Last year for the #happilyeverbruce honeymoon we took up kayaking for the first time. We also decided to go all out and do it right on the Pacific Ocean, (a whole different sort of experience than kayaking on a river or lake) as we explored the coast and caves of Channel Island.
This guided trip was an absolute blast! We got to see whales, dolphins, and seals or sea lions or both – this is always a debate in our house as we can never remember and those photos didn’t turn out so well – as we took the ferry from Venture, CA to the islands (and again on the way back). We learned how to tandem paddle and that we never want to tandem paddle again, it’s for the sake of any future generations existing. We explored caves and that we are good not doing that again either, at least until we get better at kayaking in general. We even had some quality hiking on the island. Basically, is you ever have the chance I highly recommend the day trip, and for my camping friends they have over night trips as well.
A year-ish later I’m at my desk thinking how much fun we had and that we should totally do a local day trip. Due to summer scheduling I knew I was going to be getting a Friday off, which tends to mean a few less people to contend with. So, I googled and booked with Wisconsin Canoe Company. They provided the boats, paddles, life jackets, maps, and a shuttle from the landing to the launch. It was a completely self-guided, go at your own pace (as long as we were back by 6pm), sort of adventure and I can hardly wait to go again next year.
Water levels on the Wisconsin River were higher then normal so there was no sandbar hopping to be had, and the many islands to typically navigate were basically non-existent (it did make reading the map and anticipating obstacles rather useless). However, we had beautiful weather and a strong current that negated any slowing down the wind at our faces may have accomplished.
A couple hours in we floated side by side as we ate lunch, slathered on another layer of sunscreen (not that it helped in the end), and got to talk to the warden patrolling the river. Other than that interaction, we basically had the river to ourselves since the group that booked along with us stopped early to start their drinking. It was peaceful, and beautiful, and oh so worth the effort.
We landed three hours after launch. We didn’t paddle excessively hard, and we spent a considerable amount of time just drifting and enjoying the scenery. Honestly, the only thing I wish I would have done was gone for a swim, even though it wasn’t excessively hot the river water was comfortable temperature for it. Something to think about next year.
Someone was really fascinated with The Flash. Saw at least four of these on our walk.
Since Governor Dodge State Park was in the vicinity, I talked hubby into taking a small detour before we headed home. I’d wanted to check out this park since our fist park pass in 2015 but the two hour drive for such a short visit never seemed worth the effort. Now, all I wanted to do was take the half mile Stephan’s Fall loop. Just a little something to stretch out the legs before we headed home for the day. We started out right, got to the unimpressive waterfall, an carried right along since a couple was there taking engagement photos. Congrats to them!!
We get to the half way point and seek the trail map for direction, because now there are several paths to choose from. We manage to misread the direction we came from and find ourselves on the 3 mile Lost Canyon Loop which outside of the initial shared trail with Stephan’s Falls does not connect to anything. As beautiful as the park was, neither of us was in the mood. At one point we walk up a grossly steep hill, and as we crest the top I spot the back of a warning sign. Sure enough, it warns hikers and cross country skiers of how steep the decline is. All I could do was flip it the bird and curse. I should have made Jonathan take a picture. Today, we both hurt. Everywhere.
Tips for next year:
Cover more or cover less. I don’t want a repeat of the awkward tan lines I currently have midway down my calves.
Spray on sunblock may be easier to apply in the kayak than the rub on stuff.
Bug repellent. Though there were no issues on the water. The launch and landing points weren’t fun.
Pack the aloe vera. Even if we don’t end up burned hydration is important.
Pack less. We did not need full hydration packs AND the platypus bottles.
Plan for lunch. The Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center is on the way in and out, might as well stop in for lunch and skip eating on the river.