Rebecca | June 8th, 2011 | feature, life list, outdoor adventures | No Comments »
Over the next month or so I plan to write about the three or four goals I checked off my life list since I started it last summer. First up, kayaking!
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In spite of my chronic motion sickness, I love being on the water, especially the lakes and rivers of Wisconsin. I don’t have much experience with larger bodies of water; in fact, the first time I saw the ocean I was in Portugal. Small lakes and rivers dot the landscape of Wisconsin, and I have lived near Lake Michigan my whole life—knowing, sensing it is there, even when I can’t see it, helps me feel oriented.
During the summers of my childhood, my family traveled to “up north” Wisconsin where we stayed in a cabin and spent many afternoons swimming in lakes and exploring the connected waterways in canoes and row boats. So, adding “try kayaking” to my life list wasn’t so much about overcoming a fear as finding access to a kayak. Downtown living doesn’t provide many opportunities for kayaking; occasionally I saw kayakers on the Milwaukee River, but it didn’t appeal to me—I’ve seen too many episodes of Law & Order. (I have heard, though, that kayaks can be rented from Laacke & Joys.)
Last August, friends invited us to their cabin in Shawano, Wisconsin. Holy big lake that is. Fortunately, they have a place on a smaller lake that connects to Shawano Lake, so we had a place to boat and swim where the waves were more manageable and there were fewer boats. We had a fun weekend of swimming, cruising, waterskiing, kneeboarding, campfires, storytelling, etc., and before we left, Robbie and I asked to test out the recreational kayaks we spotted in their garage. Luckily, the little lake was calm and we had no trouble getting started. It took a few minutes to get used to paddling with my legs stretched out in front of me (rather than tucked under, like in a canoe). The life vest was kind of bulky and I had to put my arms out at an odd angle, so my triceps got a great workout. Balancing was no problem, and we were moving faster than I expected.
We took the kayaks along the shore and into a marsh, where we paddled through the cattails and lily pads until we couldn’t go any farther.
My first kayaking experience was about as low-key as it can get, and I would definitely do it again—maybe even in rougher water. In the meantime, I hope that our friends invite us to their cabin again. There’s nothing like having friends with a boat.
(Thanks to my friend B for taking most of the pictures, and especially to her and her husband for inviting us!)