From there, the Barrington River Run was born in 2010.
“He loves the Barrington River,” said Suzy Atwood, co-organizer of the event. “It’s his home.”
Even his career was based on the river - it played a major role in his success as a world champion log roller and lumberjack - and prompted him to open up his backyard playground.
And, it led to love.
Atwood knew she loved to paddle when she first went in 2012 to take part.
In fact, she had spent much of her summers off from university teaching kids to paddle and bringing them on overnight trips on the Clyde.
The river, for her, was healing while she was going through a breakup.
What she didn’t expect to do was to find love with Hudson.
“My paddle that day sparked something,” said Atwood. “It was definitely the pinnacle moment of our relationship.”
She said Hudson often jokes he was waiting to find out if she could canoe to ask her out on a date.
Bigger than ever
That first year, only a few people came out. Fast-forward to 2017, and the couple is still sharing their passion for the river with the annual event, which is now bigger than ever. This year, 60 people showed up on May 13, paddling in canoes, kayaks and even a stand-up paddleboard.
"That was a first," said Atwood.
The run starts at Clements Pond and ends at Hudson’s Wild Axe Park with a stop for lunch along the way. In total it took around four hours to complete the run.
“It’s a way to gather people who feel the same as we do,” said Atwood.
The weather was perfect, the water level was as high as people’s spirits, said Atwood.
One spot that people paddled through stood out for Atwood.
“It was like the Bayou, so beautiful and vibrant,” she said.
While the sun was shining, it wasn’t completely a peaceful trip.
“There are some challenging places like Pond Branch that is like a waterslide,” she said. “You bounce off the sides of it and there isn’t even room for a paddle.”
She loves to watch the people go through the run and hear their stories afterwards – tales of bumps and bruises, canoes tipping and wet and chilled paddlers.
“It wasn’t leisurely,” said Atwood.
“But that’s what makes the stories. It’s the spills and thrills of the whole thing that make the memories.”