Thursday, September 07, 2006

Paddle to the sea?

When I was a kid, I adored the book Paddle to the Sea. I longed for the kind of adventure the little canoe had, the travels. (Though the geography completely confused me. I was pretty confused by even the most basic geography.)

I went kayaking today, just an hour or so on one of the little lakes so common in this part of the NorthWoods. While I was paddling along, looking at the trees, I thought about putting a kayak in one of the local rivers and following it down, all the way to the ocean. I could be my own little "Paddle to the Sea."

I wonder how long it would take? Or even if it could be done? Are the rivers too controlled to the sea from here? Would the powers that be allow a little kayak through the locks? Would I be crushed by some enormous barge once I got to the big river?

Then I started thinking about what I'd have to pack: a few days of food, but I'd plan to buy food along the way, as much as I could. A small tent and sleeping bag. A couple changes of clothes, including some rain gear. A tooth brush and towel. (When I was in the Peace Corps, I literally COULD travel with just a tooth brush and a towel. I've gotten way too enamored of luxury since then.)

The pile of even basic supplies grew in my head, and I wondered if you could even fit all that stuff into a kayak (or on top? I know nothing of kayak packing. Heck, I can barely get myself in without tipping over). And then, of course, there's the question of what kind of kayak I'd need? I'm guessing something more substantial than the little recreational kayaks I've been renting this summer, or I'd be in trouble when I hit the real river.

And every once in a while, fleetingly, I caught a view of a bald eagle or a green heron.

And every once in a while, for just a bit, I got into a rhythm, and the kayak moved as if effortlessly.

And I earned a very tiny blister. Yes, I'm claiming a major kayak injury at work tomorrow.

(I need to redeem myself a bit. The other day, my reading glasses broke. I went to use the office super glue to fix them and promptly glued myself to the glasses. The office super glue? Left over from a summer misadventure. Don't ask.)

1 comment:

  1. I live right on the bank of a lovely river in northern NY state. The Raquette flows into the St. Lawrence & the St. Lawrence flows into the Sea. But if I wanted to put a boat in I would have to carry it over about a dozen dams (there are 17 total on the Raquette) before I even got to the system of locks, where I would be crushed by an ore freighter.