This Appalachian safari is about wakeskating. The boards are smaller than a wakeboard, and there are no bindings. The idea is to do tricks similar to those you do on a skateboard. All you need is a long stretch of calm water, which is just what we’re looking for.
By studying topographical maps and asking locals, we think we know where to start. An hour’s ride gets us to an open field where we can leave the truck. I get the Can-Am out of the pickup and assemble the rig. The sun is just showing itself over the mountains with steam coming off the wet grass as our world slowly heats up. Jackets are coming off, and we’re under way with red and gold leaves crunching under our tires.
In off-road boating, towing is a slow process. The terrain is usually rough, which is why one of us always walks ahead as a spotter to reduce the number of surprises.
The first nonsurprise is a log across the trail, buried under debris. If Ben, who’s driving, didn’t see it in time, we’d be in trouble. But I pick it out, tell him to stop, and we all stand around looking at this huge chunk of wood that’s way too heavy to move.
So out comes another vital piece of gear, the power winch. Mounted on the front of the Can-Am, it easily drags the log off to one side. Later in the day we get stuck in a ravine, and the winch’s extra oomph, along with us pushing, saves our butts once again.