Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Kayak Paddle of the Year

Last week it was a surprise snowstorm here in the South Carolina Midlands. Today, it was sunny with temperatures in the high 60s. Now, who could resist going out for their first paddle of the year in weather like this?

Sesqui 1 So, around 11:30 a.m., I abandoned work on the CarolinaConsidered website, and headed for the small lake in Sesquicentennial State Park, just across Route 1. A “no fishing in the lake” sign at the entrance suggested there might be a problem. So before inflating the kayak I went down to have a look at the lake.

Sesqui 2 Good thing too! It was drained for long-needed maintenance. A good thing in the longer-term. But not good for kayaking today.

So, off to Lake Monticello. About 40 minutes away, but well worth the drive.

Monticello Lake 1 I’ve paddled Lake Monticello numerous times in the past. And today found it much as always. Just about the ideal size for a quiet afternoon paddle.

Some readers have asked about the Advanced Elements inflatable kayak that I carry in the back seat of the Mobile Studio’s “tow vehicle.”

Kayak in Car Well, here’s a photo of the kayak and its accompanying gear in the back seat of the car. If you click on the photo, the gray oblong is the folded body of the kayak. The paddle is on the floor to the right. The accessories all are in the black bag atop the kayak body. And the little trailer wheels are just tossed in over the whole thing.

Kayak 1 Here’s the kayak out on a tarp beside the car, ready for inflation. That gray air mattress looking thing beside it is the kayak floor.

Kayak 2 Once the main tubes have some air in them, the whole thing begins to look like a kayak.

kayak 3 With the floor installed above the bow-to-stern aluminum “backbone” and inflated it’s certainly a kayak. And not at all bad looking. No inflatable pool toy this! I wrote some time back about the backbone. Click here to read the post.

Kayak 4 All that remains is to install the seat and strap on the pneumatic tires for an easy trip down to the water. More robust paddlers carry their boats to the water over their shoulders. Well …. Those days are over for me. These wheels are a great addition to the kit. And, they fold up and travel comfortably on the back of the boat while paddling.

Digital image  All of this takes between 10 and 15 minutes. However, passers-by nearly always stop to chat and ask questions. So, this time it was more like a half-hour before the boat was finally in the water.

Digital image  There was just enough breeze to cool the bright sunlight, and to give the surface of the lake a little character. It’s impossible to see in this photo, but on the way to the island ahead I heard, then saw, two loons. Couldn’t get close enough to photograph them. They’re wary birds. Good to see them again on the lake this year.

Digital image  This island hosts quite a number of bald eagles. Their nests are just in from the shore where this great blue heron stood sentinel. No sign of the eagles this trip. Must be vacationing somewhere over on the shore.

This wasn’t a long paddle. Only a few miles. But it was the first one of the year. So that alone made it worth writing about. Tomorrow, off to Huntington Beach State Park on the Atlantic shore of South Carolina, in Georgetown County. So stay tuned.


  1. WOW Bob you beat me to the water this year. However I did give the new bike its first real ride. So between us we have the good stuff covered.

  2. Thanks, Barney. This blog and the Carolina Considered website both are very much works in progress. And I'd never have been the water paddling at all had it not been for your advice and encouragement way back when! Hope you're paddlin' soon.


  3. HEY! You got out onto LIQUID water, Bob! Still frozen solid here. Snow and more snow this week. Wish I was in SC!