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Yakking in a Pond

Posted 8 months ago by Heidi Y.

Posted in Arts, Crafts and Hobbies, Cooking, Garden and Home, Outdoors, Sports and Travel and Wellness: Fitness, Health and Spirituality | Tagged with Great Lakes Region - Travel, kayaking - handbooks, Lake Erie Guidebooks, Michigan Guidebooks and pond design

A few years ago, my husband, kind fellow that he is, tried to find me the perfect present. Here is the back story: my husband is terrible at gift-giving - he's the worst! He gives up before he even gets started. Cards and flowers are out of the question, because a decision must be made. He can’t do that well because in his mind, they are still presents. He used to ask our young daughter at the time 'what to get Mommy?’ at every major event throughout the year. He still texts her even now that she's married. Somehow, he came up with the idea that a kayak would make the perfect birthday present. A kayak? I was astonished. I still think he had help from someone.

I have always loved the outdoors, having traveled all over the country and across the world in my twenties and thirties. Then, I met my husband and had two wonderful children. I settled in the area, accepted a Children’s Librarian position to be close to children of all ages and stopped a lot of my traveling. But, I have always loved canoeing, kayaking, swimming, scuba diving and boating - anything having to do with the water. The Lake Erie region and Maumee River Corridor are perfect for all of these activities.

Lake Erie and Maumee Corridor Books

Ohio's Lake Erie public access guidebook : Rivers edition
The Great Lakes at ten miles an hour : one cyclist's journey along the shores of the inland seas / Thomas Shevory
In the watershed : a journey down the Maumee River / Ryan Schnurr

A kayak it was to be. I am rather tiny in stature, and this was going to be a problem too. But after much searching, falling over in boats way too massive, not to mention the improbability of me even lugging the thing (anything over 35 pounds, forget it), I made my choice. It was three stress-filled months of arguments, tears, laughter, and then simply picking one. Much like pointing your finger blindfolded onto a map and hoping your choice was going to have 4-star accommodations at a 1-star price-tag - it didn’t, but it was a gorgeous boat.

Books on Kayaking, Michigan and Ponds

The Art of Kayaking by Nigel Foster
Michigan off the beaten path : a guide to unique places / Jim DuFresne ; revised and updated by Jackie Sheckler Finch
Building natural ponds : create a clean, algae-free pond without pumps, filters, or chemicals / Robert Pavlis

We now live at a lake in Michigan during the summer months. It’s a very small lake, with an even smaller pond, round and quiet, with safe and easy access for beginner kayaking.

However, the pond is so small my brand new sky-blue kayak at 14 feet barely could be turned around with any ease! And that is where my dear, kind husband plopped it. It weighs 26 pounds, and I can manage it just fine, but he didn’t think I had it in me to try carrying it to the lake, in addition to sitting in it and paddling it.

Do you know what it is like to have a toothpick placed flat into the bottom of a cup and try to turn it around keeping it flat to the bottom? It’s not easy. My husband wouldn’t let me take it out of our “cup” for two years by myself for fear of my drowning. Remember, I am a certified scuba diver, and excellent watercraft enthusiast, including jet skier, and he knows this. I was allowed the comfort of sitting in it, attempting to steer the thing, and hoping to not get stuck in the cattails along the bank. 

I am still married, still have the kayak, and I am proud to say allowed to use our small lake now as my refuge from the chaos of the outside world. My husband still has a phobia of my imminent drowning, so I am not allowed to take the thing to any river, lake, stream and especially not Lake Erie. Every time I place my kayak rack that I bought on my car, it mysteriously gets taken down. The kayak gets put back onto its hanger in the garage, which I can’t reach (my husband placed that strategically too high for me to get to readily without a ladder). But, the ladder is another tale. I am going to sneak that boat out in the middle of the night one of these days. Kayaks, ponds and marriage. Strange bedfellows.


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