Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I've finally taken the maiden voyage in my new kayak. Actually, this is my third time taking it out, but the first time I felt confident enough to take my camera. Friday, my friends Teague and Kevin, and myself went to Harlow Lake to paddle around. It was really great. The scenery from that lake is surreal. It sets deep down between Sugarloaf and Hogback mountains, and seems to be completely excluded from the (quiet) hustle of Marquette. So, Saturday, while at work, I could only think about getting back out. When I got out at five, I raced home, pulled my kayak through my office window, loaded it into my truck, and was off. This time, I went to the Dead River. I put in just above a waterfall, and paddled upstream for an hour or so. Then downstream for about 10 minutes. I repeated this procedure until my arms felt like jelly. No, I did not shoot the waterfall. I kept my boat way out of its proximity, lacking confidence in my ability to stop and steer. Afterwards, I went to Stuckos with Kevin and Sarah to watch the Pistons. Again, as soon as I pulled my kayak out of the water, I couldn't wait to get back in. It was pretty nasty out on Monday, though some friends and I hiked several miles along Little Garlic Falls (though our Memorial Day cookout ended up being in my living room). So, Tuesday, when I woke up, I got on the internet and started researching some local lakes. There are so many lakes up here, besides, of course, Superior, which I have not yet dared to go out on. I settled on Teal Lake, in Negaunee, and made my first stop at Gander Mountain where I bought a few things that I felt would make Kayak-fishing a bit easier. The first thing: a fishing vest with over 15 pockets. It's pretty snazzy. Then I bought some much needed hooks and sinkers. And, yes, those silly shoes you see in the pictures? I bought them too. On my previous kayaking trips, I've had to take off my shoes to load my boat in the water and get in it. Then, I have to leave them off the whole time as I'm afraid I'll spill the boat trying to put them back on. So, yes, I got the crocs because they are practical, and they are probably the most
comfortable thing I can ever imagine putting on my feet, short of baby rabbits.
As you also may see, during my picture taking, I tried to display the selling point of this kayak. This picture is not simply a picture of my inner legs. It is the best I could do at a picture of the built-in beer holder in the seat of my kayak. It was a feature that cost an extra 70 bucks, and worth every penny of it.
So, on to the fishing part of the day. Never even had a bite. But, how can I complain? If this is how I get to spend my Tuesday afternoons, I may never have a complaint.
I paddled along the shore until I got to some large rock outcroppings, and some minor coves. Then, I fastened my oars to the side of my boat, and just drifted. Birds were hopping around the small brush along the rocky shores, small waves splashed against the side of the kayak, the sun burned my cheeks and the tops of my arms, and, I assume, the perch were sleeping on the other side of the lake. At times, I attached my pole to the oar holder on the side of my boat, and "trolled" around a bit, at other times, I just drifted and drifted. Since the wind was blowing steadily to the North, and I put in at the South, when I realized it was 6:30 and I had softball practice at seven, I had to paddle furiously for a long, long ways, against the wind, to get back to my truck. I guess I should've been paying better attention, but I suppose I've committed worse sins. When I finally got to shore, I spoke with an old-timer about some better fishing holes. He told me, "there aint no fish in Teal Lake." Either way, I can't wait to get back out.