It had been three years since I last put my aging body in a kayak.
I have had two hip replacements plus a few other issues that add to the occasional annoyance of daily life in a physical way. However, it doesn’t mean I have given up doing the things I enjoy.
The first time I went kayaking since the hip replacements was in September with a friend who is a good 10 years (or more – yeah – probably more, sigh) younger than moi. No problem I thought. I can kayak with the best of them – right? Ahem.
So, off we went, heading to Kal Lake to put in by the pump house.
My first time there, as I didn’t know there was a mini ski hill to navigate first. I could have slid down on a sled (or maybe the kayak).
Aside from the hill, my second problem was getting into said kayak. Now, to be fair, I’ve always had an issue getting in – no matter what ‘technique’ I use.
But with some difficulty, I managed to pretzel my uncooperative hips and rounder-than-it-used-to-be-body and get in, only to discover the seat back of the stadium seat that I brought with me, had flattened and I was sitting on it. Due to my challenges getting in, it was going to stay flattened.
So, I got into my kayak grimacing, feeling like an uncoordinated elephant, but I was in. Success!
Of course, my younger friend pretty much bounced into the kayak, smiling, chatting and laughing all the way and off we went. My kayak stuck on the beach a bit and I had to body lunge it off. I think that is when I wrenched the muscle (note to self, take two preventative Tylenol before kayaking in future to cover any potential issues).
I did all the right things. I had a hat, gobs of sun screen smeared on, wore a life-jacket and under that, an unattractive white cover-up that was hiding a stretched-out bathing suit that was about 20-plus years old.
This meant the girls were resting against the COVID rolls and not being supported and perky (by the swimsuit). I had snacks and water too (although after reading that last line, apparently, I did not need snacks).
My young friend, all lithe, fit and gorgeous – just showed up as she was. She had a life-jacket in the kayak with her, some water, but other than that was generally a bronze goddess. I’m surprised she didn’t do backflips into the kayak.
I tried to keep up to her, as she was a strong paddler. We decided to stop, as she wanted to have a swim. I thought it was a good opportunity to get out and fix my stadium seat. Easy enough, right?
I somehow managed to get out, but lost my balance on the rocks and combined with the very tiny waves I was knocked down. The elephant had landed!
The goddess saw this and was horrified, “Oh Carole, are you okay?” “Oh yes thank you, silly me, I slipped,” I said, feeling mortified and embarrassed beyond belief.
Thankfully, she helped me up (I hope she didn’t pull a muscle doing that). We got me back into the kayak, the seat back still being sat upon and paddled for shore.
The next time I went kayaking, it was with people my own age. We helped each other get into the kayak. We had a nice time on the lake (put in at Lakeshore Park on Okanagan Lake). We arrived back at the shore at the same time.
Three kayaks, three old farts and none of us could get out of the kayak. It was a photo op if there ever was one.
Luckily for us, there was a strong young woman on the beach and she saw the difficulty we were having and helped us out of the kayaks. Lots of laughter. We might still be sitting there if it hadn’t been for her. We all say a big thank you!
At least kayaking brings about laughter and that is the best medicine.
Carole Fawcett is a freelance writer, counsellor and clinical hypnotherapist. www.wordaffair.com