You have heard a bit of my story, but my first kayak adventure is where I really fell in love with kayaking.
Okay, so let me paint the picture for you.
It was an absolutely beautiful day here in the Ozarks. The sky was mostly blue with a few clouds lingering in the distance. The sun was warming things up and the lake was pretty calm. Now, I was staying in an RV park right on Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri. Lake Taneycomo, also known as the White River is not overly wide, but it is very cold and is used by a lot of fishermen in fast boats.
Anyway, I pulled my beautiful, red Ascend D10T kayak out from under the camper for the first time since bringing her home. I got her loaded with my paddle. At this point I didn’t have my dry bag or my wheels yet, but my husband was home to help me get her to the water. I had my life jacket in the boat all ready to go. I should also say, that in my excitement, I totally forgot my water bottle and snacks.
Getting Past My Fear
Now, my nerves kicked in. You see, being a 50-ish yr. old female with an adventurous heart does not mean we do not get a little anxious at times about doing something new.
Even though I spent most of my childhood and early adult years fishing, hiking, out on pontoon boats and floating down small rivers in inner tubes with the kids, I had never been on a kayak, much less on a body of water with speeding boats by myself in a tiny boat. This was new territory for me. Too say that I was a bit nervous is an understatement. But, I was determined to make it happen.
I wasn’t sure how I would handle the boats throwing waves at me or how well I would handle being out there alone. It kind of made my heart skip a beat. Not kidding!
Down to the Water
So, now that the boat was loaded and I got my nerves in check, down to the water we went. I grabbed the front of the kayak and my husband grabbed the back. 65 lbs doesn’t sound like a lot, until you add 10 ft of length and 50 yds too it. Holy cow, that boat was a task to get to the lake. Anyway, we set her on the rocky beach area on the bank of the lake and I put my life jacket on. We are set!
Well, not so much. Now I had to figure out how to get into the boat without tipping that puppy over. Thankfully, my kayak is a sit-on top style of kayak. I am not so sure getting on or into the boat that first trip would have gone so smoothly if I had had to climb into it. I stepped into the water, HOLY CRAP, that water was cold! Lake Taneycomo is roughly 45 -50 degrees year-round, the trout like it that way. So, holding onto the kayak, freezing my toes off, I backed-up to the side and lowered myself onto the seat. Yeah, who are we kidding, it wasn’t quite that smooth, LOL. I flopped into the seat, thankfully, without flipping the kayak and it’s contents into the cold water.
I am now sitting in the boat, feet in the water, trying to figure out how I am going to gracefully swing my legs over the side, past the paddle, and get myself adjusted into the seat without providing entertainment to the men fishing off the dock about 20 ft away. Oh, and they were watching! One leg, then the other followed over the edge. Let’s just say that at that moment, I realized that maybe yoga should be in my future. I still haven’t started that.
I got settled, without flipping, and sat there with the boat stuck on the rocks. Now my husband had already walked back up to the camper, so I ran through my head all the scenes of me trying to get the boat unstuck, LOL. Again, without providing the guys on the dock entertainment.
Finally, after many pushes with the paddle, rocking my body weight and a few waves from a passing boat, I was full on floating! Yay, I was on my way.
Learning To Paddle
Okay, paddling is a whole other story. While paddling in and of itself is not complicated, paddling effectively and efficiently without soaking yourself can be a challenge. My paddle came with these little round objects made of foam to divert the majority of the water that runs down the paddle shaft. For the most part they do a pretty good job. I am not sure I can explain how to paddle really to get you to be effective. I am still working on it myself, but I managed to make it work well enough to get me moving. You have to find a paddle that is going to work with you as far as weight, length and style for sure. When I figure it out, I will let you know.
Getting The Hang Of It!
While my first adventure out on the lake was primarily to prove to myself that I could do it, it became so much more. I finally got the hang of paddling and headed across the lake into a small waterway called Turkey Creek. I knew it would be calmer and easier to get acquainted with my abilities and my kayak. As I entered the mouth of Turkey Creek, low and behold the first thing I encountered was a snake. Guess I didn’t think about that much when I got started. Not afraid of snakes generally, but I certainly do not want any accompanying me in the kayak.
As I paddled further, I realized how silent it was. I could here the birds, the turtles didn’t dive off the logs for cover and I could even see the fish in the clear water. It was AMAZING! As a photographer and nature lover I could so see the potential for some great shots in the future. I was really getting the hang of slowly moving through the water and I was even pretty comfortable adjusting my seat. My kayak is really stable in the water, so I soon lost my fear of flipping. I also lost total track of time!
When I did finally look at my phone, I noticed I had been out on the lake for about 2 hours. Time sure flies when you are having fun. Not to mention, I was getting a little hungry and thirsty.
So, I headed back to the campground beach, where I started my small adventure. I made relatively good time getting back and when I neared the beach, it dawned on me that I had to get out of the kayak. Yes, I had to figure out how I was going to get out of the boat without flipping and getting everything wet!
So I paddled to the beach and flipped the boat around so I could back into the beach. My theory was, if I beached the heavier end of the kayak, then I would also be in shallower water to step out in. Yeah, totally didn’t think about the fact that I had been sitting on my butt, legs stretched out in front of me for over 2 hours. I don’t know about you all, but when I sit on the couch or in a chair too long, sometimes it is hard to stand up and start walking. I am usually a little stiff and have to give myself a moment.
Well, sitting in a kayak for a couple hours takes that to a whole new level if you are not conditioned to it. Needless to say, the exit out of the boat was not as graceful as the loading of the boat, LOL. I swung my legs over the side. Got, what I thought was, my balance and stood up. The kayak floated sideways, I hit a rock with my foot and SPLASH! Yep, down I went. Didn’t flip the boat, just got a little wetter than planned. Again, 45-50 degrees, even on a hot day is flipping cold!
At The End of the Adventure
After my short adventure on the lake, and my not so graceful exit from the kayak, I called the husband to come down and help me haul the kayak home. I swear, that 65 lb.,10 ft kayak now weighed 150 lbs and was 14 ft long. Who knew that paddling, what I thought was a leisurely pace, would turn your arms into pudding. But boy oh boy, did I fall in love with kayaking, and I couldn’t wait for my next day off to do it again!
I hope you all enjoyed my little story of my first kayak adventure. I look forward to sharing more of my adventures with you guys. So, find me on Facebook at https://www.Facebook.com/coolkayaker and watch for updates and other fun stuff.
Thanks for joining me here and sharing my kayaking journey. Tell me about your kayak adventures, either below in the comments or on Facebook. Would love to hear all about them.
Until Next Time!