fitness

Kayaking with Unicorns (and Children)

I confess that I’ve never liked kayaking. 

I’ve tried many times to enjoy it, but it’s just never clicked. I’m not quite sure why. I love lakes and swimming in them. I love the quiet. I love being alone. I have great upper body strength and I love using it. So on the face of it, there’s no good reason why I shouldn’t enjoy kayaking, since it’s comprised of things I love. I guess it’s somewhat boring. But so is running, and I love that. 

However, this summer, being at a cottage on a lake with children not at camp and therefore around all the time, I’ve started to change my tune. I have a five-and-a-half-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son, both of whom have boundless energy. We have an ocean kayak which is big, sturdy, and easy to maneuver. 

Desperate to find activities to entertain them, at first, I’d take one of them out at a time, perched on the front of the kayak. My daughter is a huge chatter box, so I kayak, she navigates, and entertains me, talking about nothing and everything. Last week, we saw a deer and her baby on the shore. It was beautiful. 

I started to kind of enjoy kayaking. 

My son can kayak himself, but we wanted to go out together. So, when he positioned himself on the front of the boat, he also brought along his own paddle and we had fun synchronizing our paddling and getting some good speed. A different kind of fun. The enjoyment level was rising. 

This week, we upped our game. 

My son wanted to take me for a ride. How could I say no? I propped myself on the front of the kayak (I’m small) and he paddled me around. We pretended we were in Venice and he was my gondolier. I could get used to this.

But today took the cake. Here’s how our morning went. First, blow up an enormous inflatable unicorn. Second, tie the unicorn to the back of the kayak. Third, throw the boat and unicorn in the lake. Fourth, put daughter up front on kayak, son on the unicorn, hop into the kayak myself, paddle in hand, and depart. 

The lake was calm.

Unicorn and son in tow, navigator at the helm, we kayaked all the way to the point and back. Still, we wanted more. So we went past the dock and then, after about 45 minutes, looped back home.

This is the kind of kayaking I can get into. 

Image: Blue sky with voluptuous white clouds, calm lake, woman in pink shirt and black cap paddling in a red kayak with her five-year-old daughter perched on the front, pulling a large inflatable white unicorn with a rainbow mane, atop of which her son is sitting.

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