Doing the Kayak Swim...  

rm_toohotque 51M
78 posts
3/24/2005 9:32 am
Doing the Kayak Swim...

Winter deletes the memory of his languid swimming in cool, placid water. Once I learned how acclimated to being in the water the Golden Retriever is, I became infatuated wanting see how far he can swim. I took him around the small lake, resting him ocassionally. He was always ready to go again. His longest swim was .6 mile from a point across from the campsite.

We were isolated, and I tanned my boners on the shoreline.


Kayaking has rewarded me with many memorable experiences to describe:

"There were very many small bubble waves. The wind, had recently subsided and reflections were traveling all about the surface. We passed within 120 yards of a boat of fisherman and the head of the bay who pretended not to notice us. They gave us no gesture at all. I let Laddy swim ahead of me. He swam slowly, comfortably and I just drifted along sort of steering with my paddle. The sun overhead was bright, the water clear, and the air void of sounds. We were just lazily completing our journey with about a half-mile to go. We came to the other side of the bay and in shaded, calm water we rounded the final rocky precipice. When I hit the shore and got out of the kayak there was a feeling of relief, but I had new knowledge within me. That last half-mile had been reiteration of part of the previous trial I had made. It had been an exquisite experience, just drifting along lazily allowing Laddy to swim at a languid pace of his own. It was very comfortable for both of us.

When we drove back into Ely, I learned it was 95 degrees and almost 12 o’clock noon. There was no way I was going to drive westward into the hot sun."

//... and on another trip Laddy rode in the kayak with gear.

"We moved on, traveling to a place shown on the map where I could paddle into a small lake and make one more portage into Jackfish Bay, another very large arm of Basswood Lake. I crossed the lake and began portaging gear after checking the relatively unused trail, which was very narrow and rocky. It seemed possible to travel a marshy waterway with the empty kayak, so I tried. A few yards beyond what was visible from the portage, I ran into impediments of mud and branches. A few times I had to get out, and in my good $150 ECHO shoes walk on knee deep mud and water, pulling the kayak in a tunnel of shade and overhanging branches. It was quite a struggle, and it was threatening to turn buggy. Laddy had to plow through mud that swallowed him to his neck. It was a poor decision I had made, but the portage trail was difficult as well.

We made it. I washed a little mud off my good shoes and loaded the kayak for the last paddle of the day, which would be to a campsite. We moved out into the bay from the east shore, looking a little northwest into the setting sun. There was a gentle southwest breeze coming across the large body of water, bringing rather large bubble-like wavelets that bordered on being threatening. I reasoned that I would have less danger if I could cover a distance, getting closer to the lee shore. Suddenly a loon popped up very close to us from out of nowhere, but Laddy was perfect. He hardly moved, watching it very intently. I could see its red eyes. I observed that we were completely immersed in nature, having fun. My senses were tingling. We had been alone for awhile, and the first encounter with danger had pushed me over the edge. This was ambition's reward.

I paddled onward, toward an island and a campsite shown on the map. It was evening and the breeze subsided leaving the bubble-like wavelets again, so pleasing to the eyes, and the ensuing comfort of safety allowed me to enjoy being in the 3D panorama of picturesque, postcard-like quality. A small group of seagulls was at the middle of the bay, attracted to something on the surface. The far shore was a hillside with a smoky, blue-green hue, rising out of the water, casting a reflection in the calm now amid parts of the water. I observed there were no smoke plumes, or other signs of people. I dared to think that I might have the entire bay to myself. This was somewhat unexpected. The ensuing experience of finding a campsite, pitching camp, cooking a meal, and observing my vantage to nature was to be of superb quality. The view of the huge bay was breath-taking and peaceful. To the south I watched as the light changed upon a stretch of several miles of expansive water broken with two small islands, and completely natural shoreline.

I made my way past one large island and into the shaded calm water to a second island near the far shore. Upon sighting a long curvature of sand, I began homing in, thinking it might also be the campsite on the map. It was about sunset when I ran the kayak into the sand. (In my journey across the bay there had been no sounds of motors, or voices. There was no distant banging. I sighted no plumes of smoke.) A beaver tail hammered the surface behind me. Startled again, I looked around checking my surroundings. I was not accustomed to such awakenings. The light was fading and stillness had been very captivating, lulling me, though I had a lot of work to do before crawling into my bed would be possible. It had been a long day. I was still enjoying the paradigm of being alive in a postcard, with Laddy.

I carried my things from the kayak to a place near the firepit and started a fire. As I made camp I heard the beaver several more times, warning us to leave his domain. To the beaver I must have seemed like a tornado that caused panic and fear. I pitched the tent and threw some things inside. Food and cooking utensils were placed on a log. I strung a line to dry a wet blanket and clothing. In the dark I cooked a piece of salmon and looked upward. There, framed perfectly as it is so often in my driveway at home, was the Big Dipper. It was awesome, dreamlike assurance that this day had been a gift. It was most peculiar, and within me was again an awakened sense of wonder."


I get out there and I am so daunted by the incredible scenery, that all I want to do is layout and tan my boner. So I do. Join me sometime on a trip. Its nice. YUM!

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