Over the holiday weekend, my sister and I drove up to Northern Minnesota to meet up with some friends for a kayaking trip. First, my sister and I stopped by the liquor store for some booze to keep happy on the river. Than we met up with my sister's best friend and others at her townhouse to talk over the plans for the trip. The initial plan was to leave 10 in the morning but we ended up leaving about noon. That's what you get for last minute plans! Ha!
So, than two of our friends decided to join us on the drive there so it felt like a girls' mini road trip for us. We had junk food and music blasting! Unfortunately they were a little car sick but they were such good sports, they made it through the trip. The drive from the cities was about an hour and ten minutes. It ended up to be more like two hours due to the summer construction on the main highway and plus, no service for the GPS, and yes, we got lost.
I've canoe before, but never kayaked, so I thought this was a piece of cake! Boy, was I wrong!
Once we arrived, we stopped by the park's visitor station to pay for a National Park permit to enter. The weather was a perfect 80+ degrees out and everyone was out to enjoy it with us. We were about a half hour late compare to the rest of the crew who left after us and arrived before us. They had already eaten. We quickly made our sandwiches and drank some beer to loosen our frustration. The crew and I decided to take the 7 mile trip, which will take about 2-3 hours, from Taylor Falls, MN to Osceola, WI. We were all in single kayaks which means if I fall, that'll be my fault! And I hate knowing that.
I love the outdoors but I hate the summer insects that comes with it. My assigned kayak looked as though it's been sitting for months. I had to use my paddle stick to sweep away the cobwebs from the seat. As I sat at the shore, I waited to see if they'll give instructions to run through basic training. No. Not the case. My crew had already left off shore so I forcefully pushed my kayak onto the river. I paddled like I knew what I was doing until I realized that I was going in circles and crashing into my crew. Luckily, I had them there to guide me with my paddling. I rushed myself when I was suppose to take my time paddling and simply, relax. This was a day of relaxation and I had to remind myself I did just that. I sat back, paid attention to my surroundings, and I took it all in. WOW! The view was spectacular! The river was calm. The sun was hot on my shoulders. It was perfect.
Halfway through the river, my palms started to blister from gripping on the paddle handle. I have water on my glasses and I could barely see through them. I had to wrap my t-shirt around the plastic paddle handle to row. It eased my blister palms a bit better. I noticed that a lot of my crew slowed down, except my sister. She was ahead of the gang. As many of us struggled, she was in her own little world, pondering. As soon as we knew it, our 7 mile trip came to an end. We started about 2:30 pm in the afternoon and ended about 6 pm. Enough time to catch the shuttle back to our car.
As I rowed onto shore, I felt imbalanced. I called out to my sister to help me out. She was busy helping her other friend out so I try to brave it and do it on my own. Unfortunately, it was a total fail. I flipped over on less than a foot of water with my cell phone, opened beer and a bag of more beer of my other hand, and I drowned myself and sadly my cell phone. I was drenched. A nice couple helped me out. I wasn't embarrassed, they more likely thought I was drunk. (Haha!) The most ridiculous part was that (let me repeat) less than a foot of water.
I would more then likely kayak again, aside from my ridiculous tip over, to which I will not bring my phone, unless I have a waterproof cover. It also worked my upper body, so it's a win-win. This is one reason why I love Minnesota, I get both worlds of the city life as well as a nice peaceful getaway to a serene atmosphere.
P.S. I forgot to mention that while my sister and I were heading back home that evening, we saw a medium size bear crossing the road. At first my sister said, "Oh, look, it's a cow crossing the road." I heavily squinted due to the distance and without hesitation, "That's not a cow, that's a bear!" As we got closer, it was confirmed a bear. The end.
Check out the links below for more information on where I went over the weekend: