Rollin’ on a river

I took a two-hour summer vacation yesterday, thanks to my kayaking friend Laura, and it was delightful.

Kayaking on the Fox River has been on my summer to-try list for some time now, so I was really excited when Laura invited me to give it a whirl with her.

She’s a good and patient teacher and she had us both launched in no time. Her little co-pilot Gus, looking all spiffy and impossibly cute in his tiny life jacket, joined us as well and we formed a merry trio as we set off.

As we made our way north at an amiable pace, I spotted a Great Blue Heron and spent way too much time trying to shimmy close enough to get a good shot with my cellphone.

Then we continued, chatting, paddling and enjoying the day. The Fox River flows north so that first stretch turned out to be more of a coast then anything else.

At one point, Laura mentioned the time and I got a little worried as we turned and headed back against the current and a pretty strong wind. I started paddling like some sort of crazed human windmill because I had a hard deadline and I didn’t want to be late for the two little people I needed to pick up.

I think I might have looked a little nutso.

In my haste, I nearly ran into a lovely young couple floating past us in a double inner tube with a cooler and I had to stop and chat for a minute or two (both because I didn’t want to ram them and because I was fascinated by the unlikely tableau of two casual tubers on the Fox River.)

“I’m floating to my house,” the young woman said and I think she might have the coolest commute in the city.

Once again, I have to salute the 50-year Fox River dredging project that turned a completely uninhabitable river into a such a delightful recreational asset and home to all kinds of cool river birds. There is no way anyone would have floated down the Fox River in an inner tube 50 years ago, and blue herons weren’t stopping by back then either.

These days, though, that river is a 182-mile vacation and I was happy to spend time on a pretty little chunk of it with my friend and her kayaks.

Two Lauras and a Gus just before my maiden voyage in a kayak on the Fox River. It felt like a whole vacation in the space of two sunny (and a little windy) hours.
How cute are they?
Laura and Gus were excellent teachers and I think I only accidentally rammed them once.
I wish I would have had my actual camera to capture how regal this Great Blue Heron looked. Even that flock of giant geese were impressed.
I really enjoyed our little trek.
These two, though, had the right idea. “I’m floating to my house,” she said. Such a great idea! And think of the money she saves on gas!

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