I spent a two-day weekend in Grand County last month. We camped on the first night. I should write about it. We used to camp all the time. Heck, we were practically professionals but our dog got old and we got a little soft.
Funny, I remembered how to camp right away, but I had forgotten how much dirt gets under the fingernails.
On the second night, I went to stay at Grand Lake Lodge because beds are nice and it is their 100th birthday.
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On the morning of the third day, I got to the lake early for a kayak outing with Mountain Paddlers. My partner in the two-person kayak was Sherry Spitsnaugle, a fellow Colorado-based writer.
It’s worth rolling out of bed early while staying at Grand Lake. For one thing, the sunrise at a lake is a magical experience. Plus, the water in most big lakes is rough, but not in the morning. In the morning they are like glass, and Grand Lake is no exception. I took my favorite Grand Lake photo here in the morning.
I’ve been on the lake a handful of times, even under my own power in a canoe. Well, sort of under my own power, if I am honest, Ryan did most of the paddling.
Renting a kayak from Mountain Paddlers is seamless. The building is located next to the swim beach and their kayaks are on the beach. Just sign a few waivers and the friendly workers will help you and the kayak into the water. It’s that simple.
I’ve been in canoes many times and I have been in an ocean kayak, but I’ve never been in a lake kayak. It truly feels as though one is sitting in the water, like literally. I sat in the back and Sherry sat in the front. There were seats and foot adjustments and of course, I’m short so my footrest had to be brought forward (this was done before we left shore).
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The one big difference between a tandem kayak and a canoe is that a two-person kayak is very stable. It felt like I would have to try hard to tip it and would probably end up falling in the water without actually tipping the kayak. I’ve read a little about it and tandem kayaking is recommended for starting kids out on the water. It is that stable. I started in a tippy canoe, so I’ll have that chat with my parents later.
Word to the wise. Paddling means you’ll get wet. It is highly likely that pros paddle in such a way that keeps them dry, but if you are like me, you’ll get a little wet. Plan accordingly. Thankfully, it’s Colorado and I dried within minutes of getting out of the kayak.
If you are heading out in a two-person kayak remember to paddle together. This will, hopefully, result in your kayak going straight. Here is a great little instruction article on paddling a tandem kayak.
When Sherry and I first headed out, the shore and lake were practically empty. An hour later, when we were finishing up, the water was a bit choppier and people were strolling the lakefront. Several power boats zoomed by, one already pulling a water skier.
If you want to paddle Grand Lake, I recommend getting out early. This is a popular lake during normal times and this is not a normal summer. Lakes are good places to social distance and it feels like that word is out.
I have it on good authority that coming during the week will cut down the human population in Grand Lake by a lot. If you can make it here during the week, by all means, do so.
Kayaking is a peaceful water sport and easy. Twelve foot, solo kayaks are $26 per hour, and 15 foot, tandem kayaks are $52 per hour. The latter can fit up to two adults and two small children or 450 lbs.
While out on the lake, time stands still. The view of Mt. Baldy rises up in the east and restored boathouses dot the southern shore. The town of Grand Lake appears much as it always has, as a little refuge from city life. And the best part? Miyauchi’s Snack Bar, across from Mountain Paddlers, opens at 10:30 a.m. so you can punctuate your paddle trip with an ice cream cone.
Thank you to Mountain Paddlers for the kayak outing.