Monday, June 2, 2008

Follow Your Bliss: Making friends with summer, kayak style

Kayaking on the calm evening waters by my house

Okay, so if it’s got to be summer, these last few days are as blissful as any dogsled ride. I grew up boating in many of the waters in NE Ohio, so my toes are no strangers to the many lakes and rivers around these parts. And nothing is quite as blissful to me as hearing the ripple of cool water languidly lapping on the hull of a boat. So, I was in Heaven this past weekend when we spent three whole days at West Branch State Park camping, eating marshmallows by campfire and kayaking with the kids. I fished for hours and explored many a nook and cranny too small for any motor boat on the lake. I didn’t catch anything, but that didn’t matter, because the water was positively breathtaking. Sunday, I went out with the intention of fishing, but an intense wind kicked up 2-foot waves on the lake. So I bobbed around, paddling steadily and watching for wildlife.

A kayak affords one views of wildlife rarely seen on foot. I have seen more painted turtles, turkey vultures, sand hill cranes, and muskrats in the last few weeks than I have in years. Kayaking is quiet, allowing one to ease up on wildlife and get a close-up view of these creatures. And, like dogsledding, it’s eco-friendly.

Like last winter when I felt a distain for snow machines, now I feel the same for noisy motorboats and jet skiiers zooming past. But the most disgust I felt all weekend came as I pulled onto an island, tucked away down a watery alcove. As I climbed out of the kayak to scout around on foot, I was amazed to find a half-a-dozen Pepsi cans haphazardly jettisoned on the ground, along with an empty Marlboro pack. How can people pollute and squander so much?

Regardless, we had a great weekend. Now if only I could find a way to connect a team of dogs to the kayak’s hull….

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