kayak · Sat with Nat

Nat had a great time kayaking!

A couple weeks after arriving in McAdam my cousin Tina invited me to join her and some other women for an afternoon of kayaking on Wauklehegan Lake.

Tina and I have known each other our whole lives and have a long history of laughing a lot so I was thrilled to be invited.

The big day came and I was lucky to be able to borrow all the gear I needed from my mom from safety kit to personal flotation device to kayak and paddle. AMAZING!

At the dock I recognized a few women and chatted as everyone got gear in the water. Tina’s daughter Vanessa joined us. It was great to get to know her a bit. She’s a really cool human.

Natalie and Tina try to take a selfie on the shore. Vanessa successfully photobombs to great comedic effect.

The pace was laid back and the weather outstanding. There was a wide variety of watercraft: canoes, paddle board (go Vanessa!), two person kayaks, inflatable kayaks, and all models and sizes of recreational kayaks

We made our way up the lake to Sandy Beach, chatting, drinking, laughing and wondering at the splendor all around us.

At one moment we were surrounded by a school of palm sized white perch that were fining and jumping all around us. The water practically boiled from their efforts.

On the water, looking at Sandy Beach where dozens of brightly colored kayaks line the shore. Behind are women in swimwear sitting and standing in groups having a wonderful time.

Every event needs a commemorative tank top and beverage coozie. These were made by Jenni and super fun! Her brother is married to another of my cousins so it was great to see her again.

White text on a tie dyed background reads “girls trip cheaper than therapy 2021”

There was over 35 vessels all told and with that many folks you tend to cluster into smaller groups. Tina, Vanessa and I ended paddling with mother daughter teams, Kerri & Emily (who I think maybe we are related on my dad’s side?) as well as Fonda & Destiny. I met Fonda when I was very young, she’s the nearest and dearest friend of my other cousin Nicole. These relational things are so important, you’ll see why later.

Most of the folks are in this photo while others are taking photos for us. Thank you photographers! We are wearing our commemorative tank tops. I’m with my daughter for the moment Emily, laughing.

As we got back on the lake after libations some folks made a direct line back to the landing. It was so beautiful Tina suggested we take a circuitous route around a nearby island. We were joined by Lindsay who I had met at the beginning of the trip. (We never got to last names…this is important later) Kerri and Emily agreed to hang out for a bit before going to see other friends.

So we toddled about for a few hours, chatting with people Tina knew on a jet ski, a couple who have this vessel made from two 14’ aluminum boats held together with a dock on top, to a fellow with a boat and an Adirondack chair bolted in for passengers.

They were lots of great conversations and laughs. I did get a bit sunburned. Oopsie!

When we finally decided our trip was over Lindsay kindly offered to give me and my kayak a lift home. When her beloved arrived with their truck I introduced myself, as I had been doing all day as few people knew me or recognized me. The man burst out laughing, it was another of my cousins, Jamie, who I didn’t recognize as it had been too long. Lindsay thought that was hilarious as she knew how I was related to her. I was the clueless one!

I was so thankful for a day of companionship and gentle movement, not for working out or getting to a destination.

It was a wonderful way to reconnect to old friends and make new ones. Thank you for the invite Tina!