Mountains Can be Deceiving

Chilliwack Lake

July is the perfect month to go kayaking in Vancouver.  Ever since my family got an inflatable boat, we have plans to go kayaking every week till dad and I need to leave Canada.

After previous horrifying experience kayaking against current and high tide at Stanley Park, we decided to kayak in lakes instead. On our way to Harrison Hot Springs, we found a sign that goes to Chilliwack Lake on the highway. We followed the signs which led to one more hour of driving off the highway.

Because of its rural location, I wasn’t getting cell phone signals. By the time we arrived at Chilliwack Lake, it was less than what we expected. The boat launch area is small and there is barely place to sit on shore. This is actually very important since only one person can kayak at a time. We ended up putting our “mat” on a very sloppy area and things kept falling off.

Onto kayaking:After pumping air into the inflatable kayak, everything is ready to go. I was the first one up. After gearing up, I hopped on the boat and off I go. From previous kayak experience, I found that it is easier if I set a “target” for myself. My target this time was to go over the “corner” on the right side and see the scenery over that hill on the right side. It didn’t seem too far away.

After some intense paddling, I found myself still in the middle of getting over that hill. More time flew by as I paddled even harder towards my goal. My mindset was I get to rest a bit after my goal is reached. Unfortunately, instead of reaching my goal, I reached my physical limit in terms of paddling. My bun hurts from sitting down for so long. Of course, all this happened because I didn’t bring a watch with me so I had no idea what time it was. I had a feeling that I spent more or less an hour before giving up on my goal and head back.

Turning back, it seems to me that I already went over the goal that I set, it was quite far away from me because I went over by far. So what made me think I wasn’t getting over that hill? It was the layers and layers of that mountain, which can deceive one’s eyes. If I had looked back at some point, I would have known.

Going back wasn’t any easier since I was more tired. I remember feeling desperate to get on shore at some point. Since I was sure I went over the time I told others that I would be back, I was trying to paddle back as soon as possible. Did I mention, those boats with engines really did not help with the current they generate and that they made me feel jealous that they didn’t have to paddle and can go much faster than me.

By the time I got to shore, my legs felt numb and it spent 2.5 hours paddling. I am sure of this because I took almost no break. It was 2.5 hours of paddling non-stop. I was happy to give up the boat to the next person by then.

Pumping air into inflatable kayak is energy consuming, but deflating it is even more hard work. Already feeling fatigue at that point, I wasn’t much of a help. The tricky thing about inflatable boat is that you have to fold it back and put it into the bag. If we don’t do a good job of deflating, it won’t fit into the bag.

Conclusion of this experience: STOP when you need to. Paddle within your limit.

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