Friday, July 27, 2007

Kayaking on Smalltown Lake

We've recently been experiencing the many variations of heat in Smalltown, Minn. Today it's a dry heat that evaporates the saliva right off of your tongue. But this is a welcome change from the muggy, humid heat we've previously experienced. Any heat is a good excuse to play in the water and that is exactly what I did Wednesday night.

I should preface this post by saying Smalltown, Minn. is not all hillbillies and tractors. There are a lot of "progressive" (by urban people's standards) businesses and activities in some of the larger small towns. For example, one slightly more populated town has just welcomed a SPA to the Chamber of Commerce. Wal-Mart recently came to the town where I am employed, which is society's way of saying "you are on the map!" Well, also in this town, a weekly enterprise is Ladies Night kayaking on the Lake.

Last summer and this summer, my employer offered to sponsor an evening kayak outing for all of the women in my office. Last summer, and so far, this summer, I appeared to be the only one interested in taking him up on it. Unfortunately, that means it is no longer a "work" outing and is more of an individual outing at my own expense.

I could have taken that $10 and gotten a value meal at Hardees and two 20 oz. diet Pepsis from the gas station, but instead I went to the Lake at 6:45 and waited for the kayak crew to arrive.

Suse, the woman behind the Ladies Night kayaking adventure, arrived with a trailer full of kayaks, every style and color of the rainbow. I was pretty pumped, even though the one co-worker who had swore she would go with me had in fact, stood me up. Suse introduced herself to me, I filled out a form giving her permission to call a doctor in the *unlikely event of an accident, and she hooked me up with a kayak.

I had the option of a sit-on-top kayak or a sit inside kayak. I wanted to get as wet as possible, so I went with the sit-on-top. It was a Dimension Kayak, baby blue, although Suse told me I could have whatever colored kayak I wanted.

Most of the other kayak-ers who showed up that night were regulars, although there were two other rookies like myself. Suse gave us each a life jacket, an oar, and short instructional on the shore. The oars are pretty long, with spoon-like paddles on either end. Suse helped us each off the "dock" (a series of wood planks on the shore) and off we went. I should mention that kayaks are pretty heavy for one person to carry. Maybe more so for pencil-pushers like myself.

Kayaking was fantastically fun! Part of it was just being out on the water on an excruciatingly hot day. Part of it was doing something I had never done before, which can be, but isn't always, fun. For me it took a little concentration, because you are supposed to hold your oar in such a way that your elbows are "hinged." This ensures that you are putting your strength into the paddling and not into your booty and hips. It was hard to just use my arms. My legs felt so useless and I normally do activities that require leg usage - biking, roller blading, walking, etc.

I would really love to go kayaking again, and I might, next Wednesday when Suse and her trailer of many kayaks returns. It's only $10 for two hours (or until the sun goes down) of pleasure on the lake. I felt really relaxed after I was done and I would recommend it to anyone.