A few months ago I posted about getting a kayak to take along on the journey – based on some strong recommendations and reviews, I purchased an Advanced Elements Expedition – an inflatable kayak.
Months have gone by and I have passed on a couple of great opportunities during the trip to take my maiden voyage in the thing – with all the great lakes around here, I wasn’t going to put off getting on the water any more
Time to get aboard the S.S. Bunkhouse 🙂
I have only been in a kayak a couple of times so decided to get in a morning lesson/paddle with local experts – Rendezvous River Sports/Jackson Hole Kayak Schoool – glad I did. Sam, my instructor is a master white water kayaker and wonderful instructor.
Since I have a so-called touring/decked kayak, we headed for Slide Lake for the morning – just up the road from the Gros Ventre Campground in fact
Slide Lake was formed in 1925 by the cataclysmic collapse of the north slope of Sheep Mountain. The slide path and debris are still clearly visible as you travel up the Gros Ventre River on the drive to the lake – it was the perfect spot for learning to paddle – Sam and I were surrounded by views of the forest, the red rock of the Gros Ventre Range and lots of wildlife.
After covering some basic concepts on dry land it was time to get into the craft – and, yes, it’s a bit unstable at first – glad I was getting the training…
Then it’s time to practice steering – pick a spot on the shore and try to paddle in a straight line – after some zigzagging at first, I settled into a rhythm – the key was to keep the strokes short and close to the kayak.
Soon enough we were simply enjoying a paddle through the “ghost forest” – the skeletal remains of the submerged forest caused by the slide; paddling beneath an eagles nest; gliding along with what appeared to be loons – very nice way to mellow out after 2 intense days on the rocks
The final skill was learning how to recover from a rollover situation – yup, purposely rolled this nomad into the cold waters of Slide Lake – needed to know I could get out of the kayak and know how to recover if necessary – chilly lesson but a needed one 🙂 no pics of this drenched kayaker!
Well, that’s all for today – just a mellow morning maiden voyage – how’s that for some alliteration
Take care – see you down the road