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The hardest part of a shuttle used to be getting my friends to show up on time and figuring out how to get all the boats strapped down without them falling off. Not anymore. Now that we have a baby and a toddler, this year the hardest part of a shuttle was how to get out kayaking at all!

A few short years ago, solo kayaking wasn’t even on my radar. Part of what makes kayaking fun for me is the social interaction. I love seeing my friends and catching up while on a fun river. I also usually kayaked with my husband Daniel, as long as both of us weren’t working at the same time. However, things changed for us 3 years ago and we had a baby. And then the pandemic started. And now we have a toddler and another baby. Not surprisingly, kayaking for us has grown increasingly more complicated.

However, kayaking is still a huge part of both of our lives and an important part of keeping us and our lives sane. In order to make this happen, we’ve had to make a few changes. The most dramatic change is that we now occasionally go solo boating.

We’re really not solo in the true sense of the word. For a few of our local runs that we are both very comfortable with, we load up the kids and kayaks and head to the river. Since it’s hard to coordinate with 2 little kids and other people, especially since our free time tends to be midweek, we started going out with just the 4 of us. When we arrive at the river, we drive straight to put in and one of us gears up and goes. The other one drives the car with the kids and provides road side safety. We watch each other from the road at the crucial spots, before driving to the take out to let the kids play. Then we swap. It may not be ideal, but at least it gets us on the water.

We’re hoping over the next year, as our kids get older and our schedule more flexible, we’ll be able to more socially paddle with friends again. But in the meantime, making river time happen any way we can safely do it has been our priority! Make sure to always paddle below your ability, be on a river you are familiar with, and have road safety before attempting. Be safe out there and have fun! ~Diane Brasuell