Monday, June 11, 2012

Kayaking on Crystal River

Good morning!

Even though it was dreary and rainy on Saturday morning, a little after 10:00 am the sun came right out! Eric and I were stoked and couldn’t wait to get out and do some kayaking, but first we headed out to the TART Trail to get a quick run in. It was short – we probably only did about two miles total – but it was far enough for me and it felt good to get moving. We did an out and back on the trail and ran my pace on the way out (aka slow) and his pace on the way back. However, his jog pace is like a sprint pace for me and I could only do it for short distances at a time with walk breaks in between. Not exactly ideal when I have hopes of someday crossing the finish line of a race with him, so speed is something I really need to work on.

After our run we came home and got showered up before enjoying lunch outside on the deck with my mother.

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I threw together a couple corn meal crust pizzas and salad. Yum! One of my favorite things about summer is eating outside. Lately we have been eating dinner out on the back deck almost every single night and I love it.


Once lunch was done it was time for the highlight of our day – kayaking!

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It’s been over six years since I’ve been kayaking and I wasn’t sure of the best place to go, but after a little Googling I came across Crystal River Outfitters in Glen Arbor and it looked like a great place to rent from.

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The girl who assisted us was very friendly and explained the route well and what our trip would entail. The prices at Crystal River Outfitters seemed reasonable as well, but as I said it’s been a while since I’ve kayaked so I suppose I don’t really have much to compare it to.

Shortly after paying for our kayak rentals we loaded up into a van with two other groups that dropped us off a couple of miles down the road at the launch site. I was excited to get started!

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(We were required to have a life jacket in the kayak with us, but we didn’t have to wear it.)

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The guys quickly unloaded our kayaks, handed us our paddles, and then we were off!

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The river was beautiful and scenic, but was very shallow and quite narrow in some parts.

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In fact, there were many spots where trees or large branches hung over the river and it was quite difficult to steer around them.

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(or maybe that’s just me…?)

I think Eric got a quite a kick out of watching me run into numerous obstacles along the river. I definitely got my share of turn practice in – that’s for sure!

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We took turns leading the way and passing the camera back and forth.

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Speaking of cameras, I recently purchased a Kodak Easy Share waterproof digital camera and I like it a lot. This was my first time testing it out and it worked great, other than the fact that there was apparently a spot on my lens for most of the day that I didn’t notice. It made a weird glowing effect in some of the pictures but I think they still look okay.

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There were two mandatory portages and one optional portage along the river that we had to go through. The optional one had tunnels that you could go through under the road and even though I was a bit nervous at first, we decided to go for it.

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They were really easy and so fun! I was glad we went through them instead of carrying our kayaks over the road. That’s another thing I like about Eric – he’s an adventurer and likes to take risks, which is something I need to do more often!

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We sped along down the river at a decent pace while still managing to relax and chat the whole way. We were told it would take us between two and three hours to cover the seven mile route and we ended up finishing in less than two. Not only were we the first ones done out of our group, but we passed a lot of other groups as well. However, I’m not sure that’s necessarily something to brag about since most of the people we passed weren’t exactly trying to go fast. Most of the people on the river were leisurely floating along and enjoying the scenery. Not that there’s anything wrong with that of course, but we didn’t feel like going quite that slow Winking smile.

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We really enjoyed the trip and plan on kayaking again this summer, but I don’t think we’ll be going back to Crystal River. It was a great place to start and perfect for beginners or for those who just want to slowly float along, but we couldn’t stand how narrow and shallow the river was and want something with less obstacles and where we can go a little faster. There’s a lot of different rivers and places to rent from up here, and I already have another option in mind for our next trip. I’m already looking forward to it!

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Eric was starving by the time we were done, so I immediately suggested a stop at Moomer's Ice Cream.

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Moomer’s was voted best ice cream in America and was featured on ABC Today in May of 2008 – they’ve got some good ice cream!

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Perfect end to the day Smile.


Hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend!

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