My kayaking adventures began in earnest with the purchase of my two orange kayaks in April 2016. Since I’ve made a large investment in my kayaks and required gear (paddles, life jackets, waterproof bag and car roof rack), I’m determined to go paddling as often as possible. Kayaking gets priority every summer weekend when the weather is agreeable as well as an occasional weeknight or pre-planned PTO day.
Remember my desire to get back in touch with nature? Kayaking works wonders. After a stressful day (or week!), I have kayaking to look forward to—a combination of fresh air, physical activity and relaxation on a beautiful waterway. There’s always a moment that comes as I’m paddling away from shore, away from people, away from traffic, away from the day’s stressors, in which I slowly take a deep breath and close my eyes and a great big AAAAHHHH escapes me. Everything it took to get me here was so worth it.
And what did it take to get here? Well, it all begins with loading the kayaks on the afore mentioned car roof rack.
My kayaking up to the point of my kayak purchases had been in rented kayaks with girlfriends and my youngest daughter. Now that I owned kayaks, I had to transport them to my water destination (a downfall of not actually living on the water). My husband researched and selected the kayak carrier to fit atop our Honda Pilot and initially took charge of loading and unloading the kayaks. While that was certainly helpful, it took away my control of my kayaks. Until I learned how to properly strap the kayaks to the carrier myself, I was dependent on him, limiting where I could go, when I could go and who I could go with. That was not what I had in mind when I purchased my kayaks. I wanted to kayak with my girlfriends and not base my ability to go kayaking on when my husband could help load the kayaks.
So I asked him to show me the method to his strap-down madness and then to step back while I tried it on my own. There are four straps to secure each kayak, and it involves a bit of climbing, maneuvering and stretching to get the straps over and around the kayaks and tightly secured into place. It only took me once or twice to master the process—and now I can hit the road on my own timeframe and terms.
Well, almost. I consider myself athletic and strong, working out regularly and lifting weights at least twice a week. However, I still find that I’m unable to singly lift and precariously balance a 10-foot kayak over my head and prop it on top of my SUV. (These are the times I wish I had a shorter vehicle!) I’m determined to keep trying—perhaps carrying a kayak over my head can be my fitness goal for 2019?! In the meantime, I need my co-pilot to assist with this step. It’s really my only requirement of using kayak number two: you must help me heave the kayaks overhead onto the kayak rack. From there, I can expertly strap down the kayaks (in about 15 minutes flat) and take us wherever we want to go. Girl power feels so good!
This freedom—which comes from taking control of your kayaks (and your life)—is another reason I can smile when I push away from shore, and release that happy AAAAHHHH!