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August 1, 2012: Land Ahoy

Pete and I used to do a lot of sea kayaking. In fact, our lives revolved around this sport’s activity in the 1990s. Two things brought about a change. The first was that we moved to Southcentral Alaska, which is a fair distance from large bodies of water. And secondly, we acquired five horses, three goats, two chickens, and two dogs. We also began long-term gardening efforts—the latest, the hoop house, is a government funding project that will require three years of particpation.

So, our kayaks have been sitting under the main cabin for some time, in fact, longer than I’d like to admit.

Paddling in Glacier Bay
Paddling in Glacier Bay with our friend Ed.

Yesterday we had to go to Anchorage because my bridge again came out. (This is yet another story, but because no one really is interested in someone else’s dental history, I’m not going to go into it. Suffice to say, my bridge is back in place. But if it again comes out, I will need to have a new one built and put in. The one I now have and its upcoming replacement are called Maryland Bridges – well, maybe there is a story in this, but not today.)

Anyhow, yesterday I suggested to Pete that we go sea kayaking, to which he readily agreed. He figured that we could, on the way home, check out Mirror Lake. (It’s between Anchorage and Palmer.) Before leaving for town, he got the gear together, and pulled the boats out of their storage area. It was sobering to realize that it’s been so long since we’ve paddled that a hatch cover on one of the boars had rotted.

Well, we went for an hour- and-a- half spin. This short paddle actually whetted my appetite for again doing a longer trip. True, the lake was small, and we had to deal with Glenn Highway traffic noise– but otherwise, I was reminded of all I like about this sport.

It’s a workout, for sure. But it’s also relaxing. I enjoy taking it all in, all being the shoreline, water, and wildlife activity. We checked out several lakeside homes, many of which had floatplanes out front. And we watched a floatplane land. A few people were working with dogs. The canines dove into the water and retrieved floaty type batons. We also saw a loon, and as well, a duck. And little fish repeatedly leapt into the air, catching gnats and mosquitos.

I repeatedly allowed myself to become mesmerized by the falling water droplets, which left widening concentric rings in their wake. Everything, it all reminded me of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a book which is a celebration of one Annie Dillard’s high degree of sensory acuity.

Pete did two rolls, I opted out because I didn’t want to take the time to put on my dry suit.

Finally, we pulled out into the picnic area, and carried the boats back to the truck, one in each hand. We were as quick in loading up as we were unloading. I’d forgotten how proficient we’d become at all that’s involved in getting ready for, and finishing up a paddle.

I hope that we can somehow find a way of reintegrating sea kayaking into our busy lifestyle. I guess we’ll just have to make a concerted effort to do this.

Next: 237. 07/2/12: Rain