Monday, July 12, 2021

Grade Isle

Bug was off to her first over night camp and it happened to be on Lake Champlain. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity to do some camping (and save some driving time) We camped for a few days at Grande Isle State Park right on Lake Champlain. While I’m not a huge fan of fresh water padding, how could I pass up a chance to paddle on what is basically and inland sea?

The weather for our stay was less than ideal. It was basically rain ever day. There was one afternoon without rain and without plans.

I really wanted to paddle over by Bug's camp to check out the outdoors gymnastics set up, but I also knew that the pumpkin was visible for miles. I didn't want her to see me or be embarrassed that her Dad was checking up on her while she was supposed to be "one her own".

I couldn't help myself and headed off across the bay towards South Hero. My plan was to check out a island in the middle of the bay and stay far enough off shore to not be spotted. Once around the island I headed out to another island in the middle of the lake. I did think about heading over to scope out the camp, but decided to preserve my child's dignity.

It was relaxing paddle. The conditions were flat and calm. The only thing working against me was a slight breeze that required a little correction. Since I was just doing a lake paddle, I dropped the skeg to make my life easier.

It turned out that the second set of islands I was going to were farther out than I thought, or I was paddling slower than I thought. I checked my watch and realized that I was going to have haul it back to shore if I were going to make landfall when promised. Fortunately, I had two pieces of gear to help me out:

  • A GPS watch with routing capabilities
  • A state of the art carbon fiber stick
I had never actually used the fenix's navigation features on the water before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It gave me a couple of options and I tried to pick the one that would give me a straight bearing back to my starting point. I got it on the first try and it worked like a charm. All I had to do was occasionally check my wrist to get a line on where I was heading and match that with the deck compass.

I was a little concerned about the new stick having the power to really power up to a good speed. It is a Greenland shape and not the Aleutian shape I have used for years. The Aleutian shape with is defined power face could be paddled at a high angle for good forward power. It turns out that my Gearlab Kalleq can bring the power when needed. I was able to get up to speed and stay there without any trouble.

Once back at the put it, I looked for H, who was my ride back to the camp site, and didn't see her, so I took some time for some skills practice. I did some forward and backward figure eights. The backwards eight took a couple of tries as I relearned how to get the kayak to do the right thing going the wrong way. It was mostly getting the edging correct. Going forward, you can get the Aries to turn on either edge by either pushing or pulling the bow around with your legs. Going backwards, there is only one choice.....

I did some rolls to finish the day off.

I wasn't exciting, but it was relaxing. It was nice to get a chance to explore a new spot.

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