“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” - Lao Tzu
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Woof! When Martin said we were going to try kayaking, I had no idea what he was talking about, boy was I surprised when I found out what kayaking was! I would have never though it possible that me, a dog, would be able to sit on this kayak thing. Now I’ve been canoeing, and I don’t mind that too much, but I get to sit inside of the boat and there’s no chance that I’m going to fall off, this kayak is a little different. When we brought the kayak into the back yard and set it on the grass I thought it was a crazy impossible idea. The first time I jumped on the front of the kayak, it was way too slippery, I had nothing to grab on to with my claws, I said I need something to hold on to, or this isn’t going to work. So we took an old sleeping pad and slipped it under the bungee’s on the front, Martin cut it to shape and then I jumped on, that was the first time that I thought this kayaking thing might work.
We brought the kayak to the local lake, Martin got in, and I was so confident that it would work I jumped right on. At first we took it slow, paddled a few circles, then paddled around the lake a few times. Everything seemed like it was going pretty smooth, I was kayaking! I would have never thought something like this was possible. I’ve heard of other dogs kayaking, but they’re smaller dogs in larger kayaks. It was working so well, I couldn’t wait to try it out on a larger lake. Spirit took a turn on the kayak, it looked like it worked even better for her, as she’s a smaller dog – I thought she might have trouble as she’s more hyper, but watching her on that kayak – I never knew she could sit still so well. She knew what she had to do, I mean, you feel it as soon as you’re sitting on the front of that thing, if you move around it all it feels like you’re going to tip over.
Then the kayaks got loaded up and we drove off to Myrie Big Island State Park to paddle on the big lake, Albert lea lake (Well, first we made a stop at Bayside Park in Albert lea to play 18 holes of disc golf, Martin was pretty excited that he ended with a 55 – then we went to the state park to go kayaking). I looked out on the lake and was instantly nervous, it was so much bigger and the wind was blowing, I could even see white caps. We put the kayak in the water, Martin got in and I sat on top again. With the waves and wind I didn’t feel as stable as I was on the smaller lake, so I tried something different – I got inside the kayak with Martin, there was just enough room for me to sit in between his legs and hang my front paws across the top, I was much more sturdy (too bad he wouldn’t let me sit like this when I was all wet, I eventually learned to balance myself quite well).
We paddled across the windy section to follow the shore out of the wind. We saw several people camping in the campsites along the shore, they had canoes and tents, some people were even inside the tent at two in the afternoon, you know what’s going on inside of a tent. For a lot of the way near the shore I got to run! Running along the shore, crashing through trees and brush, sometimes running through the water, and a few times I even swam out along side of the kayaks, though running was much easier. The only bummer of running along the shore, was I got all muddy and Martin no longer let me sit inside of the kayak, so the next stretch of open lake I had to learn to balance sitting up on the pad as we paddled a long open stretch into the wind. I was a little nervous, but eventually it all worked out, we made it across the long open water, through a small tunnel, barely big enough that I didn’t hit my head on the top, then we were on a small stream and I got to run along the shore with Spirit some more.
Eventually we turned around and made the paddle back with the wind all the way back to the van. Martin looked like he was struggling to keep us going straight and he blamed that on me! He said I was too much weight on the front of the boat, the wind kept trying to swing the back end around and we zig zagged all the way back to the van, going with the wind looked like it was more effort than going into the wind.
In the end, I think I found a new hobby that Martin and I can do together, if you would have asked me yesterday if kayaking was a good idea for me and Martin to do together, I would have said you were crazy. Now I am hoping that we get to bring the kayak with us to Louisiana so we can explore the Bayou, those pesky Alligators can’t get me if I’m sitting on top of a kayak. Kayaking with your dog, who would have thought it possible, it’s awesome!