"Quit hanging on to the handrails... Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it everyday"

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kayaking Anyone.....

I finally did it!!  Yay!  I have only been talking about learning to kayak since before summer began.  Life it seems just kept getting in the way in June and then it was really hot around these parts in July.  I really didn't want to kayak in 90 plus degree heat, call me crazy.  But finally I got a chance to yesterday and I was able to bring my son with me to enjoy it with me down near Troy Missouri.  Guess what?  We both LOVED it!!  My son was quite adept at it.  This was my view most of the afternoon.
cuivre park 2
I was wanting to do leisurely, my son was not so interested in leisure.  He wanted to explore!  I wonder who he takes after haha?
We had a super fun time kayaking at Cuivre River State Park most of the afternoon.  I and by extension my family are participating in the 100Missouri Miles, where you are supposed to hike, bike, or paddle 100 miles in Missouri before the end of the year.  I do not live in Missouri but we are so close so I thought I'd try.  Therefore most of my local travel this summer has been throughout the beautiful state of Missouri.  I'm not super close to hitting that goal, but we've been having fun.
We decided to visit Cuivre River because it was not too far away from us and it had both the kayaking and the beach area which my son was just dying to head to.  Once I told him about the kayaking though he was pretty excited to try that.  The lake is not that big and it was a pretty calm day outside and on the cool side, like low 70's.  In my opinion perfect weather to try out kayaking.  My biggest fear was that my Sea to Summit waterproof bags would not hold up and I would kill my cell phone camera.  I am happy to admit that the bags did great, although I was not brave enough to actually immerse them, but they definately did get wet and all my gear stayed dry.  Yay!
cuivre park 4
These are the stay on top kayaks that are basically idiot proof as far as how to steer them and they don't tip over anywhere near as bad as the sit in kayaks that I had practiced on a long, long, long time ago.  I think most of the rentals offer these kayaks to use.  They are super easy to learn how to navigate.  It took me like no time to get into a rhythm and off we went.
cuivre park 3
We spent close to three hours on the lake kayaking.  It was beautiful and peaceful, just the sounds of nature and the splash of our paddles.  We were able to see places in the park that you can't see hiking and the animals seemed a lot more open and welcoming to our presence.  I had a hummingbird come right up to my face to check me out.  It startled me, but it was neat to see it close up.  Dragonflys and butterflies all landed on the kayak and on my legs while I paddled.  It was a fun way to the start of one of my new favorite outdoor recreation things to do. 
fun on the water
One of our stops to get out, stretch our legs, and explore the lake's edge.
Now I'm just trying to find a group that will take you on kayaking trips so I can join them.  I have found one near St. Louis, but that is a bit of a haul for me.  They do some fun trips though so I might have to join them for some of their activities.  They also have some basic kayak training courses that might be interesting to check out.  I'd love to learn how to kayak during the cooler months so I can do it without freezing.  One thing to note though is I was expecting my shoulders and back to be a little sore from the paddling.  I was quite surprised to find out that it wasn't my back or shoulders that bothered me the most but my forearms and wrists.  Apparently kayaking uses muscles that hardly ever get used for much else.  Ouch!!  Need to figure out some exercises to help strengthen those.
Once we finished kayaking my son was ready for some swimtime.  I was more than happy to dig my toes in the sand and read my kindle for awhile as he used up more of that extra energy.  Where on earth do kids come up with all that energy, seriously, it makes me jealous! 
The beach was not a huge beach area, but it was nice for a lakeside beach.  I'm not sure how many other beaches I am going to be able to hit before the summer ends so I was glad to enjoy this one.

cuivre state park beach
As far as the park itself goes it is quite a large park.  They had several hiking trails of differing lengths and difficulties that we did not have the chance to check out before time ran out.  I'm hoping to come back again in the fall.  The park's Visitor's Center has a small museum with some interesting information about the park and the surrounding area.  It also had a few hands on activities for the kids and a couple of different aquariums.  We enjoyed looking at the adorable baby turtles.  The beach had a changing area and a hole in the ground port-a-potty(gross....).  They also had several campsites and picnic areas.
cuivre park 1
Oh yes we did have to make a quick stop in Hannibal MO for some chocolate after our day.  It was delish!
Quick Tips
1.  There are no fees to enter the park
2. Kayaks rent for $5/hour per kayak or $20/day per person(kayak)
3.  They do have snacks to buy, but we brought our own.
4.  Make sure to bring water and snacks when kayaking. I would also suggest buying waterproof bags to hold things like an ID, snacks, and cell phone(emergency use).
5.  If you want to kayak on a semi-regular basis I would invest in an underwater, waterproof camera.  Not all of them are horribly expensive and they are super fun to use.  I own and Olympus Stylus Tough personally.
6.  There are no chairs on the beach so bring your own or a towel to sit on.
7.  No lifeguard so its swim at your own risk
8.  Bugs are an issue for all outdoor activity so I keep anti-itch cream, bug spray, and benadryl in my car.  Believe me I have had to use all before at one time or another.
9.  Don't forget the sunscreen as well. 
10.  Wear a hat if you can while kayaking it will help keep the sun off your face and with the glare of the water, as well as helping to keep your hair out of your eyes.
Enjoy your kayak adventure!
This post includes pictures that I have taken myself.  To see more of my photography please visit my smugmug photography website or my facebook page.  I hope you enjoyed reading this post.  This post is also part of photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox and Oh the Places I Have Been at The Tablescrapper .  Wanderlust Wednesday at Time Travel Plans.

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  1. What a cool challenge that the State of Missouri is offering - a great way to explore the state and stay healthy. I like to kayak as well although I always get a bit nervous kayaking in the ocean. You can just never be too sure of what's swimming underneath!

  2. By the way, I'd like to invite you to link up every Wednesday on my blog for Wanderlust Wednesdays. You're able to post until Saturday.

    1. Oh my goodness I just was totally checking out your link up this afternoon! How wild is that? I saw you from The Traveling Praters website. Thanks for the invite and I would enjoy linking up with you :).

  3. This looks like a fun excursion. I love that there's a beach (and chocolate), too. Good luck on your future kayaking adventures. I took my kids kayaking for the first time last summer. Their comment was that it was harder than doing it on a Wii.

    1. haha that's awesome! Yes it would be harder but the Wii kayaking is fun! Thanks, I hope to be able to kayak on many more adventures. You can never go wrong with chocolate anytime haha!

  4. I so love Kayaking - hubby built a big canoe that can fit in five of us. Mind you we have that stored at the moment...I love the idea of hiring one for the day, and at $20.00 per person per Kayak is a bargain.
    I haven't got an under water camera, have been thinking about getting one!!

    1. Wow five in a canoe that would be challenging I think! Underwater cameras are fun to use. My son takes it with him swimming and I get all sorts of interesting photographs. Mostly of himself making faces underwater haha.

  5. I have been kayaking quite a bit this summer - and you can't beat it in my opinion. Last night I kayaked on the St. Lawrence River in search of whales - and we saw a babyish blue whale from a distance. It's one of the few places in the world where you can see blue whales.
    I hope you get a chance to do many more trips.

    1. Oh wow! That is totally awesome! I would love to be able to see a blue whale how cool would that be??? I think you have added another thing to my Bucket List :)!

  6. What a great way to spend the day! Good luck with your challenge!

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