Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kayaking: Our New Obsession

Chip and I both really love being outside. And we enjoy doing things together. For the longest time, we've been looking for outside activities that we could do together.

I have the gardening bug, but Chip isn't into it, and I consider that a good thing. It means I don't have to share my gardening space with anyone. We tried biking for a while, but we couldn't really agree on that either. Chip likes the challenge of trail riding, and when he rides he wants to come home muddy and bloody. I'm more of a road riding gal. I like long, peaceful rides where I can take in the landscape.

Earlier this year, we started thinking about trying out some kayaks. We have both been canoeing many times (never together) but are newbies to kayaking. Chip's stepdad has a small kayak, but he didn't have anyone to paddle with. One of Chip's co-workers is really into it, too; so we planned to meet their group for a short paddle a few weeks ago just to see if we enjoyed it. We met up in Vickburg on a Sunday afternoon to paddle on the Yazoo River. The Yazoo River runs into the mighty Mississippi River about 2 miles south of our put-in spot.

We put in at the boat ramp near the Yazoo & Mississippi River Pumping Station in downtown Vicksburg. At this point, I was getting a bit worried about our choice of paddling spots. The Yazoo is deep and wide enough for barges to run in. Since I'd never been in a kayak before, this river was definitely intimidating. So I did what any wife would do - I made Chip put-in first!

There were eight paddlers in our group. Chip, me, Chip's stepdad, Chip's co-worker, the co-worker's brother and son, and two other friends. We borrowed boats from Chip's co-worker, Brian. Once we got some instructions from the experienced paddlers, we got in and started paddling around in the Yazoo. It was actually the hottest day on record so far this year, but on the water we didn't even notice.

We paddled across the river to an "island" in Louisiana owned by Chip's co-worker. Then to a couple small lakes and to the larger Centennial Lake (link takes you to a Google map). From the smaller lakes, you could see downtown Vicksburg up on the bluff. We got some great photos from this vantage point!

Kayaking is definitely an activity we can agree on! We paddled about 3-4 miles in 2 hours. We went at a leisurely pace. We chatted and shared stories. Some people went faster, some slower. It was fantastic! We were both amazed that the wild river - complete with big fish, alligators, snakes, and spiders - was right there for us to take advantage of. As long as the gators keep their distance, I'll be fine!

I gave in and purchased two boats this week! For me, a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120. For Chip, a Wilderness Systems Pungo 140. I can't wait to get them and take them to all the local waterways - the reservoir near Jackson, Sardis and Puskas near Oxford, and maybe even the Okatoma in south Mississippi. We are so pumped!


Rachel said...

That sounds like a TON of fun. Glad you both found an activity to enjoy!

sm2 said...

Wonderful! Glad you guys enjoyed it! You gonna take them with you to Nantahala? You could do Fontana or Nantahala lake! Fun, fun, fun!

Lisa Blair said...

Yep! We are planning to pack all our camping gear in the kayaks, then paddle from Fontana marina into the Smokies for an overnight trip. We are getting really excited.

Dirt Princess said...

FUN!!! My husband is VERY competitive and it drives me nuts. We can't ride bikes because he thinks he is Lance Armstrong. We can't play tennis because he thinks he is Agassi, and we can't bowl!!! There are things we do together, we just can't do any of those! I like to play tennis just for fun, not to win Wimbledon!!! I hate riding with him because he is going 50mph!!!!

Leah Maria said...

Looks like so much fun!! Glad you and Chip have found something you both enjoy and can do together. Can't wait to see pictures of your trip to the Nantahala.

challie west said...

Chad will be so jealous that you finally bought them! Don't be shocked if he calls you for guidance on buying one.... See you soon!

Casey said...

Lisa! How fun! We are on the brink of trying it for the first time ourselves. There are lots of tours available here that we want to try out. The photos were awesome! Look forward to hearing more stories! See you in 10 days!!!!

Lisa Blair said...

Dirt Princess - too funny about your husband! It is NOT fun to be left behind on the bike trail!

Leah - we are so excited about our trip to the mountains. I'm sure I'll take tons of photos.

Allie - I am actually surprised that we followed through with buying the kayaks. After our outing with the group in Vickburg, we were hooked! Tell Chad to give us a call if he's thinking about buying. We've tried out a few different ones and we might be able to give some advice now.

Casey, y'all should totally go on a tour! I saw some of Savannah tours when I was researching places to rent kayaks in NC. It would be a fun & different thing to do on a hot summer day. I can't wait to see you guys! 9 days!!