#47: Kayaking

Posted by Megan on July 1st, 2013

I have a very tumultuous relationship with boats. I live in Minnesota and I love being near, on and in lake a but I’m not particularly fond of human powered water vehicles. Paddle boats are pretty stupid, and canoes… well I’m irrationally afraid of them.  I don’t have the typical fears that it might tip over in the water, that I’ll be stranded across the lake in a thunder storm or that a lake monster will eat me the entire canoe with me included. No, I’m afraid of something far more peculiar: driving near cars that have canoes strapped to them. Like full-on panic attack scared!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Good thing Brent and Susan transported these without my participation.

Good thing Brent and Susan transported these without my participation.

When my dad retired, my siblings and I bought him a canoe. The posse traveled to a nearby city to buy it.  In addition to a standard mid-market canoe, we purchased a travel kit to help us portage the sucker home. It claimed to be fool proof.

The kit contained a few Styrofoam blocks and some rope.  Our gang of fools proudly followed the minimal directions, determined to use the McGuiver method.  Sure, the canoe moved freely when pushed from side to side, but somehow this did not raise a red flag. I was recruited to drive the minivan canoe-mobil home. I pulled out of the store parking lot onto the highway. We made it about ¼ of a mile before the canoe completely slid off the roof. Part of it was dragging on the ground as the boat clung desperately to the sliding van door. We were surrounded by traffic and there was no choice but to continue driving with the canoe desperately hanging on for dear life until we reached a turn-off.  It looked like a hate crime.

We were extremely lucky that we did not cause an accident or severely damage the boat. While it did suffer scrapes and bruises, it did not suffer life-ending injuries.

I refused to drive the rest of the way. My brother-in-law took over driving duties as I cowered in the back of the van. I held myself in the fetal position fighting to stay on the sane side of a breakdown. I can’t explain why I so intensely scared, but it was possibly the most afraid I have ever been. Ever since that moment, I have refused to drive anywhere near a car with a water vehicle strapped to it. It totally freaks me out!

With this background, I’m sure you can understand why I was hesitant to try kayaking. It’s just another boat that:

a) could kill me in a crushing car accident

b) force me to use my own physical effort to propel.

But, when Brad I visited our friends’ cabin recently, and the kayaks were out and ready to go, I decided to try it. Since transporting the boats via a vehicle was not required, I was willing to give it a shot.

kayak2 Kayak4 kayak3


Aside from the constant need to reprimand a giant black furry stalker who tried desperately to swim along with the boats, it was a great experience.

"Hey you guys, I wanna come with!"

“Hey you guys, I wanna come with!”

Brad and I spent about an hour on the lake. I felt like I was in the water, not on top of it.

Yet another example of something I have spent my whole life avoiding, only to discover that it’s actually pretty awesome.

It was a lovely way to explore the lake while also getting some exercise. I considered how nice it would be to have my own kayak to explore Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes but in the end, fear has won. While I thoroughly enjoyed kayaking, there is still absolutely no way I will buy my own and cart it around on top of my car. Trust me, this is for the benefit and safety of all mankind.

  • © 2011 Megan Steil