Winter is here. For the next six days it will be minus double digits Celsius.
The lakes were frozen days ago and this cold spell will freeze the rivers as well.
Still it was a good first kayak season for me.
I was able to average 10 times on the water per month. My last time on the lake was November 17. Life has been good and busy as usual.
I achieved my goal ... I successfully rolled the kayak ... twice!
My research enabled me to find a practice routine that works. The routine is the paddle float technique. It requires attaching the paddle float to the paddle and practicing the "hip flip". Paying special attention to not raise the head while executing the move.
So now I will concentrate on a camping trip or two over the winter. If I can do two trips I will be happy. Of course, Frontenac Provincial Park is must. Maybe Mew Lake at Algonquin Park. Mew Lake is car camping or yurt camping. Frontenac is hiking in ... no car camping unless you walk at least a mile and a half back to the car.
My winter camping at Kingsford Lake taught me well: after dark, stay put.
Of course if there is a group of you, that makes a difference. The problem is finding people with the desire, experience and equipment to camp in sub zero weather. I think I will try out the winter sleeping bag in the car first, this week. In the parking lot.
It is going to be minus 18 or thereabouts for the next week or so. A good time to check it out.
The thing about Frontenac is that both times I camped there in the winter, the park belonged to me and the coyotes and the Canada Goose. I was the only human in the 14,000 acre piece of heaven.
To be precise, at the time I had a wonderful girlfriend so I wasn't entirely alone.
The similarity between camping by yourself and kayaking is this: Risk Management & Planning.
My three night kayak camping trip to Doe Lake this past summer was the first time I had ever camped alone. It was the first time I had kayaked alone as well, because it was only the second time in my life I had kayaked. On the way home from Doe Lake I had a three hour kayaking adventure on Devils Lake.
Solo kayaking, from a safety standpoint is not ideal but it takes time to find and establish a kayak community. It takes time to get involved.
I accomplished some important skills in four months. Especially the rescues. That was the bulk of my time on the water. Even though it was solo, it was very productive as far as self rescue is concerned.
I gained experience. The most valuable lesson I learned on my kayak camping trip is this: things will go wrong. Events will occur that will demand good judgement. There will be significant challenges.
I loved every second of it.
So kayaking is on hold until the thaw. Hopefully I will establish some contacts.