PADDLE BOARDING AND KAYAKING

DCIM100GOPROThis summer has been absolutely incredible. I have had outdoor adventures in Wyoming, and Montana, and California. Lots and lots of them. Well, it seems like lots to me as they are sprinkled in with the days I spend not eating breakfast until noon and binge watching Friends or True Detective. Still, I need to fill you in on yet another first I had this summer: Paddle boarding and kayaking at Lake Tahoe!

DCIM100GOPRO

I mean if you’re going to try something new, may as well go all out. And what better place could there possibly be for water sports than Lake Tahoe? It totally lived up to/passed all of my expectations.  The part that completely shocked me was how easy it was to pick up these activities. Given that I am totally void of natural athleticism, I grew up in landlocked Montana, and I have a serious lack of coordination, it was pretty surprising that I managed on both the kayak and paddle board without a major spill. Yes, I was slow and yes, I do realize both of these items, that I am so proud for balancing on, are about 3 feet wide and over 8 feet long; not exactly a balancing beam. But still, I had some wind to battle, and I must say I did a stellar, albeit slow, job!

Going into the outing, I was almost certain paddle boarding would be my favorite. I had seen tons of Instagram pictures of these effortlessly beautiful surfer looking girls casually floating around on their boards and looking like they belonged in a magazine. So naturally, with it being my first time, I assumed that’s exactly how I would look. Little did I know it would seriously put my core to work and I would sweat enough to look like I had jumped in for a little swim (minor exaggeration, but I want to dispel any model-esque ideas you may have had that were similar to mine). I did love the feeling of standing out on the water, literally like I was walking on it. Given the opportunity, I would hop right back on one of those boards every single time. The reason I think I like kayaking more, is that I could see it translating more into my Wyoming adventures. Every time I go out and fish one of our major rivers, I see kayakers making their way down and looking wicked cool. Now, I can be one of those wicked cool people! Well, not exactly, but it would be a new, fun way to enjoy the river. And being closer to the water, I didn’t feel quite a precarious, which made me basically convinced I am an expert kayaker.

Posed PaddleWe had the best time. We packed a little lunch with a few beers, plus we got to bring Camden along. It’s not often that you get a chance to eat lunch, have a beer with your brother and his dog, while sitting in the middle of Lake Tahoe. Looking back, it’s crazy to see how lucky I am. Stetson and Cam only had 2 quick dips into the lake, which I think is pretty darn impressive. Camden is very, very go with the flow, which is why Stets could toss him on this floating board he had never seen before and he took it in stride. Granted, I do think Camden would classify himself as more of a ski/fishing/hiking pup than a lake dog, but there’s no doubt he loved getting to spend the day with us. We found some rocks to suntan on (with lots of sunscreen on my part!!) and do some rock jumping from. Camden was even able to swim a bit. The only downside may have been the mach 4 winds that blasted us right in the face as we tried to make our way back to shore at the end of the day… but we were willing to overlook that.

Stets and Cam diving in.
Stets and Cam diving in.
Original dive attempt for me.  Fun fact: I did used to teach swimming lessons
Original dive attempt for me. Fun fact: I did used to teach swimming lessons
Improved attempt
Slightly improved attempt…

Now, just to top it all off, I have to mention how phenomenal the West Shore Sports was to rent from. The more I get into outdoors activities, the clearer it has become that people who love the outdoors are just plain, good people. All around friendly and helpful human beings. And that was proven once again in Tahoe. These guys were all so easy to talk to and helpful as we were getting all of our gear. They got everything strapped to the top of my already loaded Honda. They chatted with us about Wyoming. They weren’t looking to make a quick buck off of us and gave us a bit of a break with the rentals. And they laughed at all of our ‘We are NOT dating’ lines. Sometimes all of set up, and gear, and tear down that comes with outdoor activities (especially if you are renting equipment) can be too much for me. There aren’t many things that I can think of that are more annoying than getting all pumped for a new adventure only to be slowed down by pain-in-the-butt, time consuming hoops to jump through. But, there was none of that here! It may seem like a small detail, but it really mattered to me. I’m telling you, the outdoors community is just outstanding no matter where you go.

Look at that water!

After the Tough Mudder and backpacking, it was awesome to have some time to just putz around the lake and take it all in. It was a super-relaxing day, without feeling like a total bum. To be honest, I am all for lay-around-and-do-absolutely-nothing vacation days. But, if I have too many of those I start to feel pretty gross. In fact, I hate that feeling after a vacation where I am just sluggish, and trying to ‘get back into the swing of things.’ Vacations should be relaxing and a time to let your hair down, but they shouldn’t include that “vacation hangover.” So, I decided I hands-down prefer Active Vacations, where activities like paddle boarding and kayaking are included. Even if the inner lazy bum inside of me may have protested, when I heard the plan. Thankfully, now I am totally over-confident in my kayaking and paddle boarding abilities, so I will be taking any opportunity I get to get back out on the water and show-off (or just beam as I manage to not fall down, while 8 year olds do laps around me).

Thanks for reading,

Sydney