We had a couple of shifts in the park Entrance Station this week and both MsBoyink and I try to keep the job interesting by keeping a patter going, both to amuse ourselves and (hopefully) put a smile on the face of people coming through and doing what is otherwise a pretty mundane transaction. Whenever I see water-related items on a vehicle I’ll crack a joke about being in the desert or the fact that our park has no water feature.
This past Monday a camper went through with two kayaks on the roof of his truck and it prompted my usual comment. I asked if he had been to Saguaro Lake - the closest lake to our park. He mentioned going to Canyon Lake later in the week when it was quiet and no one was around. I jokingly said “take me with you!” and he immediately shot back “Want to go? I have two boats.”
We have very much tried to adopt an “always say yes” mentality when it comes to these opportunities. Yes, I have work to do. Yes, there is laundry. Yes, there is shopping. But those seem to always be there while chances to do things like help out at a book launch party or now go kayaking are not. So we try to always say yes and figure out the details later.
Barth - the camper’s name - came back to the window on his bike to follow up. As we talked and he heard our family story he asked if Harrison would like to go as well. If so there were rental kayaks available and we could make a “boys day out” of it. I was happy he suggested this as MsBoyink and I had just been talking about how some father-son time doing more physical adventurous stuff was sorely needed right now.
In short, the boy was up for it, we agreed on a day, met early that AM and went to Canyon Lake. After booking the rental kayak for Harrison we launched and followed Barth as he is quite familiar with the area. He’s from Wisconsin but has spent considerable time exploring Arizona and with a natural enthusiasm, sense of curiosity and a child-like wonder for beauty found in the natural world made a first-rate tour guide.
We explored 3 narrow canyons off the main lake, and in the first one beached the kayaks to hike up to view falls and snowmelt-driven streams that Barth has never seen here. We saw Bald Eagles, a Peregrine Falcon, and several varieties of ducks throughout the day. I took a whole bunch of photos because every time I looked up a beautiful scene presented itself. I purposefully tagged behind a lot to let the boy have some interaction with Barth and I could tell the conversation was flowing easily between them.
We’ve been noodling around the idea of trading a couple bikes for some kayaks. Now I just need to get MsBoyink on the water to see if she enjoys it more than biking (which wouldn’t take much).
Thanks to Barth for the offer, the use of your equipment, and leading us around on a gorgeous day!
Sorry for the number of photos - just too many good ones to pick from….