Forty years ago Joe Royer and Lawrence Migliara combined their two paddling companies to create a new business they then called The Great Outdoors. With their roots and passion already deep in paddling, they recognized a need for high level performance gear accessible to the area. In the beginnings of their new business endeavor, they set out to fulfill that need. With one more name change to the Outdoors Inc. everyone knows today, the store later expanded to outfit bicyclists, climbers, backpackers, snow sports and everywhere in between. At Outdoors Inc. we all love the activities for which we outfit. Walk into any one of our locations and you will find a diverse staff who has first hand experience with the equipment they sell. This past week, I had the opportunity to go back to the roots of our company and paddle a local river here near Memphis, Tennessee. This particular day, the adventure took place on the Lost Swamp Trail of the Wolf River. The Wolf River covers a vast expanse of land, winding 90 miles through the floodplain of the Mid-South. It is divided up into sections with many trails already marked for the ease of paddling. The area is superbly maintained by the volunteers of The Wolf River Conservancy. The Lost Swamp Trail is a section that is roughly 6 miles long and stretches from the bridge at Bateman Road to Moscow, TN. The trail is unparalleled in beauty with Cyprus trees and spatterdock lilies lining the whole path. The river is classified as a Class 1 and that seems fitting to this section as well. There are no fast rapids or drops to worry about, but you do need to be prepared for very sharp turns as the trail cuts back and forth through the trees for the entirety of the trip. Depending on current water levels, the vegetation may force paddlers to continue along in a single file manner. The entire section would take the average paddler about 3-4 hours but factor in extra time accordingly. After my experience with this trail I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to spend time outdoors and get an amazing paddle in an area very close to home. For more information on buying or renting a boat, come by one of our Outdoors Inc. locations and let our knowledgeable staff outfit all of your paddling needs. Written by: Rachelle Cooper, Outdoors, Inc. Photo by: Jonathan Laughter
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