Back in October 2016, after two years living in the Netherlands and Belgium, I made my first trip back to the US. My first stop was San Francisco, to visit friends and colleagues and my favorite sites around SF Bay and the open coast. Some of my favorite California kayaking buddies and I spent an afternoon on the water in Sausalito. Two years have passed since this trip, so this post will be more photos than words...
In October we're going to Vancouver! Henk, Sara, and I are headed there to do some sea kayaking around Bowen Island and in Deep Cove. We established our own prerequisite of getting up-to-snuff with kayak rescues before we arrive, since the water temperature will be in the low 50s (F, ~10C) and the weather unpredictable. Sara and I practiced some rescues when we paddled in WA, but it's been a couple years, so she's signed up for a rescue class in North Carolina. Since Henk is still pretty new to kayaking, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to get him a free lesson by brushing up on my teaching skillz.
Step 1: Watch a bunch of YouTube videos about kayak rescues. We spent an afternoon watching wet exists, T-rescues, bow rescues, hip snaps, sweep rolls, C-to-C rolls, and more from the comfort of my mosquito-netted bed (those bugs are everywhere in Belgium!). I attempted to demo a roll using the little rocking chair in the living room. Funnier than effective.
Step 2: Find someone who will rent us sea kayaks. (Read on!)
For 4th of July Alice and I first decided to visit her favorite spot in Marin: Tennessee Valley. The hike takes you 1.8 miles from a parking lot through the lush valley to an open coast beach. Tennessee Cove lies between Muir Beach and Rodeo Beach - both of which we visited last year on a coastal paddle. Dark sand covers the narrow, steep beach at the end of the trail. Alice dodged crashing waves to run around a point and explore another narrow beach on the other side. Ten minutes later I began to wonder whether it was time to send out a rescue team, but she soon sprinted back around the point...
A couple weeks ago a patchwork group of us spent a night camping out on Tomales Bay. Last year's trip was super fun and we wanted to recreate it. This year we started on the west side of the Bay, near Inverness, and paddled north until we found a beach that was sufficiently wide for camping. For the rest, I'm going to be lame and refer you to Rob's blog post (click the Journal tab), which awesomely and succinctly describes this year's fun. He also has all my photos, so go look there! :) Click Read More for a map and trip stats...
The perfect kayaking trip should start something like this: a cool foggy morning, bundled in your favorite sweatshirt, with 30 minutes of meditative/caffeinated (do those cancel each other out?) beach sitting: bare toes hidden inside the boat for warmth.
A Sober Day on Whiskeytown 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...
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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