In my last blog, I recently visited a Wisconsin State Park that stirred thoughts, seemingly never so concrete. The setting of that Park, still fresh in my memory, portrayed an ancient settlement with residents accustomed to harmonizing with mother nature. I, myself, not being a hunter and a subpar fisherman, imagine those basic survival tasks almost an impossible effort. However, today, in the most unlikely setting, I sat in my kayak and pictured a life centuries before the settlement of the white man.
No, I wasn’t in Boundary Waters, the legendary paddling destination that is miles from civilization. I wish I had the guts to go that one alone. I started my voyage with the aide of a Kayak Launch in a city park known as Green Isle Park. I can sense your attempt to stymie a chuckle. Really, once your paddling the murky water, surrounded by budding branches stretching over the East River, the solitude and a sense of wilderness abounds.
OK, if you head upstream, your going to find yourself under the HWY-172 bridge. However, subtract the highway noise, that seems to diminish quite quickly after passing the bridge, and there’s woodlands, jumping fish, basking turtles, floating geese, deer picking through the woods and more.
I begin my voyage with an annoyance. Young men are sprawled over the launch, reclined over the rollers with fishing poles in hand. I want to say something harsh. As I am thinking of voicing my disgust, one allows room for my kayak. I’m still annoyed but I launch into the river water.
Leaving them behind, the setting grips me and dissolves my ill feelings. I’m paddling up stream, as there is less man made elements, at least after you pass the bridge. The current is slight and it takes little effort to paddle at a decent pace. Some of the trees are budding, yet many are bare, allowing me to peer into the woodlands.
Up ahead, near a log, I see a sizeable fish frolicking at the surface. I’m wondering if he’s fighting a fisherman. Yet, when I reach the spot I see no one. Also, on that same log, as I pull up right to it, a brave turtle basks in the sun.
I approach the bridge, and although it takes from my plight to be one with nature, I do love the thunderous drone of cars passing overhead. I paddle for a while, my instincts tell me to go just a bit further, so I do. As I reach a bend, I discover two dear grazing the forest floor. My pictures really aren’t that great, it took me a while to pull the camera app up on my phone.
The sense of peace, on this small leg of the river, is overwhelming. I see bikers using the east river trail, zooming by. Birds chirp and the water softly laps my canoe, as I paddle lazily towards nowhere special. At moments I stop paddling and just take it all in, it’s kind of cool.
I turn around and return. As I pull my kayak from the launch I accidentally knock two fishing poles over with my craft. The young men scurry to retrieve them. I know, I know, love thy neighbor, right.
Its a one of a kind experience, Kayaking a lazy river. The natural elements bring a peaceful vibe. I find myself thinking, living off the land might not be that bad. I don’t intend to do it. Those days are mostly gone for the majority of the world, yet there’s a harmony I can feel sitting on a river gazing at a deer.
I do suggest, if you have a peaceful body of water around, to set out on those waters and enjoy the serenity. I think you’d be glad you did.