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:
- Anyone can do it. If you think you can't for some reason, you're likely wrong. Start off simple and slow with no expectations and you'll likely be surprised.
- More people should do it. Kayaking sounds like a great hobby to everyone I talk to and yet not as many people have kayaks as I think should. Especially here in Pennsylvania with thousands of bodies of water to explore.
- It is less expensive than you think. A used kayak will set you back a few hundred dollars at most. The rest of the gear you need; paddle, life jacket, etc. is maybe $100 for a brand-new set. A rack for your roof may cost up to $100 too (unless your car already has them). After that kayaking is generally free and you can likely do it for years on your first set of gear.
- It is very good for you. Exercise, fresh air, sun. All great things.
- It is the most relaxing thing I've ever done. Some like to read a book to relax, some like to nap. I like to paddle. I like to be active yet my brain can simply forget the cares of the day and focus on moving forward or finding critters or enjoying the sounds of nature.
- You don't fall in often. In fact, I would say a more cautious paddler than me would almost never fall in. I'd even go one step further and say you could, if you wanted to, plan to never even get wet. I've paddled in jeans before. Getting in and out of the water using a dock you may never get any water on you at all.
- You won't be cold. Your body heat in a kayak creates a really nice insulated spot. Bundle up a little, you won't be cold even in winter.
- Pay attention to wind more than any other weather factor. Kayaking in rain is fun and adds no difficulty to your paddling. Even in a downpour it'd be a long time before your kayak gets enough water in it to make a difference. (And, you could cover your hull with a skirt if it is that bad). However, wind is a huge factor in how difficult your paddle will be. Take a minute to read this post I wrote after kayaking in Back Bay, Sandbridge, Virginia in 2015.
- Tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return. Even very rough estimates of either of those things help a lot should anything happen.
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.