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The Therapeutic Magic of Kayaking

My love of Kayaking is growing exponentially with each trip. Here's a first-hand account of one of them!

By Dawn MurphyPublished about a month ago 3 min read
(Credit to Author - My First Trip to George L. Smith State Park!)

Kayaking is a wonderful experience, and it's something I will forever love to partake in. It's funny to imagine that once upon a time, I was terrified of this sport!

It wasn't so much thanks to the water itself; I am constantly called a "human fish" as a joke. I love to swim! But it was the unknown aspect of floating on the water on this strange device that I had sole control over. The idea that I had to somehow balance myself on this strange fake boat, while also learning how to properly turn and propel it with the giant flipper-like thing I held in my hands. The fear of the unknown still proves to be one of my biggest challenges, and for a horrifically long time, it kept me from learning about this magical, fun sport.

My first time on a kayak was long before my trips to this park. It was long before we moved to Georgia! Instead, it was way back in my childhood days when we still lived in Newington, Connecticut. We were on one of our yearly "neighborhood" vacations at a glorious campsite called Rogers Rock at Lake George. A good chunk of our neighborhood, and thus our friends, all vacationed there at around the same time each year, it was a really fun place! One of our neighbors, an army veteran we lovingly called "Balboni," brought his two kayaks with him every year, and one year my brother and I got permission to use them on the lake. It was during that time that I and my family learned I was basically a natural; he barely had to teach me anything!

Since then, any time I can use a kayak, I jump on the chance. I've gone kayaking through rivers and rapids with my family, as well as at vacation spots that let you rent them. When we moved to Georgia and learned of George L. Smith State Park, the monumental amount of activities you can do there, and the fact that they let you rent kayaks for up to 4 hours or longer... You can imagine how excited we all were. Especially me!

We went there a few times as a family. Their kayaks were the sit "ON" type, rather than the sit "IN." That was new to me, and it was strange to balance myself on something that barely floated on the water's surface, but I got the hang of it quite quickly. We've gone there many times, but halfway through our life in Georgia, we finally invested in our own set of kayaks! They were the sit "in" version as they were the cheapest to purchase, but it was an amazing and eye-opening experience to bring our own kayaks to George L. Smith State Park!

Even after life split up my family between Georgia and New York- where I now live with my mother and Grandmother until further notice- my father and I made plenty of trips to the park on weekends when he had off days. It was slow, quiet, and relaxing to coast along the reflective water's surface and simply enjoy nature's gentle sounds around us. Not to mention the wildlife we would see!

Plenty of turtles, from Sliders to Painted Turtles, were abundant. We would always see them basking on branches and fallen trees! Then there were the Osprey nests. That was always the highlight of our trips. There were three I remember we would go searching through the marshes to find, always high above us in the treetops. Once Spring came around, we were able to see a pair of them; they chose the biggest nest to start their family in! I wasn't there long enough to see their eggs hatch, but being able to kayak directly under the nest while the parents diligently watched us from above was an absolutely incredible experience!

Living up in NY now is a very different atmosphere, and not only due to my ailing grandparents that my Mother is taking care of. Still, I can connect with nature in brand-new ways here compared to Georgia. As an example, there are nearly always turkeys and deer in our backyard! Not to mention the plethora of beautiful birds and the many squirrels that visit our back deck.

I do miss kayaking, but I know I will someday be able to make it a staple of my life again once this chaotic part blows over. Life is full of surprises, after all, so I will have plenty of new things to occupy my time!


About the Creator

Dawn Murphy

Hey there!

I'm an animal and nature-loving artist who also loves to write! Here on Vocal, I write about animals, nature, and occasionally mental or physical health. Enjoy my personal experiences and lessons of life told through my weirdness~

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  • The Writer about a month ago


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