Kayaking to Bannerman’s Castle on the Hudson River – July 2018
Eliza and I paddled on the Hudson River to a long abandoned arsenal castle. It was a great day.
Merli-Sarnoski County Park Kayakers – May 2016
I’ve been kayaking for two years and one month.
My first post about kayaking is a sprawling post about my first two paddles but one that I’m really happy I wrote and published. In it I show exactly the types of things a new paddler worries about; falling in, being cold, getting in and out of the boat, etc. In a recent post you see what a paddler thinks about after they’ve gotten over those things; where go to, what to see, and missing opportunities to catch snakes.
Kayaking may have saved my sanity. For the last two years I’ve been attempting to create a new company and I completely failed. Most start up companies fail. I knew that going in. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have an immense amount of stress living the ups and downs every day. Kayaking was my way to decompress. (More on this story in future posts.)
I’ve paddled in tons of local areas and even some a few hundred miles away from home. I have mentioned my goal of kayaking in Scotland once or twice here on my blog. Two years into my kayaking hobby and I still have that as a goal to do some day.
Here are some random observations I’ve made after two years of kayaking:
Here are some, quite literally, random photos from the last two years.
My next kayaking goals are to get onto a few rivers, to paddle a two-day trip where I camp on the side of the river or lake, and to maybe fish from my kayak. I haven’t done any of those things yet.
When choosing a location to go for a paddle, don’t be fooled by the size of the body of water. Enormous lakes aren’t necessarily any more fun than the small ponds.
Merli-Sarnoski’s Mountain Mud Pond is an excellent example of this. The entire shoreline of the pond could be paddled in under an hour yet it offers a lot of great little islands and tons of lilies to paddle around.
Last week my friends Eric, Jackie and I went for an afternoon paddle on Mountain Mud Pond and it was just as fun as paddling in a much larger lake.
There was one mishap though… I almost caught two water snakes of some kind at once (I think they were mating, one of them is in the above photo) and I missed them both because of me being unsure of their exact species.
I was paddling up to an island and saw the pair of them basking in the sun on top of one another. They let me get very close before they began to move, probably because they smelled me or could sense my heat, and so I placed my paddle on top of both of them. They didn’t fight it much at first. They were likely confused. I was trying to get a good look at their heads (which is how you can most tell if a snake is venomous or not) and before I got a good look they slid into the water.
I did, however, manage to get my hands on this eastern painted turtle. He, or she, was forging underneath the water and I saw its feet kicking back and forth. So I reached in and nabbed the turtle for a closer look. I put a video of the release on Instagram.
It was an incredibly nice and warm day for a paddle. Looking forward to paddling Mountain Mud Pond at Merli-Sarnoski Park again.
I liked this bit in his photographic interview with Daily Mail:
The kayak enables me to travel to remote places and show people these places from a different perspective than they are used to.
I think this is one of the reasons people enjoy my photos too. I have people come up to me and say “I love your photos, please keep sharing them”. And I think it is because they are seeing places they go to and have seen (parks, recreational areas, rivers) but from a completely different angle. I will keep taking them and sharing them because I love doing it.
Regarding Furmanek’s photos, though… he’s cheating. Norway is just stunning from any angle.
An all-new kayak from Oru Kayak, Beach.
It’s the easiest collapsible boat in the world to put together, taking just three minutes. Its 28″ width makes it stable and comfortable. The open cockpit makes entry a breeze, for paddlers of all shapes and sizes.
I love the design and it looks like there are tons of improvements, both obvious and subtle, that have been made since I got my Bay. The only thing I don’t like is the name. It is a bit misleading. You’d never want to use this one on the beach.
Check out this guy (or gal). A screenshot from a GoPro video.
This past Saturday afternoon we had some beautiful weather and so I went kayaking at a nearby lake. This time of year is an incredible time to paddle since every animal is very active, making nests, waking up from the winter, preparing for the heat of summer.
The geese, in particular, were insane. If you follow me on SnapChat you’ll have seen some wing-to-wing combat going on. Fiercely territorial, these geese in the above image were dead-set on the land grab.
One other thing that makes this time of year great to paddle is that everything is turning green, blooming, sprouting, and reaching for the sun. Check out this tree blooming.
Something I didn’t plan on (but should have) was that turtles were beginning to wake up out of their frozen sleep sessions and scratch and claw their way out of the mud. So I ended up seeing a few turtles and having the opportunity to catch one.
One thing I took some time to learn last year was how to properly catch these guys without hurting them or myself. Many people will simply grab a snapping turtle by the tail, fearing their lightning quick snap, and end up seriously injuring the animal or slowly killing them. It turns out that by holding them up by their tail could dislocate their spine and give them a painful death.
So, last year, I watched a few YouTube videos and many people that are catching snapping turtles don’t care about harming them because they are going to eat them. And I’m all for turtle soup. I just don’t think you need to injure the turtles to enjoy some soup.
Anyway, the proper way to catch a snapping turtle is to grab the back, tail-end of their shell, lightly lift their back legs off of the ground, slide your hand underneath their belly, grab their chest/shell and pick them up. All of their weight will be on their chest which won’t hurt them and the worst they can do to you is scratch you with their claws.
This snapping turtle was about 6 lbs. So, a pretty small snapper even for our area. I’ve seen snapping turtles that were at least 3’ across the tops of their shells. I’m hoping to have a chance to catch one of those this year.
Oh, and when trying to catch a turtle I fell in.
Pro tip: Don’t kayaking in jeans and fall in. Rookie move.
I was in Eliza’s kayak which is virtually impossible to tip over but somehow I managed to do it by diving after a turtle. My phone was in my left pocket and I somehow managed to keep that pocket dry (as you can see in the above photo) and pull the phone out just in time.
Stay tuned for more kayaking and turtle adventures this year.
Bullhead Bay, Lackawanna State Park, November 2015