The joy of surprise is one of the things I LOVE about kayaking.
No river, lake, or seashore is ever the very same. Each time on the water is a new experience. I’ve found that if we can live with hopeful anticipation for unexpected surprises, we will feel more abundant.
Awe, Wonder, & Delight
Read about how I found joy in the unexpected surprises while kayaking Sand Hollow Reservoir on our second day. Also check out the BONUS video and FREE resource below to help you live life more abundantly.
This is post 11 of 13 in the First Kayaking Adventures Series: The View from My Kayak.
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.
If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous posts in this series, check them out! See the end of this post for a navigation guide to all posts in this series.
We found the unexpected.
On our second day to Sand Hollow I expected to see more of the same amazing red rock scenery that we saw the day before. I was eagerly anticipating a delicious rerun of the day before’s adventure. I was totally up for that.
But I was wrong.
We found the unexpected and it was a whole new experience! Everything looked brand new. Stick with me in this post and I’ll show you some surprise treasures we found along the way on Day 2 at Sand Hollow.
Great Blue Heron
On Day 1 at Sand Hollow we saw 2 big, beautiful gray birds perched high on a red rock cliff. They didn’t let us get too close before they spread their wide wings and soared away from us. We wondered what they were and wished we could get a better look at them.
When we put in our kayaks the morning of our 2nd day, I noticed the footprint of a bird – a BIG bird. Look at the size compared to my footprint! We were pretty excited! Maybe we’d see those majestic birds again that day.
About half way through our paddle we met our bird friend. We were able to get a little closer than before. I think it was a Great Blue Heron.
When we were too close for comfort it flew off to some rocks much further from us.
I pulled out my watercolors and, with my kayak nestled against the red rocks in the picture above, I painted the scene before me which included the Great Blue Heron. Can you see him in my painting
Waterfall in the Desert
When we first put in our boats on Day 2 we headed to the left of the dock and found a lovely rock garden filled with hidden waterways and coves. It was so beautiful and fun to wind our way through that red rock labyrinth.
As we continued paddling along the shore we were so surprised to find what looked like a stream emptying into the reservoir. We were delighted to find something so unexpected! We had no idea this existed! We pulled our kayaks up onto the sandy beach and hiked up the red rocks, following the stream.
It cascaded down the red rocks and rushed down to the reservoir through a green oasis in the desert. I was so curious about where this water was coming from. We followed it all the way to the top to find that it was gushing out of a big pipe opening up out of the hillside. So, it didn’t have the most romantic source, but the waterfalls tumbling down the red rocks was an amazing treat to find.
Dramatic Color Up Close
I was surprised to find that I felt a little creeped out as we rounded corners of high red rock cliffs to find the rock plunged deeply into dark, protected waters of coves. The inlets were dark in shadow and the water looked black except for the pale reflections of the opposite cliff.
I felt small and insignificant in my kayak hugged up next to the towering rock walls with black water beneath me and the chill of shade. I would have paddled right past some of these smaller inlet canyons but Des, having just spent some time in one of them said that the reflections were amazing there.
From where I was maybe 15 feet away in the sunshine, the reflections were nothing to hoot about. But I followed her into the shaded cove and just as soon as I glided into the shade the reflections against the still water exploded with color!
The most dramatic oranges and blues I’d seen yet at Sand Hollow. It was like sensory overload. I just couldn’t take all that color in fast enough! And my camera barely gives it justice in these pictures.
If I hadn’t taken the time (and a little courage) to get a little closer I would have missed it completely!
Seeing with New Eyes
After exploring everything to the left of the dock, we decided to cross the open channel back to the area we had paddled the day before. We wanted to see the back side of the red rocks again, the area where we felt like we were in a white-water river the day before when the wind blew fiercely whipping up whitecaps.
The difference between the two experiences was immense! It felt like a whole new place!
The first experience was about:
- adrenalin of hard paddling
- sound of wind loud in our ears
- eyes focused on the churning water
This time there was:
- a whole majestic shoreline that we totally missed the first time!
In our eagerness ( and a little fear!) of getting through that turbulent channel we didn’t see beyond the intensity of what was right in front of us and missed the surrounding beauty.
Here is the channel the second time around, calm and picturesque:
There were hidden coves that we didn’t even see last time, let alone explore. I’m so glad to have had a second chance!
Even the sheltered side that we spent a lot of time in the day before was different and even more beautiful without the wind. We could see through the crystal water to the looming boulders beneath us and the rocky floor of the canyons.
The life lesson I learned.
So, the lesson I went home with from Day 2 at Sand Hollow was to expect to be surprised by the unexpected. To have a feeling of excited anticipation. A wonder of what is just around the corner. To foster a feeling of hope in the routines of my life, even the things I do all the time.
I’ve learned that a place is never the same one day to the next. Each new day holds its own new possibilities. Each moment can bring new beauty, understanding, appreciation, and unexpected surprises, even in old familiar places, when I see with new eyes of hope and wonder. Each moment is a gift!
Now I want to hear from you.
When have you seen the old with new eyes and been delightfully surprised by the beauty and joy that came when you weren’t expecting it?
Hey Friend, tell your story in the comments. What you have to say is important and may be just the very thing someone needs to be inspired today. Drop a reply in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Do you want to live life more abundantly?
You’re not alone. I’ve got great news for you, my Friend. Watch the video for a virtual hug and words of encouragement from me. You’ve got this!
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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