Summer of bonding
LOUISA, Ky. — A father-son duo made quite the journey to Louisa, Ky. Sunday, ending an 8-day trip down the Tug Fork River by kayak.
Allen Daugherty, and son Jake, finished the trip which began all the way in Welch, West Virginia and landed the pair on the boat ramp just across the river from Fort Gay.
The 134.5-mile trek was inspired by an idea Jake conjured in which he thought it would interesting to paddle the entire river with his dad.
After Jake proposed the idea, Allen decided it would a good chance to bond before his son joins the Army.
Allen is a Special Forces Veteran and Green Beret, and Jake hopes to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
“He wants to join the Army and he wants to try to be a Green Beret. So, it’s a pretty tall order. But this is a good challenge to get him started,” Allen said.
The two met the end of their journey with community members waving American flags, hugs from family and friends and a 21 Gun Salute performed by both Louisa and Fort Gay VFW posts. Jake was also presented with a certificate of recognition.
The two spent the week singing, telling stories and forming a stronger bond than before - so much so they named their kayak “The Salty Pickle,” which they carved into a rock at mile 130.
The two were even joined by Riley Wilson along their journey.
Fort Gay Mayor Joetta Hatfield and Louisa Mayor Harold Slone said the ceremony for the duo’s finish was planned last minute, but came together seamlessly.
“This is awesome, I want to take just a second and thank Allen and Jake - because what Mayor Hatfield and I along with the Lawrence County Tourism are trying to do is bring awareness to kayaking, the river and our unique situation with the locks, the dam and the two rivers coming together here,” Slone said. “What happened here today helps a long way down the way to make that happen.”
Hatfield said after collaborating with the duo and other community members on both sides of the river, she was pleased to see the end result and honor the Daughertys.
“This is very exciting, if you met them along the way - through bad weather and other circumstances - you found out they were going to do this and they were doing it for a purpose,” Hatfield said. ” Then, to see two communities come together, which Fort Gay and Louisa did...you can only benefit when you work together.”
For more information about the Tug Fork River and continuing efforts to preserve history, search Friends of The Tug Fork River on Facebook.