I must first swear you to secrecy: If Cromm ever finds out I went kayaking with a dog, I’ll never hear the end of it. And if my cat realizes I spent time with a dog and liked it, my life is forfeit. So keep this on the down-low.
Evelyn’s a champion kayaker. The cabin we were staying at is right on a lake. And so, she said, we should go kayaking. And I had immediate flashbacks. The last time I tried to do something in a rowboat on a lake, it involved chasing an inflatable raft as it bounced end-over-end down the beach in a high wind. We never even got the thing in the water. And, yeah, I had a little canoe – when I was two. I have this theory about rowing: it’s something that happens to other people. I have upper body strength: equivalent to a 98lb weakling (which is pretty much what I am). I could envision what would happen if I attempted a kayaking adventure: after dumping myself in the water and overturning the kayak, I’d proceed to paddle in a circle near the boat dock for about ten minutes, then I’d go into the drink again, and the adventure would be over with Evelyn trying not to laugh hysterically.
So I said, “Oh, hell, why not? Let’s do it.”
Fortunately, she has a tandem kayak. And we had a dog, courtesy of her parents. If you think a fan of Jerome K. Jerome and Connie Willis would miss this opportunity on the mere chance of humiliation, you have no appreciation for comedy.
So we carried the tandem kayak down to the dock and put it in the water. I regret to say the comedic potential of the situation was not realized in full. We got it down the hill without knocking me down, and lowered it into the water without me falling in. I didn’t whack anyone in the head with the paddles. Dingo settled right in the middle without overturning the kayak whilst trying to chase birds. I even managed to take my seat with a minimum of rocking the boat. Sorry.
Still, it was a beautiful day for a first kayak adventure.
I think I acquitted myself well for a first-timer. The paddles sometimes entered the water, and seemed to do a slight amount of work towards propelling the kayak in a forward direction. And I didn’t have us spinning in little circles despite Evelyn’s attempts to steer, but I think that’s only because Evelyn’s a champion kayaker and managed to steer us straight despite me.
Things are different from a kayak-level perspective. You’re only a few inches above the water. You can feel the currents, especially when you’re stopping to take pictures and the kayak begins to go its own way. There was a point, when we were till in the cove, that it felt like my old pony: ready to turn tail and bolt for home. But that didn’t fuss either of us much. We took our time, and even got Dingo to pose with his sister.
Don’t mind the look of faint despair in his eyes. He was like that all weekend, because Mommy and Daddy had gone off and left him. Granted, he had us, but he was playing up the existential angst angle for all he was worth. Except when he got too busy doing other things and forgot he was supposed to be bereft of all hope.
For those interested, he’s a cocker spaniel-shih tzu mix, or a cock-shit, as he was described to me. He reminded me very much of my cat. When I first met him, he was all sweet and friendly for a moment, then remembered he has temple guardian ancestry and I was a stranger on his territory, at which moment he exploded and attempted to rip off my face. Unlike my cat, he’s not an actual biter, but he likes to make you believe he is. Reflexes honed by years of living with my homicidal felid allowed me to merely pull back out of range and laugh. Then his mommy brought out the fake bacon, and gave some to me to give to him, and all thoughts of defending the temple fled his mind. We were on excellent terms for the rest of the visit.
Do not tell Cromm, or my cat, but I kinda miss that little bugger. I mean, honestly, how cute is he?
(Before you start on the you-can’t-do-that-with-a-cat, yes you can, and yes, I have. Not in a kayak, but when I was a kid, we took our cat boating with us. She even liked some portions of it, like snoozing in the sun on the bed in the bow. Cabin cruisers + felid = win, at least in that felid’s opinion. Misha, admittedly, would probably murder everyone on board and only then realize there’s no one left to paddle her home.)
Where was I? Oh, right. Scenery. We saw some.
There was a point upon leaving the cove where we even scraped over a boulder, which was kind of neat. Geology! Inna lake! If I’d been any good at this, we might’ve tried the boulder slalom, but I’m not, so we didn’t. My arms were too tired from schlepping bags through airports, then paddling, to attempt the fancy stuff. The results would’ve been hilarious if we hadn’t been in a tandem canoe, though. Hilarious for you lot and Evelyn, anyway.
We saw a loon, which kept diving every time I got the camera aimed at it, and raptors, which will end up in a future UFD post. We saw lovely lake houses, and banks of purple flowers, and sunshine sparkling off little wavelets. The whole experience left me rather determined to increase my upper-body strength and attempt this kayaking thing locally, because we’ve got some great places to do it. I’ll probably be taking Evelyn and her hubbie out on Lake Washington when they visit. Glorious place to kayak, that. Almost as lovely as this.
But we won’t have the lakeside cabin to come back to. Which is unfortunate, because a little cabin in the woods on a lake is a perfect place to be.
After we’d had a bit of a rest, we went on to breaking rocks. This, people, is what geologists’ vacations are all about.