8/20/2006

Crazy for my Kayak


Hello trail buddies, Going back in my memories from years ago, I thought I was in heaven when I got my first canoe. An oldtown model - had to be green - 17 foot canoe. It served me well on many adventures when I was an upper midwesterner. From the many lakes around home to distant places such as Isle Royal National Park in Lake Superior to the remote lakes up in Canada. I'd always wanted to try a kayak; looked at them many times and never made the jump. Oh, I looked at the various styles and dreamed and drooled of the new adventures I could get out of them. Eventually I made the plunge, after researching, I found just the right kayak for my purposes. An oldtown Loon 138 - had to be green - kayak. See it's rather hard trying to take the good quality pictures I wanted from the canoe as I found out. Talk about a man and his toy the first time I got into it. Wow, was this speedy in the water, as well as great aerobic exercise for the upper body. I could really go off and relax at my own pace around the lakes and explore every little inlet. I found I was spending more and more time in the kayak, commanding my direction on my own and not that of the other paddler.

I then began to seek out waterfowl and found with a great deal of patience, how close one could get by floating, drifting in, letting the wind do the work for me and sitting silently still to catch the waterfowl in their surroundngs. After looking at other photographers books on loons and other types of waterfowl I could now only envision what I could accomplish. Now the trick is how do you really get inside and hold such a long lens and try to paddle? I found the answer. Duct tape! The trick is, duct tape your tripod to the kayak before you mount the lens of what ever size you have. And off you go in the early morning light. Though I would always in my research and scouting from shore, look and locate what ever waterfowl I was in persuit of, wind was a factor as well as the weather. I still find I spend about 3 -4 hours out floating in my kayak working my way into whatever waterfowl I find. Now the trick is once you get back to shore, of trying to get out of your kayak without tipping or getting your camera and lens wet. Many crazy memories surface, remembering sitting sideways to a rocky shore just barely holding on by the tip of my paddle from tipping over. Do your self a favor get a helper as it takes about 10 -15 minutes to get me ready to launch. And though you can take munchies and a drink with you, watch you drink intake! I find the first thing I do after getting back on shore, is to find me an outhouse. Years later I am still very in much love with the whole kayak thing. I've got a great seat with good back support. I find I can paddle in just inches of water. Anyone who ever has had a canoe and then tried a kayak, I bet just doesn't go ...back.

It's truly amazing with a great feeling of joy to paddle in close to the likes of loons, grebes, mallards, immature Barrow's golden eye and too many more to mention. Especially come spring time when waterfowl are nesting. Observing from a safe distance as to not disturb them from there nesting site. Though I've not tried sea kayaking yet, I'm sure that's not too far off as the next adventure. More exploring by water, as well as by land, is still to come. So let me leave you all with just some of many pictures I've taken over the years by sitting in my...got to be green kayak. I've even got a loon on my kayak. How crazy is that? Enjoy, hope you you can do the same!

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