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Am I A Water Person Now?

Let's not get carried away. I've never been much of an in-the-water person and I'm still not, but on-the-water is different. I've been getting out on a kayak once or twice year. On my nomad travels, I've gone out kayaking in Washington State, Banff, California (that was actually paddleboarding), Colorado, Louisiana, and in several international destinations. And I really enjoy it! Probably the main reason I haven't gotten out more has been the friction of not owning my own watercraft. When I have to work around rental place schedules and deal with the paperwork and hassle, I'm far less likely to do it.

So now, I own a watercraft and it's great! This was a completely random purchase. My cousin and I rented inflatable kayaks in Buena Vista last summer over Labor Day weekend. The river barely had water in it in some parts but also had enough water that made a big rapid that caused us both to fall out of our kayaks. And it was so fun! 

Five months later, we met up in Santa Fe and she mentioned that she had bought a kayak. Owning  a kayak was never an option for me because it seemed such a hassle with getting it on the car roof, worrying about it getting stolen while I'm on the road, and where to store it otherwise. But realizing how tough inflatable kayaks are and being able to keep it in my car completely changed everything. The wheels started turning. 

She opted for a lightweight single kayak that she could hike up to alpine lakes, while I opted for a bulkier tandem kayak that I could use with people who come visit me on the road and that I can use with the next dog I eventually adopt. (The dog will have to wear booties to not puncture the kayak.) In either case, neither of us are going to be whitewater rafting on our own. These are are just flat-water pleasure kayaks for another way to get out and enjoy nature.

I took it out a total of five times this year. Not many, I realize but I also only picked it up when I got the REI in Boise, so Wyoming and South Dakota were already behind me. And I'm just getting used it. And if I hadn't bought it, most likely whitewater rafting in Colorado would have been my only on-the-water experience this year!


For the maiden voyage, I opted for the tiny, tiny lake at Bruneau Sand Dunes. It was nice because there was hardly anyone there to watch me get frustrated wrestling with the valves, trying to figure it out for the first time. I had to pack it back up and one point and drive toward the park entrance for a cell signal to watch YouTube videos to figure it out. But then I was on my way. 

I also chose this tiny, tiny lake because I didn't trust it or my ability to inflate and secure it correctly. If it started sinking, I could easily swim back to my car. But how nice that there were no one else out there.


On my second voyage out, I was still pretty nervous about the ability of kayak to really retain air and my ability to inflate it correctly. But I went quite a bit further out on Beaver Mines Lake in Castle Provincial Park. I had to get used to the feeling and sound of the water lapping at the soft bottom of the kayak and realizing that's just a simply difference with inflatable kayaks. It didn't mean I was about to sink.


On the third trip, I got to use it tandem on Panguitch Lake. It is a little bulky as a single, but I don't regret getting a larger kayak because I want to enjoy it with people. By this point, I was pretty comfortable with getting it set up. I only have a hand pump to inflate it, but it doesn't take long at all and isn't really difficult. Of course, it is nice to have someone to share the work with.


The first voyage in Colorado was on the lake at Harvey Gap State Park. There were lots of people out on this lake but not so many that you had to worry about bumping into others. And most people were on kayaks or paddleboards; there were almost no motorized boats. This decision to go out was impromptu; I was supposed to be hiking a 14er but the weather in the mountains did not cooperate. This was a nice alternative.


I had a dozen lakes to choose from in Mono County, California, and if the weather had been nicer, I probably would have gone out more. But mid-September at 8,400 feet is pretty cold after work, so I only went out one Saturday. I chose Silver Lake, right between Grant Lake and June Lake. This whole area has a bunch of campgrounds, restaurants, hikes, and water activities. I think I want to stay here next year for a week instead of two weeks again in Mammoth Lakes..