What do you think of when you see some old growth trees? Do you ever wonder what they would say if they could talk? What they would say they have witnessed over their life time of standing, weathering storms, drought, fires, floods, heat and cold? I have had this thought many times as I paddle through North Carolina’s 3 Sisters Swamp. Recently it was announced that researchers from the University of Arkansas identified a bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)tree that was 2624 years old! Wow, imagine that a tree here in eastern North Carolina that is one of the oldest trees known to man today. This tree started putting down roots around 605 BC!
Just paddling in this ancient swamp give you a since of
awe. Trees that are so big, it takes 3
or 4 grown men to put arms around them and cypress knees that are talker than I
stand. Every time I am there in the
magical place I find myself in awe at the majesty of God’s awesome creation. I also realize just how small I am in the
grand scheme of life and grateful that God is always there each day for
everyone who looks to him.
I have written about this subject several times over the past years in our blogs. Often when setting up for our kayaking adventures, it is hard not to ask different people at the kayak launch if they know what they are doing or not? When we do, I often get a silly look or simply no response at all. The simple matter of fact is that we witness lots of people go kayaking (or any other adventure) and they just are not prepared for all that can go wrong. Twice this week, we had kayaking adventures that we canceled due to high winds (Small Craft Advisories) on the water. As we were putting up our gear, both times we witnessed different persons or groups heading out into rough waters.
Questions to ask yourself before you take off kayaking:
What is the weather like at this moment and what is the forecast for the rest of the time on my adventures?
These are all important things to consider before you strike
out on any adventure. Being able to
properly answer these questions can mean life or death if you are not
prepared. I know of other kayaking adventure
businesses that once to twice a summer, save someone from a really bad
situation and even drowning. Bad things
can happen quickly and if not prepared, things could turn out really bad for
We often get asked which is better; taking a guided kayaking adventure or renting a kayak and do your own thing. Well, I would say that all depends on your level of experience and familiarity of the areas you are paddling. Guided trips, such as the one we offer here at Mahanaim Adventures are all inclusive. This means that you get qualified guides that are familiar with how to kayak and to do rescues if and when needed. The guides know the area, the river or ocean currents, local weather patterns and other safety concerns about the river you are paddling.
When you decide to rent a kayak and do your own kayaking adventure on your own, you are assuming all the risks involved. Before you do this, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I know how to get myself out of trouble if I get into some sort of trouble on the water? Remember, it is not a question of if you tip your kayak over, it is a question of when you tip over. If you paddle enough you will get tipped over and have to do a self-rescue. Do you know what to do when this happens?
Are you familiar with the local weather patterns and make accurate decision on when to turn around or to not go out on the water? Weather conditions can change quickly even under the best of circumstances; don’t get caught out in bad weather.
Are you familiar with the area and the currents of the river you are paddling? This is very important. Getting lost or getting yourself in the wrong location to deal with the wake of a containership on the Cape Fear River can make your trip memorable for the wrong reasons.
In short when you are considering the question of taking a guided adventure or renting a kayak; ask yourself the questions above. When taking a guided kayaking adventure, you can concentrate on having fun with your group, not worrying about all that can possibly go wrong. When you rent a kayak and do your own thing, you are assuming all the risks yourself. You are saying that you know and understand all the risks involved and are capable of rescuing yourself from a bad situation without ANY outside help.