Close Call to Catastrophe!
When things went wrong for me as a newbie kayaker.
Hey Friend, welcome to The View From My Kayak series! It isn’t just about kayaking. It’s about having courage to make your dreams come true even when you are scared, feel weak, are unsure, doubt yourself, and are in it alone. I share how I overcame obstacles and ventured out on my first few kayak excursions. There were victories, mishaps, danger, and glorious moments as well as some great life-lessons learned along the way. In the end I climbed the mountain of doubt and gained confidence and achievement. I hope to inspire you to go after your own dreams and 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 the third of 13 articles. See the end of this article for links to additional articles in this series.
“Oh my gosh!” I gasped and my heart froze as I looked past my friend Des out the passenger window of my Jetta to see my 10-foot kayak hanging halfway off the car while driving 70 mph down the freeway.
I quickly looked to see which cars were close enough to be hit by my kayak should it fall off completely. Who would die??? I had split-second visions of collisions and disaster.
I cautiously inched to the right lane and took the closest exit. Luckily it wasn’t far.
I was a little shaken by the thought of what could have happened if the kayak had come loose on the freeway. As a newbie-independent kayaker this didn’t help my confidence at all!
I had finally built up courage to do this kayaking dream I had, and found a friend to go with me that day, but I was well aware my skill didn’t match my ambition. Apparently I didn’t attach the kayaks correctly to the top of my car. Gulp!
Des and I unstrapped the kayak and got it off the car, but the weight of the falling kayak bent the J cradle holding the kayak. We had to get the broken J cradle off so we could strap the kayak back onto my roof racks and be on our way towards an afternoon of kayaking.
We tried to pry the fitting from the screw to get the J cradle off. No way. It was not moving. I needed hands of steel to pull it apart. Or a screwdriver. Or some kind of tool. I had nothing. (Note to self: add toolbox to my list of things to bring kayaking!)
Lucky for us a truck pulled up behind us on the pullout. Two Good Samaritans (with tools!) worked on getting the bent screw loose and finally freed the J cradle from the top of my car. Yahoo! I jumped and shouted for joy and showered appreciation on our two Good Samaritans. We would actually make it to the lake that afternoon! I even asked them to pose for a pic.
They so kindly strapped the kayak on top and secured it for us (I think they weren’t entirely confident in our ability to do it!) Dear Good Samaritans, wherever you are, THANK YOU AGAIN!
Here are some lessons learned from our close-call-to-catastrophe and my new list of “what to take with you kayaking” to be better prepared:
Check and double check the gear holding your kayak to your vehicle!
People are awesome! The two gentlemen who helped us out took time on a hot afternoon to lend a hand and were determined to help us until the problem was solved. I felt so grateful.
I’m going to strap my kayak on to the racks of my car rather than using the J cradle when possible. It feels more secure. (I had special sport racks installed to my Jetta that run left to right on the front and back of car, not the factory installed side rail racks that some cars come with that run from front to back along each side.)
Even when it looks like things aren’t going to work out, there is always a solution! Keep a positive attitude and keep trying. For us this day it meant that we actually made it to the lake after persistence and (lots) of help.
I MUCH prefer having a friend with me when I have an emergency on the freeway and am at the kind mercy of Good Samaritans. Thanks for being there, Des!
My New List of “What to take with you kayaking”…
- a tool kit 🙂
- work gloves
- extra straps to tie down the kayaks if needed
- a life jacket (of course!) I prefer one that has pockets that fishermen use.
- my phone
- my waterproof phone case with strap to keep me from losing my phone in the lake
- extra water bottles (I guzzled down my entire one and only water bottle after working in the sun to free the J cradle and restrap the kayak!)
- a whistle (haven’t needed this one yet, thank goodness!)
- water shoes
- Kayak trolley to help me get my kayak from the car to the shore if I have a long distance to go.
- a secure stepping stool to reach the kayak on the top of the car
- sunglasses and possibly a hat if I can find a great one I like 🙂
This is a list in progress. I bet I’ll find more things to add as I continue this great kayaking adventure.
Once the kayak was safely strapped down Des and I headed back on the freeway towards Payson Lakes. I write about that amazing afternoon in #4 in this series showing you what you could expect to see kayaking Payson Lakes in the autumn, as well as reflections on finding places of connection and wholeness. See you at the next post!
Here’s a sneak peak. Incredible!
Have you ever had someone stop to help you in a crisis? What are some lessons you learned from a “close to catastrophe” moment? I’d love to hear from you! Tell us about it in the comments or on our Hey Friend You’ve Got This facebook page.
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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