A Thanksgiving adventure – Kayaking the Willamette River
Thanksgiving is going to be different this year. This is my first year being single in half a decade, and thanks to the COVID Pandemic it’s also the first year that I can’t travel, and don’t have any friends still in town. I’m flying solo, have a ton of vacation to burn, and am feeling energetic...
Many years back, my friend Mike bought an inflatable Kayak.
A few weekends afterward, we christened it The Bogmaster 3000, after we spent a day on the Androscoggin river, up in Maine, paddling around an exploring the various estuaries and (unsurprisingly) bogs all along the shoreline. Since then, Mike and I took it out more places than I can count… and he took it out on his own for enough adventures that I still have a sense of lingering jealousy.
So I bought my own.
I mean, I hadn’t really planned on it, in my defense. But this summer I finally got to go backpacking regularly again, and saw so many beautiful alpine lakes… the thought of just floating around in the middle of them was too much to bear. Since then, I’ve kept an eye out for a small, lightweight, packable kayak that I could bring with me on backpacking trips.
Well, I finally found one.
The Klymit lifewater dinghy.
Doesn’t… doesn’t sound that badass, does it? Yeah. Not the coolest name out there, I’ll freely admit.
But you know what? It weighs in at 3 lbs. 4lbs, with the paddle. It packs down to the size of two nalgene bottles. It’s easy to inflate, and the paddle collapses down nice and small.
What more is there to want?
I posit: Nothing.
I actually got it in the mail a week or two back, but I simply hadn’t had the time, energy, or interest in taking it out onto the river yet. Thanksgiving, though, instilled in me a beautiful sense of serenity and relaxation – exactly the mindset that called for floating around on a crisp sunny day.
I could see my breath in the air, and the folks hanging out on the boat launch definitely gave me a few side-eyed looks as I inflated it, and cast off into the light mist. I had a tee-shirt on, but everything I was wearing was warm and synthetic – easily enough to keep me warm if my maiden voyage went the way of the Titanic, and something went wrong.
Nothing went wrong, thankfully – though it was cold, there were no icebergs to be seen, nor any sharp or pokey objects that could puncture my noticably unarmored hull. One downside to a lightweight inflatable Kayak / raft is that the skin has to be super-thin in order to save weight… which meant I was definitely a little bit paranoid about my first jaunt into the water.
It went pretty well, I’d say 🙂