Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Baby Steps - Kayaking with a 2 yr. old

We welcome back, guest blogger, kayaker and Mom, Lori Neufeld!

Mom, Lori and Finley checking out Cook's Creek photo: Dan Neufeld aka. Dad
Kayaking with my 2 year old has forced me to change my way of thinking.  Around here, high flows are crucial for good river runs and 60 000 cfs need to be pumping through Sturgeon Falls for great surfing.  But those levels aren't exactly toddler friendly.  So Dan and I searched high and low for the perfect paddling destination for Finley and we ended up finding it in a friend's backyard.  Cook's Creek is hard to spot on a map, but its shallow waters and slow moving current were ideal for introducing  Finley to kayaking outside.  Dan and I weren't sure how Finn would react to seal launching into the murky waters, but we were pleasantly surprised!

Dad, Dan and Finley photo: Lori Neufeld aka. Mom
We spent all morning paddling/drifting downstream and towing Finley back up.  A small restriction in the river provided enough current for Finn to get a taste of moving water and she asked to do it again over and over.  (see the video clip below)  I couldn't have asked for a better day with my family!  We've spent a number of days on the water with Finley since then.  One step at a time Finley's learning all the small, yet important elements of kayaking that I tend to take for granted.  She loves to rock the boat back and forth, practice low braces and get pushed from one person to another.  She watches us carefully and tries to mimic what we're doing.  Her Fun 1 and Werner Amigo are still a little big for her, but she's very stable in the boat and can easily reach over the sides to dip her blade in or stare at her reflection.

Father-daughter bonding on the "river" - love it!  photo: Lori Neufeld aka. Mom

As a working mom, I feel blessed every time I get out on the water.  But there's something extra special about going paddling with my family.  I will always be drawn to warm, sunny days at Sturgeon Falls surfing the big waves, but I look forward to spending more time on smaller rivers with mellow flows, watching Finley take her first strokes.

Cooks Creek Paddle from Dan Neufeld on Vimeo.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin