Friday, June 5, 2009

Solo, Tandem or Group?

Fellow Paddlers from East Hampstead Kayaking Meet Up Group
Can we talk about our experience on our first group paddle last weekend? We both thought it was fun! To begin with, neither one of us was really sure if we would like being out on the water with a group, since we've been paddling by ourselves for three-plus years now.

Unless you count the few times we've been on a guided trip, like Kayaking with the Manatees in Florida or when we've taken family along -- we usually plan our own trips and go at our own pace. After all, part of the joy of paddling for us is the peace and solitude. But surprisingly, we did find it fun to meet others with the same passion and talk about their mini-adventures on the water.

I signed us up for the East Hampstead (NH) Kayaking Meet Up Group last year, but we didn't get to take part in an activity until recently. I love the whole concept of the Meet Up website. Their motto is something like, "Use the internet to get off the internet." In other words, meet people online with similar interests and then step away from the computer and go out and enjoy!

We met five other people (of mixed ages and paddling interests) at Dubes Pond in Hooksett and before too long, we had exchanged introductions and launched our boats. I was concerned about pacing, since I didn't want to have to keep paddling to keep up. Sometimes, I just like to sit and ponder the beauty around me. No problem there. I guess most people who are into quiet water kayaking feel the same way. If you rush to get somewhere, how will you enjoy what's there?

Bottom line? It was a good experience and we're looking forward to more trips with the group. In just two years, it's grown to include 440 members. Seems like there's always someone looking to get out on the water and if you don't see a trip that interests you, you can arrange one of your own. Check it out at East Hampstead Kayaking Meet Up.

As a side note, the subject of tandem kayaking came up as part of our conversation at Dubes Pond. Naturally, I had to relay the shortened version of our own experience in Florida in February. If you're contemplating buying or trying a tandem kayak, I invite you to read How We Lost Our Groove in Florida. Turns out another long-time married couple in our group had done it successfully, so there is hope. Just not for us!

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