the headlights from the ferry boat.  Always paddle toward the light, kids.

The kids slept like bricks that night. I’ve never seen five children scramble to the breakfast table so fast and eat so well.

Rock Star Pancakes by Lisa A.


We were never in any serious danger, but being on a river after dark is risky. All of our kids had paddled kayaks before and we knew they would be just fine. It doesn’t hurt to miss a meal if there is an adventure and a good story that goes along with it. I keep telling myself that in the future when my children get into a risky situation they’ll know to stay calm and just keep paddling…