A while back Steve and I talked about doing a camping trip on the river via kayaks. We all know sometimes life doesn’t quite follow the script we wrote so we were pumped to make the best of what we could – an all day kayak trip.
Becky was a great sport and woke up early specifically to drop us off 45 minutes or so northeast of La Crosse at North Bend. At about 7am in temps just below 40 degrees we got in our kayaks and headed out.
Thanks to the cold air and warm water steam rose form the water to create some surreal moments. We scared a bald eagle and it seemed to dissipate into a ghost as it flew into the steam. The rising sun shot bolts of brightness through the gaps to create a dreamlike landscape.
…and then Steve told me the back of my kayak was sinking.
Yup, you read that correctly. Somehow the drain plug had gone missing and due to my body weight pretty much maxing out the kayak and the weight of gear I had stored behind me the back of the kayak was just barely below water. As more water defied physics and rushed into the little 1/2 inch hole faster than earthly possible the back end then continued to sink.
I paddled hard towards shore and tried to find a sandbar. By the time I was aground I was sitting in a few inches of water. Did I mention that it was a little below 40 degrees? All we could do was laugh it off and fix the situation. In talking later we both discovered we have the same sense of impending doom and did our best to laugh through it. All was good afterwards and we were back on our way.
The rest of the trip was amazing. Spending time on the water is always serene, but this was even more so than usual. For the first two dozen miles we didn’t see a single there person on the water! It was just us paddling alongside countless eagles, herons, and even a young buck. Totally chill…
By the time we’d reached the end we had paddled 30 miles over the course of ten and a half hours. Not too shabby!
So here’s what I’m most grateful for today – the all day kayak trip. It provided time with a great friend. It was time spent entirely outside enjoying the area we live in. It was physically demanding. It was a blast. It was an experience I’ll never forget (especially paddling ‘uphill’ as my back end sunk!). So much awesomeness to be thankful for.