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I never imagined I would have my first kayaking experience at age 70! Living in Wisconsin means Friday night fish fries, rooting for the Green Bay Packers, and taking advantage of our beautiful Wisconsin summers. As a transplant to this state, I am still learning how to be a real Wisconsinite. Kayaking was on my Wisconsin bucket list, so you can bet I jumped at the opportunity.

How we did it

Four women ages 65-82 transported four kayaks on two small trailer hitches from cottage to lake. It took two trips. There was more involved than I realized, as the kayaks were firmly strapped to the hitch and needed to be untied and un-bungee corded. Then we carried them down by the water.You can bet I said a prayer of thanks that my knees bent enough to get into the kayak.

Being in the moment

On this after-supper excursion, we had the lake to ourselves. The next hour on the water left me feeling like a true Wisconsinite, as I slowly paddled my way among the water lilies, whose yellow petals were closing for the evening. I looked down through the clear brown water and watched for smooth rocks rising among the undulating vines and reeds. A couple of cottage-goers sat on lawn chairs by their docks, enjoying the peaceful evening.

Our hostess guided us through a narrow inlet to the next lake in the chain, where the paddling required a little more skill. I plowed right into a stand of reeds, but, hurrah for me, I was able to back out and steer back to the deeper water. We saw a turtle sunning himself on a log. Birds called, but the only other sound was the dip of my paddle.

I loved the feeling of being on the water, floating with the current and moving with the wind. The light breeze carried the rich smell of wet mud and damp vegetation. With my khaki hat pulled over my head, I was plain and unglamorous, immersed in nature, just what I wanted to be.

Then came getting out!

Getting out of the kayak proved more difficult than getting in, now that lake water slicked the bottom of the boat…but I managed. What a great feeling of accomplishment!

And no worries about the hitches

The four of us carried the kayaks back to the hitches, which had remained untouched by the side of the road, even though occasional cars and pick-ups passed by. After lifting the boats into place, we tied them up and re-stretched the bungee cords. Again, it took two trips to return the kayaks and paddlers back to the cottage. Kayaking isn’t just floating….it’s work.

Who wants to go?

I feel even more of a Wisconsinite, as I crossed another experience off my Wisconsin list. Now I am ready to rent a kayak for the Horicon Marsh Boat Tour.

Moral of the Story

It isn’t too late for you to try something on your bucket list!

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