Let me introduce you to Alice, my wonderful Bay Area kayaking buddy. She wrote this guest post about our quick trip up to Lewiston Lake over Memorial Day weekend. We also paddled on Whiskeytown Lake, which you can read about here. The last time we paddled on freshwater was at Clear Lake in June 2013, so this was quite refreshing!
After dilly dallying waterside at the Berkeley Marina (Nena had just completed a heroic game of kayak water polo and we were watching the more advanced paddlers warm up), Nena and I left the Bay’s sparkling waters for the heat of mid CA. At first it didn't feel like it made sense to leave such pleasant weather behind because the Bay was so glorious, but it was cool to travel through so many climate zones- arid, agricultural, mountains and valleys. My camping book guided us just north of Whiskeytown Lake to Lewiston Lake, where we nabbed the final walk-in site at the end of the loop, hugging the southwestern side of the lake...
Last weekend Alice and I made an expedited road trip up towards Redding to dip our paddles in freshwater for a change. She'll be writing a post about our first day of paddling on Lewiston Lake, so stay tuned (Alice is a teacher and tomorrow is her last day of school!). Around 6:45am on Memorial Day we departed our lovely hill-side campsite at Lewiston Lake and headed back towards Whiskeytown Lake, stopping only for coffee/CheezIts/Ritz crackers at a gas station (surprisingly open at 7am on a holiday). Alice humored me as I cranked up the Whiskeytown (a country band that I discovered during my Friday Night Lights phase, and the real reason I wanted to go on this paddle). We launched from a little scarp adjacent to Oak Bottom Marina around 8:30am and began a relaxing morning paddle...
In September 2008, Nena and Terry met and moved into a little apartment in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Terry taught Nena how to dance like Justin Timberlake and Nena taught Terry how to recycle (ok, so both of those lessons failed). However, some of the cross-cultural exchanges stuck. For example, Terry developed an affinity for hiking and country music that grew long after the end of the Procter & Gamble internships. In May 2014, Terry visited Nena in California with one request: go on a California adventure.
Commence road trip to Morro Bay, in the first person...
Alice and I made reasonably spontaneous plans to paddle yesterday (no cancellations and only planned 2 days in advance - that's real progress). Since we were both tired of driving, we decided to meet in the middle, at San Quentin. Yes, San Quentin State Prison. There's an easy launch spot called Jailhouse Beach that's sheltered by the prison on one side and by the Richmond bridge on the other. There are only a few parking spots along the side of the road, but we had no trouble. It's 1-hour parking, but in Alice's last 3 visits she hasn't gotten a parking ticket. Shhhh!
Chiddling = Chill paddling
Sponyaking = Spontaneous kayaking
Imprompaddling = Impromptu paddling
It's my favorite kind of day on the water. Never planned more than a day in advance. Simple logistics, slow pace, and good friends (none of this organized crowd-yaking with strangers nonsense). It's the kind of paddle when your PFD is the perfect beer holder. There is no purpose, destination, or expectation, so only pleasant surprises remain.
The day after Thanksgiving I made the trek from North Berkeley to the Kayak Hotel in Oakland...
Estero: "small river," "marsh," or "estuary" in Spanish. I looked it up before agreeing to go on the trip. "Drakes" because it's the likely landing spot of Sir Francis Drake in 1579 during his circumnavigation of the world (thank you, wikipedia). We departed from the Drakes Bay Oyster Company around 10am. The Oyster Company manages a pretty extensive network of wooden racks with oyster beds throughout the Estero - when the tide reached a certain water level, we kept scraping the bottoms of our boats on wooden poles just below the surface. There's a lot of controversy surrounding the company -- oyster collection disturbs seal pups, covers eelgrass beds, and leaves some plastic waste floating around the estuary.
This is a blog about exploring the outdoors (mostly by kayak), traveling, trip planning, and coastal engineering. It currently focuses on kayaking in the Netherlands and Belgium, but previous posts cover Upstate New York, California, and much more. See the Complete List of Blog Posts for a history of the site. Looking for something specific? Search the site here.
In addition to the blog, check out the Water Nerd section, where I write about coastal engineering and hydrology.
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Click the "Read More" link at the bottom of each summary for more photos, to see an interactive map of the route, and to read about the adventure.
Maps in each blog post: Click the icons to learn more about the launch site (amenities) and destinations. Click the square in the bottom-left corner to see an aerial photo behind the route.