Jill and I have been saying for a while that we wanted to try kayaking. We see kayaks on the roofs of cars all the time. It seems as though everyone has one nowadays. Also, I've read a lot of blogs with trip reports regarding kayaking and it looks like so much fun. So, we woke up today and decided to give it a shot.
We rented our kayaks at the Mountain Road Trading Post in Raymond, NH which is just a mile form the Pawtuckaway State Park's main entrance. The price for renting a kayak for a half day was $25 per kayak and that included paddles and life vests. The friendly people there even helped me load them. Once they were secured in the bed of my truck, we headed to the Pawtuckaway State Park canoe launch.
Getting into the kayak was a different experience. Right off, it didn't feel too stable. As I paddled, I felt like the kayak was going to flip on me. However, I think that was just initial uneasiness and not knowing what to expect. After paddling around for just 5 minutes or so, the feeling of instability went away completely.
Jill, "threading the needle" between two islands
Near the canoe launch, a duck, standing on one leg, watched as we got acclimated to this new activity. We stuck by close to the canoe launch first and slowly ventured out. We circled around a couple small islands and caught a view of the main beach as well as Mount Pawtuckaway's South Peak. I thought I could see the fire tower on the top of the mountain, but really couldn't make it out by eye. I tried to zoom in with my camera, but still couldn't make it out in the view finder. However, after dumping the photos on my computer, it's clear it was in fact the fire tower.
Our spectator while trying to learn to kayak!
The main beach, pretty full!
Mount Pawtuckaway's South Peak, with the fire tower just below the arrow
A zoomed in photo of the fire tower on the mountain in the previous photo
The afternoon seemed to go by quickly as we were having a blast paddling around. We decided to paddle down to one last cove before heading back. As we got closer, we were able to make out a very tall bird standing on a rock. It was a Great Blue Heron. These birds are a treat to get a view of. They look very prehistoric and seem to fly away whenever I get close to them in swamps or rivers. This time, I decided to head in very, very slowly and sort of drift over to him. I was able to get within 20 feet or so and got a very nice shot of him. I figured 20 feet was close enough and didn't want to invade his space any further, so I turned at that point. As I put a small distance between us, he must have decided he had seen enough of me too. He let out a huge "crow like" sound and took off, sweeping close to the water. It certainly surprised me and made me jump.
The money shot of the day, a closeup photo of a Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Herons flying low to the lake (circled)
Back at the shore, Jill and I talked about how great of a time we had. After this wonderful outing, don't be surprised if there's a kayak purchase in our near future!