Kayaking And Canoeing

Kayaking Canoeing

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"Kayaking Canoeing"
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For my 56th birthday my wife of 30 years gave me a kayak. I still limp from my last bout with sciatica and I've got a bad heart. A wonderful gift...what was she thinking? After the initial shock wore off I actually relished the thought of having a kayak. I'd be able to get a little exercise without too much strain on my legs or lower back. It would also be a good source of upper-body aerobic exercise and I could load and unload it from the truck by myself.

After making sure that my premiums were up to date, my wife really wanted to watch me use my new "yak." My wife says,"Come on throw it in the Erie Canal, I want to see you." Being practical and a bit apprehensive, I thought that there was no way I was going to take my maiden voyage in water over my head. "Later dear" I informed her. The next morning I loaded the yak on my truck and headed to Oak Orchard Creek where I knew the water level is little better than knee deep.

I laid my gear out on the bank after I had arrived and double-checked everything. I brought a blueberry muffin for munching along the way. The clay bank had a little chute that looked perfect to launch the kayak down. After making a mental note to get a larger sized PFD, I did just that. With the bow of the yak over the edge of the bank and my butt firmly planted in it, I scooted to the brink. As the bow nosed down and met the water, a few inches later the bow met the bottom of the creek. The stern of the yak was still high and dry on the bank and I was in mid-air. In the fraction of a second it took me to realize what was up, I was in about 4 inches of water and 8 inches of mud. Glad my wife wasn't there.

I dauntlessly continued on my adventure, after dumping water out of all orifices including my water-proof bag. I placed the yak in the water and gingerly stepped into it. A quick check revealed that I had left my fishing pole on the bank of the creek and out of reach. Here I learned that yaker paddles are quite long and I could use it as an extension of my arm if not my brain. While balancing the fishing pole on the paddle blade the kayak began to drift.

There was a moment of realization, where my butt made an involuntary quick shake from left to right, when I noticed the shore several feet away. Things did settle down and I put everything in its place, now I was ready to really try this baby out. Turning port to starboard, I put the yak through its paces, I tried a little back-paddling too. I paddled up-stream as far as I could go then drifted back down the creek and enjoyed the day. I found a nice secluded spot where I tied off on a branch in the middle of the creek and drifted in place.

When everything calmed down again I thought I would partake of my blueberry muffin and do a little fishing, I discovered that my muffin was half saturated with creek water. At the same time, I was dangling a little silver spinner over the side with my fishing pole while I crumbled soggy muffin to feed a couple of hundred of minnows who stopped by for lunch. I still ate the dry part of the muffin.

There is really nothing more relaxing than gently drifting on water and listening to it gurgle to the other sounds of nature. Suddenly, there was a rippling dark presence that was taking a serpentine route towards the minnows. I watched in fascination as a gaping maw opened up and nearly got my spinner along with several panicking minnows. I had the presence of mind to quickly yank that lure out of its mouth before it had a chance to chomp down and take me for a ride. That fish broke water and splashed about a bucketful right in my face. I knew that if that fish had taken my lure I would have went in for a second time. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

More about this author: Rick Heenan

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