19 May 2006

May Showers

Last night was cold, gray, windy, and rainy.....Perfect kayaking weather. After work, I rushed home and played with the dog for a little bit, and read through the mail quick, then changed into my paddling clothes. My wife was at work still, so I postponed dinner, and carried my kayak out of the garage and placed it on the ground. The spray skirt and PFD, both hung from their drying nails, were retrieved and stuffed into the cockpit along with my ONNO paddle. I strapped my home-made take-apart kayak dolly to the kayak and locked up the house. A short 300 yard portage to the put-in, take-apart and stow the dolly, and simply slip away from land with the help of the wind. I stretched my legs, torso, and arms while drifting with the wind, and contemplating my route. I chose to try and stay out of the wind as much as possible at first, knowing that I would have a slogfest on the way home. Better to just unwind from work first, then punish myself with physical labor after my mind has drifted off.

I had the entire lake to myself for the duration of the paddle. It was quiet, except for the wind, and almost lonely feeling....Calming. Only a few birds were out today, mostly waterfowl, but the weather was classic duck weather. I suspect that the other birds were near by, but hunkered down waiting for the wind to subside.

I continued down wind through the channel to the bigger Wolf lake and could see a slight chop out in the middle of the lake, so I stayed close to shore and fiddled with the skeg. I finally chose to put the skeg up and forget about it. It does help in a following sea, but allows me to get slack in my technique, and I need the practice with wind and waves quartering my stern. I focused my attention on the task at hand and made good progress with the wind down as far as the yacht club and then took a break in the lee of several pontoon boats. Sadly I counted five sail boats docked so far, ready for the summer season, but counted six power boats as well. I guess that more people would rather take advantage of the brainless solution on their day off, than think and work at the romantic version.

I was right, the ride home, back into the wind was a slogfest, but it was feeling good as well. A real workout. I realized that I have not been paddling enough, and I need to get out more often. The wind and rain were picking up, and my hands, especially my thumbs, got cold, but I really enjoyed that paddle, on the lake all by myself.

My next post will have a picture. I promise.

Only one week till the WMCKA symposium, always a good time, looking forward to meeting Derrick and Alex and Matt and Keith.

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