But then I moved to the emerald waters of the Pacific Northwest, and each weekend, as I explored a different lake or river trail, I felt land-locked as I gazed at the hundreds of brightly colored sails streaming by. At the time, I was a returning student; funds were limited, and the cost of hiring a sailboat prohibitive—maybe a plastic, blow-up dinghy?
Ditching that idea—and with more than a little trepidation—I took a four-hour introductory class to kayaking on Lake Washington and, within the first thirty minutes, became a lifetime kayaker.
One of the brightest blessings of kayaking is that you can get far away from the aggravation of noise pollution, forgetting for a few hours the cacophony of screaming sirens, freeway rumbles, boom-box low-riders, and raging leaf-blowers.
Quiet calms the soul as you surrender to the rhythmic heartbeat of a well-timed paddle lapping the water’s surface. Sensory overload releases its toxic grip as birds natter lyrically. And priorities shift, as cool winds wrap around you, gently whispering, nudging you on.
Doesn’t matter whether you kayak at sun-up or sundown, there’s always some new wonder to experience. For me, almost nothing matches the sight of a mighty bald eagle swooping down within feet of your kayak to capture an unsuspecting salmon working his way back to the creek. Or the simultaneous rush of panic and awe as the black and white arc of an Orca whale surfaces, just yards away, dwarfing your kayak.