We hit the riffled water at the end of the Devil's Backbone Wednesday morning with a party of nine paddlers, and one more trailing a mile or so behind.

Retired educator Roger Gillum set this trip into motion with a phone call reminding me we had, last fall, discussed the prospect of piloting kayaks from Olive Hill to Carter Caves State Resort Park. Gillum said he had a couple of extra boats if I wanted to invite anyone, and I immediately signed journalist Jeremy D. Wells up for the adventure.

It was his first time paddling on moving water, but he managed to guide the red boat quite well. Despite his quick learning, however, two spots along Tygart Creek got the better of him, dunking the poor guy and sinking his small craft.

The second spill had an even worse impact as the heavy plastic bag he was using to shield his phone was torn when he smacked into a tree. Wells only discovered the water-filled bag and phone when we made another stop near the end of the day, absolutely ruining any chance he had of enjoying the rest of our journey.

Wells tucked the phone into a bag of rice along with a drying-agent product provided by a friendly employee at James Do It Best Hardware, and it seemed that all would be just fine. By the end of the day Monday, however, he found there was no way to retrieve two recorded interviews we had planned to use for front-page stories in this issue.

We are actively working on a “Plan B” for that.

Otherwise, the 2018 Tygart Creek trip was just outstanding. The creek itself reflected multiple personalities, as always, and it seemed everyone who came along for the journey had their own personal reasons for being there. The group included a friend and three of his family members who we later learned had an extremely compelling reason to make the trip, but I'm not sure they want to share that with the world just yet.

I snapped roughly 500 photos along the way, and will choose a selection from those for our next Grayson/Olive Hill Quarterly magazine.

Help for Heroes Passage

I was back at Carter Caves State Resort Park Saturday morning for a round-table discussion and update about the Heroes Passage project on the Carter/Elliott County border.

Heroes Passage is a project initiated by property owner Roger Hanshaw, who donated a remote tract which had once been his family's farm to serve as a place where today's military veterans, particularly those dealing with post traumatic stress disorders, a place to stay and heal.

The processes involved with the project have been daunting, Hanshaw noted as he asked participants to think of ways to get people onto the land for preliminary tasks, as well as establishing “Future Home of” signs nearby. He seemed to especially like the idea of having people who like to drive four-wheelers visit the site, if you know of anyone who likes to blaze new trails.

To learn more about plans for the land, and ways to get involved, look up Roger Hanshaw and Heroes Passage on Facebook.

Trade Days coming

Mark your calendar for May 31, as well as June 1 and 2 and make plans to check out the 2018 Olive Hill Trade Days event, to be held on Railroad Street in historic downtown Olive Hill.

This year's festivities will be notably improved with covered tent spaces, as well as restrooms and showers. I suspect vendors who spend all three days will especially appreciate the new shower facility nearing completion near Tygart Creek.

Musical entertainment will be provided each day, and vendors are expected to have “ a little bit of everything,” according to organizers, including antiques, livestock, guns, knives, arts and crafts for the “Buy-Sale-Trade” action.

There will be a Cruise-In, hosted by Carter County Cruisers, from 3 to 8 p.m. June 2. And, “Batman and Car” will also be on the scene in Olive Hill from noon until 3, June 2.

The Olive Hill Trail Town Task Force will also bring extra excitement to the 3rd annual Trade Days, with a kayaking trip starting at 9 a.m., and a Fun Show at noon on June 2. Horse drawn wagon rides will also be available at 11 a.m. June 1 and 2.

For more information about the 2018 Olive Hill Trade Days, call (606) 316-7169 or 286-1805.

Tim Preston can be reached at tpreston@journal-times.com or by telephone at (606) 474-5101.

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