Yesterday with strong north west winds forecast, I figured that it would be a good day for a downwind run on the lake, an opportunity to clock some km’s moving a little faster than my usual guiding pace, and to work on my paddle fitness.
I loaded Slo onto my car and headed 30km up the road to Te Anau Downs, unloaded her, and my flat mate Nicola drove my car away. My only escape disappeared and there was only one way for me to get home. Paddle.
The sun shone brightly behind me as I made my way out into the middle of the lake. Dark clouds clung over the mountains, the waters were ruffled, and I was feeling good, certain that the wind was about to hit with a reasonable amount of force. For the first hour I paddled hard, and the wind slowly built to around 10 knots. Not as much as I was hoping for, but any wind was better than nothing.
It was nice to be alone on the water. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out in a sea kayak, not having to worry about anyone else, it was just me and the wind and the lake. My arms burned a little, but it’s no surprise, my 8km daily laps of Milford Sound with useless tourists aren’t exactly a work out.
On past trips I’ve done no training, why suffer any more than I have to? Everything usually stops hurting after the first week or so. I’ve always envied people who have the motivation to head out to train on a daily basis, clocking miles, around in circles. I’m not one of those people. I need something far away, remotely attainable that I can focus on and strive for, something like circumnavigating a big island. It’s the adventure and the unknown that motivates me.
It was easy for me to paddle fast because I knew I had no bail out options, I had to paddle home, and the faster I did it, the quicker I could be eating pizza. Mmmm pizza! Why didn’t I think to bring more than an apple, carrot and feijoa? I have no idea! haha
The wind didn’t pick up more than 10 knots and my ‘downwind’ run turned into more of a slog down the lake and four hours later I landed on a small beach, dragged my kayak up beside the road, attached my kayak wheels and pulled my kayak the two blocks home.
Today I had planned to go whitewater paddling in Milford, with severe weather warnings in place and torrential rain forecast. A perfect forecast for whitewater paddling! But it was not to be, flooding closed the Milford road and instead I am at home, the rain drumming on the roof while I write this, and plan for Svalbard. It’s not long now – I fly out of NZ in just under 5 weeks time. I’m nervous but excited to be on the mish again!