Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kayaking @ Hartman Creek S.P.

It was National Trails Day on Saturday, but we had a lot of severe weather that day so we opted to stay close to home instead. With the high heat and humidity, it was probably a good choice anyway!

To make up for not getting out on the trails yesterday, we took a road trip to Hartman Creek State Park today and spent the early afternoon paddling around Lake Allen.

I just got a new kayak on Friday for my birthday present to myself (along with the roof rack to haul it with) and couldn't wait to get out on the water!

First, I had to practice getting the kayak on and off my car... by myself. It's one thing to have a sales associate load the kayak onto your car and tie it down for you. It's a whole other thing to do it by yourself. Especially for someone small, like me. At 5'4" and 130 lbs., I wasn't sure if I was actually going to be able to do this myself.

But with a little practice and the help of a bath mat and towel to protect my car in case I dropped it, and a step stool to gain some height for lifting the kayak up onto the bars, I was successful!

Actually, I felt like freaking Wonder Woman. Seriously. I think I was even kind of strutting around all puffed up with attitude for a bit. It felt awesome! A few more weeks of putting the kayak on and off my car, and I'm going to have a lot of new muscles. And since I only live a few blocks from the Wisconsin River, I plan to do a lot of weeknight paddling.

Today, I had my mom and her dog, Peanut, along with us, which was great because I had someone to take photos from the shore of me and Charlie on the boat.

The only problem with this scenario is that Charlie is part Border Collie and it's her instinct to "herd" and keep her pack together. As soon as I got her loaded in the boat and started paddling away from shore (and away from half of her pack), she kind of freaked out. She insisted on keeping eye contact with their location even if that meant getting in the way of my paddle.

And when the boat got turned around she was practically looking over my shoulder to keep tabs on their whereabouts. But when Mom and Peanut disappeared... presumably to the dog picnic area, Charlie kind of panicked and jumped into the water, determined to paddle to shore (because apparently I was taking too long to get the pack reunited).

Typically when she "falls" out of the boat or jumps in after a stick or leaf, she quickly decides to get back in the boat. I hoist her in using the handle on her life jacket, she shakes off water and *cools* me off. But today, she was going to swim herself back to shore with no help from me.

All in all, it was a good first outing in our new boat and since it's been a couple years since we've been kayaking, I'm sure it'll take a little practice to get used to it again. Maybe next time we'll go by ourselves and she'll relax a little bit.

Even though it was National Trails Day this weekend, we opted to head out onto the open water instead to avoid the height of tick season right now. The really cool part was that our State Parks were open free to the public this weekend to encourage people to get out and enjoy these natural resources.

I hope you all got a chance to get outside and enjoy some nature yourself this weekend! And "Thanks Mom!" for taking some really great pictures of us!