Friday, September 17, 2010

Abiquiu Reservoir - Kayaking Paddles: His & Ours

Paddle No. 1: 
 Roger here...  Dianne has almost recovered from whatever is ailing her.  She is either adjusting to the altitude, or in the last stages of fighting a bug.  We decided that the best thing for her to do was to rest for another day.  (Rest for me meant updating our finances on Quicken -- D.)
I just finished the book I was reading, The Devil's Punch Bowl, by Greg Iles -- pretty good book  --  and I was feeling a little antsy.  I can only be a slug for a couple of days before I need to do something.  It seemed like a good time to inflate the Sea Eagle and do a little solo kayaking on the reservoir.  I put the seats down in the Matrix, securely bungied the inflated kayak in the car, slathered on sun screen, said goodbye to Dianne, and drove over to the isolated launch area.

  I stayed near the shore, paddling past a cliff along the rocky shoreline.  The water was smooth.  Even though people were water skiing on the lake, it is so big that the waves dissipated to nothing by the time they reached lonely me.

I encountered a couple of irritating problems early on.  The first was that the kayak insisted on turning to the right no matter what I did.  I seemed to be working much too hard to make any kind of decent forward progress.  The second problem was that there must have been a leak in the inflatable seat (glad it wasn't the kayak) because I found myself with nothing to lean back on.

I decided to find a flat place on the shoreline to beach the kayak and make adjustments.  I wasn't able to find a suitable space on the shoreline, but I did find something far better - a huge submerged boulder.  The water was about a foot deep and there was a raised portion to sit on.  Perfect.

I inspected the bottom of the kayak and discovered that the two rudders had both been bent to the right - probably from being rolled up in the motor home for a month.  I was able to straighten them out.  The seat was a bigger problem.  It was, indeed flat as a pancake, but I was able to jerry-rig our cheap, orange, life preserver to provide some support for my back in the rear of the kayak.

I was prepared to continue, but it was so pleasant on the submerged boulder that I decided to stay for a while.  Warm, crystal-clear water, bright sunlight, pristine scenery, and isolation.  How lucky I was.  I enjoyed the rare experience for about forty-five minutes, before climbing back in the kayak to explore other parts of the lake.

The adjustment to the rudders made a huge difference.  The kayak was performing well and the paddling was easy.  I discovered the dam around one of the corners, and paddled across a portion of the lake to an island before deciding to head back.

The water was so smooth, the paddling so easy - almost effortless.  It will be a peaceful trip back to the launch area.  What's this?  A little wind?  Not too bad, though, but it is in my face.  (There was no wind until I started the paddle back to the car.)  It seems to be picking up, a little.

  The front of the kayak is now slapping as it splashes over each new wave.  I shouldn't have spent so much time relaxing on the rock.  I don't know why there always seems to be some discomfort with each of our outings, but I guess that is part of the adventure.  My arms are in agony.  The waves now have white caps!  The wind is stronger.  I can't stop paddling or the wind will carry me backwards. 

 It takes me about ten minutes to pass a couple of fishermen.  They wish me luck as they watch my struggle.  My arms are still in agony. The launch site MUST BE AROUND THE NEXT CORNER.  No.  Still up ahead.  Gotta keep going.  I finally paddled into the cove and could see the car on the bank.  Whew.  Then, out of nowhere, I hear, "Yippee!  You did a good job!"  I jump -- as I always seem to do when I am startled -- and hear laughter.  Two ladies with their dog were sitting in the shade under an overhanging rock while dangling their feet in the water.  They had been watching me for quite some time.   Nice to have fans.

  Time to hit the recliner in the shade at the campsite and start another book.

Paddle No. 2:

Dianne here:  The next day I was feeling a lot better, so we decided to retrace Roger's kayaking trip of the day before.  First we checked the Weather Underground web site to be sure strong winds weren't in the forecast.  Looked like they'd hold off until later in the afternoon, so off we went.

This time we packed a picnic lunch to enjoy on Roger's rock.  The water was smooth as glass, and we took turns paddling until we reached the rock.  We brought along our swim noodle in case we decided to swim.  

After lunch, and after relaxing on the rock for a bit, Roger asked, "Do you want to swim?"  I said, "I'm thinking about it."  We'd been sitting with our ankles in the water for about half an hour by that point, and the water didn't seem so bad.  I was still contemplating a swim when Roger decided to go for it.

I watched him dive in, off the rock, and the first words out of his mouth when he resurfaced was "@#%&* It's Cold!!!!!!"  I've never seen him get back onto dry land so quickly.  Needless to say, I didn't get in.

It was really pleasant on our picnic rock, and Roger wanted to know if I wanted to paddle farther.  Knowing that the winds often pick up in the afternoon, I thought we should head back, so we did.  
We had an easy paddle back to the launch site, reloaded the kayak, and went back to our outdoor recliners.  Seems as soon as we did, the wind picked up so much we had to put the awning in.  We were both really glad we were off the lake by then!

Check back soon, because we have more adventures to write about from Abiquiu.  

1 comment:

Gin and Syl said...

We love to paddle still waters. That rock sounds like a neat place to take a lunch break.