Monday, March 3, 2014

Top Ten List - Kayak Trips

Roger here...  After several very warm and sunny days (92 degrees yesterday) at Retama Village in deep south Texas, it is chilly and raining --- a good day to write a post.  Yes, I know it is snowing in Indiana.

Our list this time covers the kayaking that we have enjoyed during the past five years of travel in our motor home.  The adventures include trips in rental kayaks and in our Sea Eagle inflatable kayak.  Some were organized trips.  Some were short paddles from various campsites.  All were memorable.

As in the past, this list only includes places we have been in the past five years.  We have obviously missed some great paddles along the way.  We have not traveled in our motor home to Canada, the northeast, Montana, and most of Idaho.  Here we go....

1 (tie).  Sugar Creek, near Turkey Run State Park, Marshall, Indiana.

This trip is something we look forward to on a regular basis when we find ourselves back home in Indiana.  

We join our friends:  Chuck/Cindy, Audrey/Pat and others on an all- day trip in rental kayaks.  A stop on a sand bar for lunch and one of Pat's margaritas or a beer is part of the tradition.

We missed the trip last year, but intend to go again.  I will probably make it this year, but not Dianne :-(  Lots of fun and good exercise in a scenic area.

1 (tie).  Koreshan State Park near Fort Myers, Florida.  

A paddle through the jungle just north of the Everglades.

Lots of Spanish Moss hanging over the black water.
Our friends, Chuck and Cindy, joined us on this trip as well. 

The abundant wildlife made this trip especially interesting.  Sorry for the blurry picture, but a quick snap is required to get a shot of these sliders before they slip into the water.  What fun it was to glide over the manatees --- truly a new adventure for people from Indiana.

3.  Collier-Seminole State Park, south of Naples, Florida (in the everglades).

Dianne and I camped here for a few nights and took advantage of the boat launch on the river.

As you can see, this is another one of those dark, dark Florida rivers.  There were mangrove trees all along the way.

The longer we paddled, the narrower the river became.  Dianne was afraid of snakes dropping from the trees.  I was concerned about an alligator taking a bite out of our inflatable kayak.  When something large splashed in the water (probably just a fish), we decided to head back.

4.  Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida.

Another trip with Chuck and Cindy.  Reading this post it seems as if they are with us all the time.  Actually, we only see them from time to time.  We do not see them nearly enough.

This was an interesting paddle along a marked course that included the mangrove shoreline and short paddles into the gulf.  Looks to me like Cindy is doing all the paddling :-).

5.  Franklin Locks, on the Caloosahatchee River near Ft. Myers, Florida.

We camped here a couple of times.  It was great being able to slip the kayak into the water from our campsite.  That is our motor home in the picture above.

This is a navigable river so we needed to watch out for the motorized water craft that went by on a regular basis.

During one of our visits we had the joy of taking our granddaughter, Kaia on her first kayaking experience.  

6.  Abiquiu Reservoir, Abiquiu, New Mexico.  

The campground on the banks of this large reservoir is one of our favorites.  I did two paddles here, the first was a solo.  
I beached the kayak on a massive submerged rock that was separated from the rocky shoreline.  The water was six inches deep over the boulder.  I got out of the kayak to lounge in the water that was warmed by the sun-drenched rock.

Later in the week Dianne and I returned to the same spot for a picnic.

Such a tranquil and private spot to relax in the water.

7.  Rio Grande River.  Mission, Texas.

Yes we really did go on an organized trip on the Rio Grande.  It still remains a weekly guided activity at the Bentsen Palm Village RV Park where we stayed before buying our lot next door at Retama Village.

Our guide cautioned us not to get out of the kayak on the Mexican side of the river, but informed us that is was OK to paddle near the shore.  I would never do this alone; however, we did feel safe in a group, especially with the visual presence of the Border Patrol.  

There were lots of interesting sites, particularly on the Mexican side, which was more fully developed than the American side.  This photo shows a high-end water skiing school that was under construction...  

... complete with ski ramps.  

It was here that we noted a "spotter" on the Mexican side who was obviously keeping a watch on the Border Patrol.

The highlight of the trip was probably the horses (Mexican side) that wandered down to the river to get a drink.

Or maybe, the highlight was Dianne's smile.  

8.  Guadalupe River. Kerrville, Texas.

Lots of things to do in the Hill Country of Texas, including kayaking.

Chuck and Cindy joined us on this trip, and you thought they only kayaked in Indiana and Florida.

We launched from a Kerrville City Park and enjoyed the river on a sunny Texas day.

9.  Rio Grande River, Big Bend Ranch State Park, in the Big Bend area near Lajitas, Texas.

Dianne opted out of this trip, organized by the Lajitas Resort.   It was supposed to have been a float trip, but the river was so low that it became a canoe trip.

I was in a canoe with the guide while a young couple joined us in the only other canoe.  The guide, who lives in a house that only uses solar power, filled me in on all the local lore, gossip and the best places to grab a beer --- he was an interesting and likable guy.  In this section of the Rio Grande you can literally wade across the river to Mexico.

10.  Florida Keys, just north of Key West.  Florida.

This really cannot be considered a trip, but it was the first time that I ever took the inflatable kayak out.  The KOA campground was extremely congested, but the turquoise water at the campground launch site looked extremely inviting.

I always thought it was warm in the keys, but this day was windy and cool.  I really did not want to tip the kayak.  I am an excellent swimmer, but I also don't like to be wet when the weather is chilly.  Dianne was afraid that we both would drown so she watched from the shore and took pictures.  I soon discovered that over-inflating the kayak makes it a little unstable, so this was a short trip.  Lesson learned.  

More top ten lists to come, as well as Dianne's final summary of our fifth year of travel in the RV.

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