Weekends with Womack

Kayak Love: the Early Days

These days, seems like several of the Fit is a Feminist Issue bloggers are engaging in a variety of summer water-related activities. Natalieh just blogged about her love relationship with swimming here. Samantha, too, is testing the waters of her local pool. Her recent blog about her relationship with swimming is here. Tracy has blogged about the sheer joy of swimming here.

I agree with Tracy about how swimming can bring back those childlike feelings of freedom, a time to “shed or at least park my worries”, as she said in her blog. For me, swimming feels like a way to defy gravity—when I was younger, floating or swimming underwater, I pretended I was flying. And these days, floating in the middle of Walden Pond, looking up at the sky, I feel like I’ve stepped outside of time, suspended in a moment of pure satisfaction.

walden

But in practice, I’m not a great swimmer; my breathing cadence is not as easy and regular as it should be, and although it can get better with practice, I’ve not yet done the work to get to that point. Sometime…

But right now, my attention has been caught by kayaking (again). I blogged here about some experiences with kayaking years ago. Thanks in large part to the efforts of my friend Janet, I’m back in the cockpit again! We signed up for a 2-session intensive sea kayaking course that includes navigation, sea rescues (less dramatic than it sounds), and techniques for handling kayaks in the ocean. It starts in a week and reports will be forthcoming.

But today was all about the kinder, gentler side of kayaking. My friends Janet and Steph and I rented kayaks for a lazy trip down the Charles River on July 4th. I packed a picnic lunch, and we set off. There was no agenda other than a bit of forward progress and a lot of idle conversation. Much of it involved pointing out the many ducks, geese, herons, egrets (and one swan) whose routines we were rudely interrupting. We didn’t even bother taking many pictures, although Janet snapped this one of Steph and me:

kayak-gals

The Charles River twists and meanders its way throughout greater Boston, so much of our 8-mile round trip was by parks (both municipal and trailer) and also alongside wetlands, industrial areas and people’s backyards. We saw a Dunkin Donuts on our way back, so pulled the boats ashore at a park across from it for our picnic lunch, a pit stop, and quick caffeine hit. This was not exactly an experience of nature at its most pristine. Still, urban outdoor experiences have their virtues, among them that they are easily accessible to lots of people, many of whom we greeted as we paddled.

When we returned the boats a scant 4 hours later (the time had floated lazily by), the kayak outfitter pointed out to us that IF we purchased a season pass, then if we booked this trip here, we’d break even on the cost of the pass. And we could use it for as many times as we liked, taking out single kayaks, double kayaks (thus bringing more friends into the mix), canoes, and stand-up paddle boards (an activity I’ve yet to try).

In our post-trip, floaty, holiday euphoria, how could we argue? We all three ponied up and duly purchased season passes. And I’m happy to report that no buyer’s remorse has set in—in fact I’m psyched to get back out there on the water.

In case you’re interested, here’s a short article on some of the health benefits of kayaking. This is good news, of course, but today, it was all about the kayak love.

peace-kayak

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