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Club Members Go Kayaking at Baker Creek State Park

It was a warm day but the shade from the canopy of trees along the path provided the hikers with a very pleasant walking experience. Whether they walked two, four or seven miles, everyone enjoyed themselves.

The birds were singing, and we met a couple walking their dog on the path as we visited along the trail. Susan O’Brien was using her GPS to do a little geocaching while enjoying her hike. Many of the participants opted for the four-mile walk. There were eight hikers who successfully finished the full seven miles. Congratulations to everyone who came out to enjoy the railroad trail. Perhaps we will be able to continue on to Willington in the fall!

Since the Outdoor Adventure Club began in April, there has been a Geocaching Workshop, a kayaking trip, a bike trip and a hike. 

It had to happen. Folks kept reading things about moonlight kayak trips, kayak rodeos, and kayak Olympics and they wanted to join the fun. Or they’d see that large picture hanging on the wall of the Savannah Lakes Village Recreation Center showing a kayaker sitting peacefully on the lake with the dawn’s morning mist swirling about her. They wanted to experience that. Sooner or later those who longed to join the wonderful world of kayaking had to have a way to learn the sport. And so it happened.

❚ Now I’m not going to say there weren’t a few glitches. Who expected the tick bite that would send one of the trainers to the doctor’s office that day? Who predicted the 16 mph wind? And I’m certain none of the trainees really planned fall into the lake while getting in their kayak. But in kayaking, we go with the flow. (Pun intended.)

❚ Savannah Lakes Village Outdoor Adventure Club sponsored the camp. Pam Royal and Sherri Tokar from the Recreation Center provided tremendous support in arranging for kayak transport, tents, and publicity. Gloria Bramble, a 10-year kayaking enthusiast, organized the camp at Baker Creek State Park on June 5. Nineteen people, most with zero experience, signed up to learn about the equipment, safety concerns, and the skills involved in kayaking.

❚ Training began at 10 a.m. in the shade of the pavilion. Gloria Bramble showed two types of kayaks (the kind you sit in and the kind you sit on) as well as some equipment needed for kayaking. Mariska Young then talked about safety concerns. The trainers shared their own stories about unexpected exits from kayaks into cold water and how to cope with such events. Linda McClintock then demonstrated the all-important skills involved in kayaking. Just how do you get in and out? Which end of the paddle is up? How do you stop, or turn, or go backwards? Lee and Joe Belanger joined the training team and shared some extremely helpful tips gleaned from their 40 years of experience with kayaking and canoeing.

Savannah Lakes Village is a great place to live, in part because it is a remarkable place to play. What makes a great place to live? Families in the ages 50-65 constantly rank outdoor recreation as the main

criteria for choosing their next place to live. Savannah Lakes Village is an action-packed locale. Programming like the Outdoor Adventures

Club and the Rod & Gun Club bring greater awareness and appreciation of the recreational resources in our backyards. It also brings together neighbors and friends with a common passion for our unique land, water and wildlife resources. - Kirk Smith, Savannah Lakes Village CEO

❚ Then came the fun part – getting in the kayaks! The trainees divided into groups of four, received a colored bandana to identify their team, and walked down to the lake with their trainer. Once they mastered the various ways to get in and out of the kayaks, the groups practiced the other skills they’d learned on land. It was quite a sight to see 19 folks who were brand new to kayaking quickly getting the hang of the sport. At one point one group was paddling backwards, while another paddled through an obstacle course, and yet another “rafted up” in the shade.

❚ After the trainees gained some proficiency in the skills, everyone gathered back at the pavilion to receive certificates of achievement and share lunch. Later, about a dozen of our intrepid trainees joined the trainers in a paddle down Baker Creek.  • July 2014 • 9

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