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Maiden Voyage

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

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Carleen #

    I’m liking your kayak because it’s “inflatable” which would surely make it easier to store in the RV!! My “hard (rigid)?” kayak is 10’6″ and difficult to store. Hate having it always on the roof of my toad/Honda CR-V and don’t want to bungee it to my rear roof ladder, but I can’t see any other easy solution. I’m just wondering how your “S.S.Bunkhouse” would fair on white-water rapids, like the Colorado River which totally slurped-up MY rigid kayak prompting me to name it the S.S.Titanic! The WINs are scheduling a major rafting trip in Arkansas and Missouri next April-May 2013 and I’m looking forward to earning another rubber ducky (it’s what you get when you get dunked!!) Would be interested in switching to an “inflatable” IF they are stable in white-water rapids….Advice?? (Love your pics!!)

    August 18, 2012
  2. Stephen #

    based upon what Sam told me, the decked inflatable is primarily a lake/bay kayak – could handle some mellow river stretched but not anything over class 1 (?). believe though that an inflatable whitewater version exists – seem to recall Sam commenting that they are usually teaching inflatable kayaking on the river – so there must be such a craft – good luck tracking it down

    by the way – dont be dissuaded about an inflatable – some WINs said they take too long to inflate etc etc – they don’t – I was ready to go in minutes

    August 18, 2012
  3. I like your inflatable kayak – mine is a “easy one” for lakes and slow rivers, class 1 at the most. However, I don’t have that “thrill seeker” for the white water in me. 😉

    September 21, 2012
    • Stephen #

      the inflatable works out great for my purposes too – I like lots of adventures but white water isn’t necessarily one of mine either

      it tracks really well for an inflatable – purchased the so-called “back bone” that seems to help – thanks for following along and for commenting

      September 21, 2012

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