Oh, hello. Come in and have a cookie.
Floating on the lake
day 5 of kayaking
listening to nothing
but the sound of sun shining.
The wind picked up
and I heard the sound
of the birch leaves
applauding my efforts.
Oh hello! Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. Have some noodle salad.
Several years ago, when my brother Herb was still with Satan, we had all talked about learning to kayak and/or buying them. We went to a local sporting goods store which offered “outdoor sports training” and tried out some kayaks. Herb and I thought it was great fun. Satan decided she didn’t like to get wet. Or leave the house without showering and putting on a full face of make up. And doing her hair. She also didn’t like to sweat. So instead, we continued on with the same old thing – they would leave their house on weekends at around 2, after Satan had vacuumed (again), done at least 2 loads of laundry, had 1/2 pot of coffee, cleaned the stove, and gotten ready. Then they would swing by to pick me up, do Satan’s errands which she couldn’t seem to do during the week, and then go somewhere so Satan could drink we could eat.
I’m fully aware that I could have opted to do something else, but I like hanging out with Herb. And I like to go out to lunch on occasion too. But I was getting tired of always having to plan everything around alcohol. Drinking is also all well and good, but jeepers, can we do something else??
The last winter that Satan was around, I said that I thought it would be cool if we got snow shoes and got out and did something in the fresh air. Herb seemed into it, but Satan doesn’t like to be cold. *sigh*
Flash forward to this summer. Satan is gone. Herb is now with a lovely person. Let’s call her….Spice. (Get it? Herb and spice? No? hmmm…) Anyhoo, Spice has to work every other weekend. So Herb has some free time. He also got a bonus over the summer and invested in….. drum roll…. KAYAKS!! WOOT!!!
The first time we went this summer, we went to a little pond. We were both a little wobbly and tippy, but quickly got the hang of it, to some degree. Neither of us could paddle straight – or float straight for that matter! Being the lazy person that I am, my shoulders and arms were toast, very quickly. Then we went the next day, to a bigger pond. Still ridiculously sore, and uncoordinated, but we both realized that THIS was the way to spend sunny summer days. NOT sitting inside cleaning or running errands.
We’ve been a handful of times since that first weekend. Herb spends every other weekend with Spice. (still nothing? huh…). Each time, we get better and more confident and have tried larger ponds and lakes.
This past weekend? We decided to try THE BIG ONE! The lake everyone boats on. The lake our water supply comes from. The lake with more boats, jet skis, canoes and kayaks that we’d ever seen. On the busiest weekend of the summer. Yeah. Good thinking. *eye roll*
So we head out early. It’s a gorgeous sunny day. We have lunch and water and beer and lots and lots of sunscreen. We get there, put the kayaks in the water and set off. So far so good. “Hey cool, we should paddle around those islands!” “yeah, let’s do it on the way back” “k”.
It’s a bit rougher out there than we’ve seen, but nothing we can’t handle. We paddle up one side of the lake, looking at the ducks and trees and camps. We went for about an hour and a half. Then we stopped at a sand bar, where there were a lot of people sunning themselves or bringing in their boats to stop for lunch. We swam for a while, had lunch and rested.
Then we get back in to go further. Onward we go up further into the lake. There are a LOT of boats now and the wake is getting higher. But we pressed on. We traveled that way for about another hour-ish, then turned back. By this point, the waves were practically white-caps due to the number of boats going by. We were both exhausted, but kept going. We even went by a whole flock of tufted ducks. They looked almost like loons, but they were brown with tufts of feathers off the back of the head. This is the closest picture I can find. But the real ones were way prettier.
Almost back, we decide Hey! Let’s go across to the island! Yeah. From where we were, to get to the island, we had to go across “open” water, across the boat lane, across the jet ski lane. No protection of the shallower water. No protection of the shore. And off we went. For about 30 minutes we paddled. Hard. I lost feeling in my hands from gripping the oar. We both decided our shoulders were burning. Finally!! We made it. Um. Yeah. That was fun. Kinda. NOT.
The waves from the boats were pushing my boat into the shore and I almost got washed up onto the rocks. But halfway around the island, we discovered such calm water that we floated for a while then. We made our way back towards the car. We had to wait at the bridge for 5 or 6 boats to go under first, then we went under and back to the car. We were out for about 4 and a half hours. Whew!
Long day. But the weather was perfect. The exercise was great. The water was warm. We had a lot of fun. I did feel badly that after all of that, Herb had to drive down to Spice’s house for the evening. Spice lives about an hour +/- away. UGH. I was toast. I don’t know how he made it.
But the best part? After that adventure, we decided that we would be able to make it out to one of the coastal islands next summer. Ocean! There is a lovely restaurant out there that we could have lunch at. FUN!
Oh, and if you are wondering why Herb doesn’t go kayaking with Spice? It’s because she is not a strong swimmer and is a little bit afraid of it. I still think she would be fine and have a blast, but Herb doesn’t want to push her. She would have probably died out on THE BIG ONE with us, but the smaller ones would have been great for her.
So there you go. My new favorite thing to do. Kayak. If you have been kayaking before, you know. If you haven’t, and you have the opportunity, GO! You don’t really need to be a strong swimmer if you stay on the lakes and wear a life vest. (I consider myself a strong swimmer and still wear one, because you just never know what could happen.) Try it. You may find yourself with a new favorite thing to do, too.