Whether it’s a lake, river, ocean, or mere pond, I love the water. If the water is in the form of rain, not so much, but that’s a topic for another day.
Water has always been part of my life. I was born in a hospital that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest we had lots of water, everywhere, especially the kind that falls out of the sky. When I moved to Colorado, I didn’t realize there would be so many lakes. Of course, here, they are mostly reservoirs, but still, it’s water.
Dillon Reservoir, or Lake Dillon, as it is often called, is huge. Located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, it can be seen from Interstate 70 in Summit County. There are 3,322 acres of surface area here and 26.8 miles of shoreline. It’s not a swim lake, but that doesn’t mean people don’t flock to it for all kinds of on-the-water recreation, including kayaking.
Ryan and I stayed in Frisco, Colorado, earlier this month. The town is located along the southwest side of Lake Dillon. Frisco Bay Marina rents everything from pontoon boats to stand-up paddleboards (better known as SUPs). We have rented a pontoon boat from the marina in the past, something I wrote about here. This time, we were getting kayaks. Two kayaks to be exact.
I had bounced around the idea of trying a tandem, that’s what I had done in Grand Lake. While I have been canoeing many times, kayaking is still relatively new, especially captaining my own. However, when we got to Lake Dillon, just two minutes by car from the Frisco Inn on Galena, the water was like glass. I was feeling very good about being the captain of my own kayak.
After putting on life jackets and getting paddles, we were ready to go. There is a “dry” area where kayakers can put their extras, like cameras and such. These were “Old Town” kayaks and had a great place on the front where Ryan attached his GoPro. We were off.
Here are a few things I learned while kayaking Lake Dillon. Kayaks are sturdy in the water. In fact, while I am sure a kayak can capsize, the chance of that happening is quite small. It was nothing like being in a canoe; that can feel a bit unsteady, especially at first. While I sit closer to the water in a kayak as opposed to a canoe, I feel secure.
Anyone can paddle, but not everyone can paddle well. I am part of the latter group. However, I can make a kayak go forward in a more or less straight line. I tend to dig deep into the water with the right paddle and barely touch the water with the left paddle. It would take two strokes on the left to one on the right to keep the kayak straight. It’s a real struggle, but I got the hang of it.
Surprisingly, after a two-hour outing, I was not sore the next day. I thought I’d feel like I had been on a rowing machine, but this was not the case. While I did take breaks from paddling occasionally, it’s not something that tired me out like jogging or walking uphill.
Kayaking on Lake Dillon was a thoroughly enjoyable excursion. We were on the water by 9:30 a.m., paddling towards the islands I’d seen hundreds of times from the freeway. Motorized boats can’t access these islands, so Ryan, in particular, wanted to explore. That’s a fun part of kayaking from the Frisco Bay Marina. Just pull your kayak on shore, get out, and look around.
My tips would be to apply sunscreen generously and get on the water early. We returned to the marina around 11:30 a.m., and there was a bit of a boat jam. A lot of people were going out on kayaks, SUPs, and canoes.
Another benefit of getting out early is that the temperature is cooler and the water is smooth. Our paddles were the only thing causing ripples when we went out. However, on the way back, the water had gotten noticeably rougher from all the motorized boats that were now on the lake. It wasn’t crazily rough, but this is something to consider as flat water makes for an easier paddle.
And guess what? I am a huge fan of paddling my own kayak! I’m not sure I ever want to share again.
You can book the use of a kayak as early as 8 a.m. Go HERE to learn more and to make a reservation.
Thank you to Visit Frisco, Colorado for hosting our weekend stay.