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It was high time for a Ladies Day on the water, so one of my friends and I decided to make it happen!  While our dogs reveled in the air conditioning, and her guy traveled off to a business meeting, we loaded up my Journey and her SUP board and hit Parksville and Ocoee Lakes for the day.


Getting ready for a day on the water!

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite things is having opportunity to introduce folks to new paddling venues.  Today was one of those days, and what a fantastic day it was!!  If you’ve never paddled these lakes, you’re in for a treat when you DO get there.  I KNOW you whitewater folks know the general area of which I speak, but do you know that there are some of the most amazing campsites peppered on the shores of these sister lakes??  Oh yeah, and don’t forget the random 10 or 20 rope swings simply begging to be tested!!  Yup, they’re there alright, but you’re gonna have to discover them for yourselves – that IS part of the fun, you know.


Seeing as how we’re smack in the middle of one heinous heat wave here in the Southeast, we had to jump in the water for a swim before we could even think of getting the hulls of our craft wet.   Sunscreen taken care of, food tucked away into the hatches of the Journey and camera at the ready, we took off across the lake to check out the far shore.

These waters bring back fond memories for me.  This is where I spent the majority of my summers growing up, and where I perfected the art of camping out of those old Grummans…   It is impossible for me to pass one of the sloughs on these lakes without thinking of “slough juice” at dinner and supper, midnight swims, cane pole fishing, campfires with hobo dinners and dump cobblers…

Jump forward too many years to count.  Katie (my partner in shenanigans for the day) is enamored of the geography – and vowing to bring her sweetie the next time she ventures up this way!  Me?  I’m lost in reverie.

Somewhere towards the middle of the day, the requisite kayak vs. SUP board discussion ensues.  My overly practical self stands by the position that a kayak – particularly a touring kayak such as the Journey – is WAY more versatile than a SUP board.   Since we’d just used Katie’s board as a floating picnic table, you can imagine the friendly fire I (deservedly) endured.  However, never one to be told something can’t be done, I took it upon myself to prove that the Journey can, in fact, double as a SUP board!


Got it!! Now... Where's my SUP paddle?!


Having successfully pulled off this so-called party trick for more years than I can count now (does standing on the gunwales of my canoe count?), it’s still always interesting the first time each season.   Some years there’s carnage; other years, not so much.  This was one of the best years yet, and I’m pretty sure the Journey had everything to do with it!


Now I just need to get either a reeeeeaaalllly long kayak paddle, or start carrying a SUP paddle!  Or better yet, figure out how to engineer a t-grip to replace one half of my touring stick…  Hmmm…

All told, and despite the stink eye I got from my dog when I got back home, it’s looking to be an amazing summer on the water!!!

Oh yeah, and one more thing: those expiration dates on your sunscreen??  Yeah, they really do mean something…  :-/