A year ago last November I decided to buy my first kayak. Up until that time I had been borrowing a friend's kayak but I was now ready for my own. I went to the local outfitters because of the special sale they had. After my purchase, I boasted to my wife with the salesman as witness that I would kayak in every month of the next year.
You have to understand Michigan winters. They can be brutal. Why make such a stupid promise.
During the month of November, I went to the local river. I kayaked and enjoyed the stillness and the swans that were still there. It was exhilarating!
During the month of December, I managed to get out and although the water was ice cold and some ice had formed on the edge of the river, I went without incident and once again thoroughly enjoyed myself.
January came and with it more freezing weather. My wife thought I was crazy to try it again, but I had made a promise.
When I got to the river, the ice was about eight feet from shore with ice floes in various places on the river. It was fun to slide down the bank with my kayak and get enough speed to go the eight feet into the river. In paddling, I was a little apprehensive that perhaps some ice floe would tip me over. My wife decided to walk the trail next to the river to make sure I was ok and I welcomed her presence. I paddled upstream for about half a mile and when I encountered quick water turned around and went back. Fortunately, my wife was there to greet me. I paddled up to the bank but could not get close enough to get out of the kayak. The ice was too thick to break and every time I paddled I would hit it and stop.
I tried three times to get close enough to shore and each time my kayak would slide up the ice and backwards down to the water. Finally on the third try I got close enough to extend my paddle to my wife and she pulled me in.
In February the elements won. I went to the river and found it was frozen from one bank to the other...
Sometimes it's not good to make rash promises.
Written by: Jack Hagedorn - Rockford, MI
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