Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back on the Water

Just before Christmas we packed up our bags to spend the holiday season with our families – a couple of days with Jeff’s family in San Jose and a couple of weeks with my family in Central Pennsylvania. Tom Cat was not happy about our travel plans and thought that he might try stowing away in my suitcase.

We debated shipping our drysuits to Pennsylvania to do some canoeing but figured that the weather would be too cold to even think of paddling and decided to take a 2 week break from paddling.

2 weeks is the longest time that I have not been on the water since the summer of 2008. Physically – it felt great and was a nice break. The weather in Pennsylvania was unbelievably mild. I was a little bummed not to have snow for sledding but enjoyed lots of time in the outdoors.

My family’s dairy farm is nestled in a valley of rolling hills surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains. It was nice to spend time with my family and enjoy the familiar sights, sounds, and tastes (not the smell) of home. I reminisced of my childhood and teenage years – milking cows, tending to the sheep and calves, and working in the fields.

Any trip off the farm though had me looking at the rivers and dreaming of paddling them again. One day, we hiked at Trough Creek State Park and eyed a couple of slots and wave trains on the creek as my brother told of his adventure kayaking it after Hurricane Irene. Another day we saw a bunch of boaters taking out at my favorite fishing hole on the Little Juniata River and I longed to have been with them. The only time that we had our hands on paddles was as we carved a few in my brother’s workshop.
We had hoped that California was having a normal weather year and the rivers would be flowing so that we could go whitewater kayaking when we returned. Unfortunately, there has been no rain (or snow) in California. It is scary how dry things are and how low the rivers are. We can’t control the weather and fortunately had packed the “Fun Truck” full of our favorite toys so we headed to the coast for some kayak surfing.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” During my 2 weeks in PA, I didn’t look at the marine forecasts, swell predictions, or buoy reports. It was strange to be away from the pulse of the ocean. When I returned to California, I realized how much the ocean has become a part of my soul. As we paddled out, I relished the familiar sights and feeling of the California Coast. As the swells rolled under my kayak, I marveled at the size of the common loon that was casually rising and falling with the swells and enjoyed the bobbing and diving of the eared grebes. I soaked in the sun’s warmth as it reflected off the water as did the pelagic cormorants perched on the rocky cliffs. But the best feeling was surfing my first waves of 2012 and being back on the water.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back, Cate. It sounds like you had a great vacation.