Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kayaking the Crystal River

We had a wonderful three hour paddle down the Crystal River on vacation last week. The river was so clear that even when it was 4 or 5 feet could see every little pebble on the bottom.
The beginning of the trip was very narrow and very winding. Irv laughed until he cried as I tried to get my bearings. I would crash into branches on one side, over compensate and crash into branches on the other side. I had to duck under things and put my paddle up to keep myself from smacking into other things while Irv paddled along gracefully behind me laughing his butt off.

It was actually a bit frustrating. Granted, we only kayak once a year, and we are normally on a big straight river where you don't have to worry about crashing into things...but I am pretty good at this and I was having a hell of a time.

Then I realized what the problem was. I just wasn't paying attention to the kayaking, because I was so in awe of the water and my surroundings. Once I reminded myself that I had to paddle and pay attention to the winding river, I was fine.

The website for Crystal River Outfitters didn't say that we were going to have to portage (carry our kayaks across roads) three times during our trip. We really try to avoid that when we kayak because Irv has a very bad hip, and it is very difficult for him to get in and out of the kayak to start and finish...much less three more times....but we managed and still had a wonderful time.

This dam was the reason for the first portage.

Irv just cruisin' along.....

Can you see how clear the water is in this picture? So beautiful. Our rivers here are muddy and pretty dirty for the most part. This was such a treat!

I think the best part of the trip was when Irv went around a bend and I hung back trying to take some pictures. It's hard taking pictures on a river. You want to stop, but the current keeps you moving. Anyway, I had pulled toward the shore to take a picture when I heard a big splash! I looked across to the other side and there was a deer leaping to and fro in the tall grass along the shore. It seems that Irv had pulled his kayak over to shore when he got around the bend, and startled the deer. He never got to see it, but I sure did. It was so awesome!

I had so many dragonflies hitch a ride on my bright yellow kayak. Every time I would try to grab my camera to take a picture, they would fly away. It took a while to get this shot. Most of them were this smaller black and blue variety.

The current zoomed me past this dead stump, but I managed to paddle myself back so I could get this picture. I thought it was so awesome!

At the beginning of our trip, we let this couple pass us. I really didn't want company on my journey and I really like to go slow and look for anyway...we let them pass. Toward the end of the trip we came upon them again. It seems at one of the portages, they attempted to pull out in the wrong spot. The husband tipped and got caught in a small whirlpool near a drainage pipe. He wasn't able to flip his kayak back over needless to say because it was filled with water, so he walked it the rest of the way.

When we met up with them, there were other kayakers and they helped him pull his kayak up onto a pier and tip it to get the water out. I talked to his wife and she said it was pretty scary. She said he seemed okay, but they were going to find a doctor to have him checked out. I felt so bad for them. Irv and I both noticed that when he was walking his kayak over to the pier he seemed very frightened when the water got deep....we are thinking maybe he didn't know how to swim. The river was probably 5 feet at it's deepest, but if you can't swim....even that would be terrifying.

The people at Crystal River Outfitters were just awesome. Such great service! They even had a nice little shop where I bought a darling little t-shirt type dress. They recommended the sandwich shop next door where we had fabulous of the best I've ever had.

I even bought a couple of stickers in their shop that say, "Life Is Good"....because it sure is!


aLmYbNeNr said...

That is amazing. Great pictures!

Thanks so much for sharing with us. I have a kayak and my family and I kayak on a local lake. I'd love to do something like this!

Oklahoma Granny said...

Spectacular photos! The water is so clear. Amazing.

Cathryn said...

Amazing Kathy! I'm glad you and Irv had such a wonderful time! Those dragonflies are precious! I'm also glad that other couple was ok--it can be scary if you don't know how to swim.

Teresa Evangeline said...

What fun! I'm "green" with jealousy...:) Your photo of the dragonfly on your kayak is wonderful!

solomi558 said...

Beautiful pics,a few scary episodes , I cannot swim .
Re, me keeoing a lookout for the mouse, share my mars bar!!!! are you joking --cottonreel

Joan said...

That water certainly was clear! Looks so serene.

Bluebell said...

What a brilliant holiday, it must have been so peaceful paddling along and watching the wildlife. The water looks beautiful so clear it reminded me of the sea around the greek islands. I am glad you had such a wonderful time, you are right Life is soooo Good.
Love Jillxx

Lanyardlady said...

So pretty and relaxing! I enjoyed the trip down the river and I wasn't even there. Love that clear water.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I was relaxed just reading your post and seeing those gorgeous photos-- The water really is so clear it's nice to remember there's a place left that hasn't been polluted.

Keep having a great time and thanks for sharing your vacation with us. It's almost as good as being there.

xo jj

Sherry said...

Your phtos are wonderful, I know you and Irv had a Grand time. We canoe a lot,but i've never been kayaking.

Hope you have lots of great memories.


Nancy said...

So many pretty pictures, Kathy! I would love spending a day doing that. The water looks great and the surroundings so peaceful.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Wow you took some gorgeous pictures. What a peaceful and pretty place. And to see it while floating along--I'm jealous of your trip.

Angela said...

That really looks like a fun and relaxing day! It is so strange to see you in long sleeves because it is so hot here.

I bet it was hard to pay attention if the water was clear- I would have been looking down too!

It sounds like you really had some adventure on your vacay- lov the photos of the big ship too!

Daniel said...

This looks wonderful! What nice water to be kayaking in -- here along the Georgia coast our water either looks like cafe au lait or black tea!

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