Green Lake turns white

“I’m soaked,” I yelped, water dripping from my cheeks and pooling in my kayak seat. I swiped at the water droplets covering my leggings, but the strong wind discouraged much of a pause in my paddling.

“Where did this wind come from? It came up so suddenly,” muttered Greg as we scanned the lake, now thrashing with waves.

Well, it’s not like we didn’t expect the wind, just not this soon.

It was my day off and I was up earlier than a work day (that is, a COVID-19 work-from-home work day) and on the road north to Green Lake just past 7:30 a.m. My husband and I knew if we were going to get in some paddling today, it would need to be in the morning before another rainy, windy afternoon hit.

Pulling up to the boat landing, we were the only vehicle in the parking lot. It seems not many others were willing to brave the brisk 50-degree morning. On the water by 9 a.m. bundled in a cozy sweatshirt, I basked in the quietude.

I had intended to invite a couple of friends who purchased kayaks last week, but the days had gotten away from me and the invitation never extended. I felt regret as a I paddled through the calm water, realizing how much fun I would have had guiding the newbies around this beautiful lake.

But an hour into our paddle, the calm waters seemed to change within minutes, turning rough in a driving wind. The second week in a row where my plans for a long kayak ride were thwarted, I reluctantly turned back the way we’d come.

As I worked my way through the water, I maneuvered my kayak to avoid being splashed by the oncoming waves. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. I wiped the water off my face with my shoulder as I kept paddling, my pants now wet through from occasional waves crashing over the front of my kayak.

Green Lake was covered in small whitecaps, not too dangerous but requiring attention and strong paddling. I continued to monitor the waves as we progressed the 2-3 miles back to shore, trying to read their strength and impact so they wouldn’t roll me. My regret for not inviting my friends turned into relief. Inexperienced kayakers, they may not have fared as well on the tiring paddle home.

When we pulled into the bay where we’d launched, Greg and I joked, “Well, that was fun!”

While not the morning we had anticipated, the exertion actually felt good after being cooped up inside during three consecutive days of rain. All in all, I don’t mind a bit of rough water. I felt a twinge of pride at what an experienced kayaker I’ve become over the years—and one who’s wise enough to bring along extra clothes in the car, just in case.

I was very thankful to change into warm, dry pants for the ride home.

The water from the boat landing is deceiving. Once out of the bay, the lake was much too rough to take out my phone for photos!

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