Waiting for Daylight : A Kayaking Adventure

This year we purchased kayaks as we fell in love kayaking at our friend’s place in southern Indiana last year.  We knew we had to have our own.  After much research, consideration, and time we decided upon two inflatable kayaks, the Intex Excursion Pro.

Although we were skeptical at first I must say they are quite durable. Including having three dogs in and out of them multiple times.  But this post is not a review but rather a story about a day out on the lake recently with an unexpected surprise.  Several lessons learned on this occassion.

About a week ago we headed down to Lake Monroe, a 10,000 acre lake about 45 minutes south of where we live.  This is the third time we went out on this lake.  After looking at the map we selected a new spot to load in at.

This particular day was a hot one and we got a later start then we wanted.    Right away we regretted putting in where we did and when we did.  First it was pretty shallow throughout much of this area, which lead to very warm water.  No good way to cool off in the hot afternoon sun.

It quickly became an afternoon of shade hopping as we termed it.  wp-15947549848703866800111343458441.jpg

As it was mid-afternoon you can see shade was a commodity.  We stayed here awhile catching a cat nap to cool off.  As the day went we stayed near the western coast as the shade continued to grow along the coast with the sun passing overhead.  The shady areas made a huge difference.

wp-15947549846398671104862466895285.jpg

Plus Josie loved exploring the shore line and taking a break from kayaking.  Not that she really had much to do.  We really need to train her on how to use a paddle.  🙂

With the sun starting to move behind the trees we settled into having a good time, enjoying the peace and solitude.  The area we paddled through is a bird santuary.  Plenty of Herons and other birds along the way looking out for the buffet of fish that jumped from the lake.  I only had my cell phone, so no pictures of the birds.  Maybe next time.

wp-15947549844675850273298654259113.jpg

Just the three of us out on the water!

wp-15947549847226481107547551793666.jpg

It was time to head back.  The trip back was very pleasant.  More shade, cooler temperatures and we found ourselves in a good rhythm.

wp-15947549840989094165090727909135.jpg

wp-15947549842345252163854827737507.jpg

As we neared the end of our trip we found ourselves in extremely shallow water more than once.  So shallow in fact Shane pulled us through some of it.  I later found out he had a hard time getting back in his boat as his foot sank down into the mud beneath the water.  From there on we worked hard to get out of the shallow areas we kept encountering from inside our kayaks.

At this point I should tell you we were losing daylight, quickly.  After several attempts to get back through this shallow area we finally had to call it and find shore.  Most of our light was gone and we simply could not find the deeper channel through (not much deeper but enough to make a difference).

Lucky for us we made it to shore as last light descended beyond the trees.  It was at this moment reality set in.  We were here for the night.  We could not take the chance of getting stuck in the extremely shallow parts of the lake.  Spending the night in our kayaks on the water did not sound fun.  We chose the shore.

However, I must tell you we were completely and utterly ill-equiped to be spending the night here.

  1.  We had 1 pair of footwear between us.  Someone (not me) decided to leave their sandals back at the car.  We had 1 pair of Teva hiking sandals between the 2 of us.
  2.  No camping gear whatsoever.  This was an unexpected camping excursion.
  3. No bug spray.  All of the other trips I brought it but not this time.
  4. Could not find our lighter.  Seriously, we were completely unprepared.
  5. I had one pair of dry shorts and thin tank top.  Otherwise our swimwear and kayaks were wet.
  6. No flashlights.

On the plus side:

  1.  We were treated to a beautiful full moon.  It was big and a bright orange at moonrise.
  2. We found our lighter!  A saving grace.
  3. My phone had 50% battery left and became our flashlight as there was no signal.
  4. Made a fire to dry our clothes and help keep the bugs somewhat down.
  5. Water supply was fine.  Good thing after spending a hot day out on the water we were both thristy.
  6. There were snacks available.  Hardly a meal but enough to make do with.
  7. Remote and peaceful.

We  attempted to sleep in the kayaks.  They are actually quite comfortable.  Except in this case the bugs buzzed our ears every minute or so and the kayaks were wet.  Gave up on that after a while.  That’s when we found the lighter.  Yay!  This simple thing transformed our morale.

At this point we are quite literally waiting for daylight to see our way out of here.  Shane made a fire and I made a makeshift bed out of 3 random ponchos I found in our backpack, along with the seats from our kayaks and our life jackets.  Comfort is not the word I would use.  But it’s what we had.

In the end it didn’t matter because sleep was out for us.  The bugs simply would not allow it.  I guess nature wanted to teach us a lesson or make us enjoy this beautiful remote place.

Josie managed to make herself a bed in the leaves and she actually slept for a bit.  Although if she could talk, she would have said “why the hell are we staying here.  Let’s go back to the car dumbasses.”.

wp-15947549843887458685707495059446.jpg

Feeling so tired and just ready to sleep we kept saying is that light? Is it almost time for the sun to rise?  I watched the minutes tick by on my phone until we would have enough light to see the path back through the water.  Finally signs of light emerged and we could almost feel our bed.

wp-15947549845578823239172665371604.jpg

I must also say at this point we began to question ourselves and if we were in fact at the point of the lake we thought we were.  Note to self, go with your gut and don’t question yourself.  It will only add to your anxiety.

More light began to emerge through the clouds.  As I walked out to the water’s edge I noticed a storm cloud to the north of us.  Shortly after lighting and thunder started.  Finally we get light and now a storm, really!

We prepped our kayaks for launch and waited to see what would happen with the weather.  Another problem presented itself, one chamber of my kayak lost some air over night, it was lower than the otherside but still inflated.  (They can do that when there’s a difference in temperature).  The one time I did not bring the air pump, yep we failed on so many counts.

wp-1594754984787900600110668925126.jpg

Lucky for us the storm passed north of us and we decided to take our chances with my kayak.  After loading all of the heavy stuff onto Shane’s kayak we pushed off shore.  With plenty of light we assessed our situation and knew where we needed to go.  We were where we thought we were.   There was no need to question ourselves.

There is a narrow slightly deeper channel of water in the middle that connects to the channel to take you back to the boatramp.  This channel is at a diagonal.  The day before we were unable to see that in the darkness.  After some navigating we found our way through and back to the final leg.

wp-15947549843189081012370011540308.jpg

I will say the early morning paddle was peaceful, beautiful, and cooler than the day before.  If it wasn’t for being so tired I might have enjoyed it more.  After about 10-15 minutes we made it back to the boat ramp and loaded up our gear.  Tired and hungry we headed north toward our place.

Within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow I was out like a light.  Slept all day and woke up feeling refreshed and grateful things worked out with only a bruised ego and no injuries.

Lessons Learned:

  1.  Allow plenty of time to return to shore before the sun sets.
  2.  Bring bug spray ALWAYS!  Always, always, always.  That one thing would have allowed us sleep.
  3.  Pack a sheet, blanket, something just in case.
  4.  Put together a just in case emergency kit of important items and put that in the water proof bag.
  5.  Always bring a pair of footwear.  ALWAYS!
  6.  With plenty of storage space on these particular kayaks, bring the damn airpump.  Just do it!

Positive Things to Come of This:

  1.  I cannot think of another person on earth I would rather be stuck with overnight in a remote part, than Shane.  We made the best of a not so great situation.  Grateful for my life partner.  He promised a life of excitment and adventure but I think I’m good with a little less excitment for a while.
  2. Treated to a beautiful full moon over a pristine and quiet lake.  Just the day before I commented it would be nice to see the full moon over the lake.  I did not expect to get my wish.
  3. Things could have went badly. We were lucky and I’m happy about that.
  4. The remoteness was very nice but I would have enjoyed it more had it been a planned camping trip.
  5. Despite this happening I look forward to going kayaking again.  More equiped this time of course!

At the time it wasn’t much fun but now looking back what a great story and a memory I will never forget.  Ever!