Hey Friend, welcome! In this series I share how I overcame obstacles and ventured out on my first few kayak excursions. There were victories, mishaps, danger, glorious moments as well as some great life lessons learned along the way. In the end I climbed the mountain of doubt and uncertainty and gained confidence and achievement. I hope to inspire you to go after your own dreams with courage and creativity to make them happen. Life is too short to only wish for the life you long for. Instead, pick up that dream, dust it off, and start living it.
This is post 5 of 13 in the First Kayaking Adventures Series: The View from My Kayak.
If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous posts #1, #2 , #3, and #4, in this series you may want to check them out too!
See the end of this post for a navigation guide to all posts in this series.
I Couldn’t Resist! I Had to Get Out on the Water.
You know that twisting feeling you get in your stomach when you’re about to do something courageous (and maybe a little dumb)? That’s how I felt arriving at Utah Lake State Park to kayak alone for the first time on the Provo River as it empties into Utah Lake. The need to be on the water in my kayak was real. I couldn’t argue with it anymore. The shiny autumn afternoon insisted on being a kayak day. But no one could go with me. So here it was, me, my kayak, and the river.
And my determined courage.
Come with me on that adventure and I’ll share some life lessons I learned about never being all alone, pushing through discomfort, and conquering fear while padding on my lone kayak trip that day.
First Things First…Where to Put In?
I’d been to this location where the Provo River dumps into Utah Lake a couple times on my bike but never with kayaks. In the summer months the dock bustles with families loading boats with blue coolers and orange life-vested kids, and groups of people fishing along the shore. But on this golden fall day, it was deserted. There wasn’t anyone else around.
I stopped to scope out the best put-in place. The first one I found was down a steep narrow path to a muddy bank. Not so nice when you’re lugging a 50 pound kayak by yourself.
I walked up to the little store they have there and talked to a gentleman outside sitting in red pickup truck. He said he worked at the store and asked if he could help me. I obviously looked lost! Yes, I needed help and was so grateful for some guidance.
I asked him where the best put-in place was. He pointed out a spot a little farther up the road to a small fishing boat ramp. Perfect. He also offered me lots of good kayaking advice, suggested some great kayak apps for my phone, and other local places I could kayak. It was so fun to talk to him! Someone else who shared my love of kayaking and could give me direction about our local waters! Yay!
The best thing he did was offer encouragement and a friendly smile. I was super uncertain as this was only my second time out on my own and the first time kayaking here. People are so great!
Finally in My Kayak
Once in my kayak, I was immediately welcomed by full blown autumn color on the water. The sky was a banner of blue marbled with white and the trees lining the river blazed vibrant yellow.
Highlights from the Paddle
Perfect mirror reflections of color on the river and the way the world looked curiously upside down at times near the banks.
Several duck friends going “bottoms up” made me laugh right out loud.
The delicious silence broken only by bird call, the occasional airplane flying overhead to Provo Airport and the hushed falling of leaves as they fell onto the surface of the water.
Leaning into my Courage
There was an eerie moment when I had to pass beneath the overpass going into the park. It was dark and had lots of spiderwebs and other hanging things dripping from the top. The water was black in the shadows of the abyss.
I really didn’t want to pass through that. Especially all alone.
I started to freak myself out the more I thought about it.
But it was the only way to get to the other side.
I decidedly shoved aside my fear and quickly paddled ahead. In no time I was on the other side where sunshine and a chaos of bird prattle greeted me. The trees just to the right were full of a whole community of birds and they were making a lot of noise!
I wound my way further up the river, all the while marveling at the stillness and serenity. I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland looking at the shore because of the perfect upside down reflection.
I passed a lone fisherman and a couple in a canoe then turned back with time to explore Utah Lake.
The trip downriver was just as peaceful and beautiful.
Soon the river spilled out into Utah Lake and the scenery dramatically changed. Instead of a secluded canopy of trees, I entered the vastness of wide open water.
I’ll write about what it was like in the lake in the next post, #6 in this series.
3 Life Lessons from this Adventure
Before I end, here are three things I learned on this part of the trip:
You’re really never alone. There is help, guidance, and encouragement to be found – even if it is from a stranger. People are good and are often happy to help. My new friend in his red truck was so willing to share his knowledge and good suggestions. Sometimes we just have to ask for help and we’ll find it. I find this is true with people and with God. His help can come through other people or through increased personal courage. I received both that day. Even though it was a small thing to decide to go out on my own and to press forward even under the dark underpass, encouragement came.
When you push through discomfort in a new situation you are blessed with fantastic opportunities. I was uncomfortable at first entering that park and feeling a little out of place trying to figure out just where to put in. But I’m glad that didn’t stop me! In the end I had a glorious time. The experience I gained will make it that much easier next time.
When unhelpful fear pricks at your heart, acknowledge it and then kick it out the door. Don’t give it energy to grow into something that paralyzes you. When I came to that dark underpass beneath the road, I really didn’t like the dampness and hidden black corners. I really hesitated to pass beneath the hanging spiderwebs all alone. As silly as it was, it gave me the creeps! But I paddled on (as fast as I could!) and was able to continue moving forward. Let’s not let fear become barriers to growth and progression.
Hey Friend! The next time some adventure is prodding you for action, go for it. Don’t let fear and discomfort keep you from living the life you want. Even if the thing you dream of doing feels big, audacious, or if you have to go it alone, it will be soooo worth it to give it a try. If I could muster the courage and determination to get out kayaking on my own, you certainly can take steps towards living your big dream. You’ve got this!
How About You?
Do you have any experiences where you felt alone but help came?
Or when you’ve pushed through the discomfort of a new experience and felt so grateful you persevered?
Or when you didn’t allow fear to stop you?
If so, I’d love you to share. Please leave a comment. I love to connect with you here!
You can keep following me on my first kayaking adventures at my next post in this series where I learned some great life lessons while bottoming out in the mud at Utah Lake. Yep – I was STUCK!
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Read the rest of the articles in this series:
- Pick Up that Dream, Dust it Off, and Start Living It! My Story of Choosing to Live My Dream.
- First Solo Kayak Trip: 3 Steps to Start Living Your Dream
- Close Call to Catastrophe and What I Learned When Things Went Wrong .
- Payson Lakes in the Fall: Finding Places of Connection and Wholeness
- 3 Life Lessons I Learned Paddling Provo River Alone for the First Time
- Paddling Utah Lake: Getting Un-Stuck in Life
- Kayaking the Great Salt Lake: Paddling through a Sea of Clouds
- I Blame Them for this Crazy Obsession
- Chasing the Sun to Sand Hollow Day 1: Why Sand Hollow is One of the Best Kayak Destinations in Utah
- Getting Past Panic at Sand Hollow Reservoir
- Chasing the Sun to Sand Hollow Day 2: The Joy of Being Surprised by the Unexpected
- The One Thing That Makes it Possible to PursueYour Dreams
- Life Seasons: Six Things You Can Do Right Now When Your Dream Feels Out of Reach