The Kayak of Happiness

Happiness. Orange happiness.

Happiness. Orange happiness.

This is my kayak. I took this shortly after I pulled it up on the shore. …and I wish I were on it right now.

My first time out was on Sunday afternoon. I admit, I was being a bit of a wimp at first. It was rather chilly and there was a stiff breeze – jeans and a long sleeve shirt kind of weather – not “let’s go out on the lake” weather. I was sitting down by the water, ostensibly reading a book, but really deciding if I had the guts to get out there… when I noticed how many kids were in the water. Kids are tough and they will go out in anything, but was I really going to let a bunch of eight year olds show me up? Finally, I put the book down and decided it was time.

Honestly, I was also a little nervous. I haven’t been in a one person kayak since 2004. Still, there wasn’t really a lot to lose. My lake is roughly 3′ deep (or less) in most place and it only gets really deep towards the middle, which was not where I was headed! I’m a great swimmer and I was going to be wearing a life vest, so the only thing possibly at risk was my dignity. I lost that once before – the first time I tried to use a rowboat, actually – so I wasn’t afraid of that.

I put my book away, put on clothes that could get a little wet, and cut the plastic wrap off my new kayak. The minute I got out onto the water I thought, “YES!” Immediate pure happiness washed over me. I was grinning like a maniac as I paddled around.

Eastern Snapping Turtle

Why hello there!

The lake was beautiful. It took me about 40 minutes to get all the way around the lake. I saw herons, fish, and big snapping turtle that swam right underneath my kayak. I kept thinking, “I wish my lake were larger!” When waves picked up or the wind started to blow, I thought, “Good! Bring it on!” None of this is my nature. It was so awesome though. I just wanted the ride to go on as long as possible.

I will also say this – I definitely noticed a difference between the first time out on my own, and the first time in my two person kayak. On that first trip, by a third of the way around my lake, my shoulders were aching and I was worn out. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it – and I had another person to help paddle! This time, on my own, I kicked butt. Working out and lifting weights has made a huge difference. I went around once and could have easily gone around again. Oh, and did I mention I had spent 2 hours raking and another hour weed whacking a bit earlier the same day?

The next day, the same thing. I put in a few hours raking and weed whacking (much-needed spring clean up) and then got out the kayak and hit the water. The weather was worse. Gray, cold, and windy. Even the kids had packed it up and stayed inside. Me? I was out on the kayak.

Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke

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