Two Harbors Kayak Festival

11 08 2009

Last summer when we bought our first kayak – I decided that I was going to enter a kayak race someday.  That day was my 34th birthday this past weekend (well actually the day after due to weather postponement, but anyway….).

My little family (Jason, Kallen – 6, Noah – 3 & dogs Maggie – 9 and Odie – 11 weeks) made the trek to Two Harbors, MN for the 12th Annual Two Harbors Kayak Festival.  Two Harbors sits right on the Lake Superior shoreline about 20 miles north of Duluth.  If the north shore didn’t have such damn crazy weather, I’d live there in a heartbeat.

We set up camp Friday night at the Burlington Bay Campground, cooked up some burgers on our new Brunton duo  range/grill, and had a fire for about 10 minutes before the rain set in.  My boys were not yet sleepy so we all zipped into our mummy bags and pretended we were caterpillars crawling around the tent.

The weather on Saturday was not exactly ideal for a kayak race – 58 degrees, 10-15 mph east wind, light to moderate rain.  Are you kidding me?  Last time I checked it was August, right?  So the race was rescheduled for 9:30am on Sunday.  We were in and out of the festival all day – this event is not just about the racing, it’s a jam packed weekend of fun!  In addition to the 18 mile marathon race, the 5 mile Betty’s Pie race, and the tandem sprint race, activities included kayak and SUP (stand up paddle board) demos, individual and family kayak tours, kid’s kayak race, kid’s climbing wall (no they didn’t let me participate), vendor tents, beginner and advanced clinics, pancake breakfast and on-site meals.

Holy kayaks batman!

Holy kayaks batman!

Kallen and Dad taking sea kayak out for a spin

Kallen and Dad taking a sea kayak out for a spin

Here we go!

Here we go!

Hey mom and dad, am I holding the paddle the right way?

Hey mom and dad, am I holding the paddle the right way?

I finally got to demo a SUP board and man was I excited.  It was tons of fun but a bit harder than I expected.  I think I was overly cautious because I didn’t want to fall into the frigid Lake Superior.  If I had been on any other body of water I would have let go a bit more and not minded getting wet.  I did myself proud by not falling off the board (thank you YOGA for teaching me balance).  I am in the midst of negotiations on bringing home a board in the near future….

hold her steady now girl!

hold her steady now girl!

Hee, hee, now comes the funny part…For those of you who know Jason, you know he is a competitor who likes to do things “right” on the first try.  He doesn’t do anything that makes him look “silly” because he needs to project an aura of Mr. Cool…..For those who don’t know him, he’s an engineer (think logical, methodical, no surprises).  So of course when he took a tumble of the SUP board and went for a swim – I couldn’t help but laugh….hysterically.

After the swim, I think he stayed on his knees the rest of the time just to be "safe"

After the swim, I think he stayed on his knees the rest of the time just to be "safe"

Hmm….hopefully after I bring my board home I can get him back on the horse.

The rest of our Saturday was spent geocaching.  The first hunt of the day was on top of the Silver Creek tunnel.  Only Jason and Kallen did some serious bouldering to make it to the top of the cliff – I know I could have done it, but someone had to stay behind with Noah.  The second hunt took us to Gooseberry Falls State Park to find another critter collector card for the boys.  I see geocaching as becoming a big part of our family outdoor time together and I encourage all of you with children to get involved.  I would be happy to share my insight:)

Hiking on the Gitchee Gami trail

I don’t know if it was because I really did turn a year older this day or if Noah ate too many pancakes for breakfast…..but this boy is getting heavy!  He is pushing 40 pounds and I don’t know how many more miles I can log with this bugger on my back.

We found the cache!

We found the cache!

This is what a typical MN state park cache box looks like

This is what a typical MN state park cache box looks like

Mom helping boys look though trinkets and critter cards to take home

Mom helping boys look though trinkets and critter cards to take home

RACE TIME!

I had to be at the registration tent by 8:15am Sunday for a mandatory racers meeting – review water conditions, buoy markers, etc.  The change in weather from the day before was unbelievable…..warm, calm, little wind, an absolute perfect day for my first race.  There was some early morning fog but it did burn off a bit later.

My class (5 mile) getting lined up

My class (5 mile) getting lined up

Off to a foggy start

Off to a foggy start

View of festival from my kayak

View of festival from my kayak

I am guessing that there were about 30 racers in my class and many of them had raced before.  Most of the boats were sea kayaks between 16-19 feet and my Perception was a mere 12 footer.  You typically use a sea kayak (long and narrow) for large bodies of water and mine is used for recreational river paddling (shorter and wider for stability).  I really thought about renting a sea kayak for the race but wanted to see how I could do in my own.  Next year I will rent a sea kayak just to even the playing field a bit and see if my time is any better.

The official results are still not yet posted, but I think I completed the race in 1 hour, 29 minutes.  I gave it my all and stayed with a pack for the entire race.  I thought some of them might peter out at the end and I could pass them, but the wind picked up and waves started slowing me down. In the end, there were a lot of boats that crossed the finish line ahead of me and a few behind me – I am just happy with myself for getting out there and trying something new. Can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead……

All smiles at completion of race

All smiles at completion of race

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2 responses

12 08 2009
Megan

Thanks for this, April. It’s proof that you don’t need the high end gear to play. Just passion and drive. Love it. Oh, and by the way, I have a couple boards for you to choose from. Check out Yolo.com and take a look. 12′, stable, your kids can play. Your husband won’t fall off. Too much, anyway.

mkk

29 03 2011
athena

Wonderful photos! The kids are so cute! I hope one day i could have a tourist with my little girl there.
Our factory has about eight years in producing bamboo garments and accessories. I hope we could buid business relationship we are in Suzhou.

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