Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Getting Outdoors on Summer Break

It's the Summer Solstice today!  It's always so funny that while the normal world is celebrating the beginning of summer, as a teacher, once this day hits I'm already mourning the end of it!

Before it's totally over I wanted to talk about what I'm doing to relax and rejuvenate. It's a super hectic summer. My next post is going to be about my new job and what my husband and I are doing all summer as teachers to prepare for the next school year.

However, this post is all about getting away from it all and literally disconnecting with tech. My daughter had mentioned earlier this year that she had never been camping other than backyard camping in the tent. She also hadn't been fishing. I decided it was time for the eight year old to experience the great outdoors over night. My hubby isn't huge on camping, yet I love it. So, I planned a girls trip with a friend. Suzy is the ultimate outdoorsy girl who backpacks and kayaks. She's a good one to have on a trip! Anything I forgot, like dinner for the second night, she was prepared for!

I picked a location, Curecanti National Recreation Area, it's about a 3 1/2 hour drive from the Springs. OutDoorsGeek called the reservoir a Kayaker's Paradise. We packed the car, loaded the boats on the car and headed out. We stopped at the visitor's center. I assumed there would be a fee for parking or camping. There is not. This National Park is completely free! We planned on parking at the marina, loading the boats and paddling straight across to the Turtle Rock campsite.  It was recommended instead to drive on further, park on a dirt road near the Lake Fork Bridge, then load the boats and paddle about two miles upstream to the Lake Form Arm campsite.

If you've never kayak camped, loading the boats from your stuff in the car, in my opinion, is by far the worst part. You have to have drybags for everything! You need to pack lightly so it all fits in the boat, yet have enough that you are warm at night, cool in the day, have enough food and water. Between the two adults, we had everything covered. I love this Buzzfeed diagram about packing your kayak. I always have extra bungees in my boat for large items such as wood for the campfire. 

The best part about kayak camping is you get to camp in backcountry areas that you wouldn't want to or might not be able to hike to.  The paddle up Lake Fork Arm was longer than we had wanted, and it was hard to spot the campsite, but it was a pretty perfect campsite once we were settled. The site has two tent pads, two fire pits, a picnic site with a bear box and one vault toilet. Primitive, but at least we weren't digging holes or hanging items in trees! 

My daughter was a trooper. The three hour drive, stop at the visitor center, loading the boats, and paddling to the site made us all super tired and ready to set up the tent and hammock and relax!

Over the three days and two nights we got to explore our little area. I enjoyed taking photos and teaching my kiddo more about camping and paddling. We would take turns paddling, mostly I was on. When we got into a rhythm we flew. Her little arms set a pretty fast pace for me to keep up with. I let her bring an old smartphone as her camera. She enjoyed her own little explorations around the site and on the rocks as we paddled. I have yet to check out her pics, though I really should. 

I kept my drybag in my lap as I shot with my Canon. When the water got choppy or I needed to muscle I rolled it up quick. Other times I just enjoyed having my LG in my phone case around my neck. Here are some of my favorite shots from the weekend.

This isn't white water kayaking. While I've done a little white water canoeing and the required Colorado rafting trips, I really enjoy peaceful floats where I can put my feet up and take breaks when the wind is behind me. 


All in all it was a super successful first girls paddle trip with my daughter!  I hope for many more paddling adventures!

Thanks for reading. Happy official first day of Summer to every one!