Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Summer time at my workplace means more interns and more traffic.  In my case, it meant having old friends around again.  Except many old friends and natives of Oak Ridge have other plans in California, Spain or Kenya.  Luckily one old friend did return to work this summer.  So when I texted and asked if he was interested in hanging out, I was at an awkward loss for what to suggest.  A meal?  A movie?  Is that really the best I could come up with?  I wasn't going to suggest shopping with this friend.  This is awfully embarrassing, don't I have a blog on where to go?!?!  Yes, I do!  Pull yourself together and think of somewhere to go or something to do that is a little more original than eating out or watching a movie!  I suggested Gatlinburg, a very touristy destination about an hour away.  He said it was too far.  He didn't have the right shoes for hiking either.  At this point I was really bargaining with my imagination to think up a storm... of better ideas.

How about kayaking??  I knew of exactly where to go, and I saw their rates at some point in time, just had to go confirm.  Yes!  The Cove at Concord Park had kayak rentals offered by River Sports Outfitters, $25 for half a day and $35 for a full day rental.  Half day means 3 hours, by the way.  I had wondered about that.  I mean, I knew without a doubt that "half day" did not literally mean 12 hours.  Oh, tip, always clarify the ambiguities. Three hours on the kayak for $25 (including tax is a little over $27) is a pretty good deal compared to what I saw at Lake Tahoe, $20/hour for 1-person kayak, $26/hour for 2-person kayak and $30/hour for 3-person kayak.  Of course, me being a cheap was thinking, "Hiking would have been free."  Just kidding, I didn't actually think that, I was pretty excited to kayak.   

Overcast day at the Cove at Concord Park
What I like about kayaking is that it's comparatively effortless compared to canoeing.  I think that canoeing takes skill that I acquire slowly.  Kayaking is faster and as a result, more fun.  The two-sided paddle is what makes it easier and faster in my opinion.  Also, since it requires less skill, it makes it easier to enjoy the views and relax.  My friend was a first-timer and he picked it up right away.  Despite believing kayaking to be easy, I managed to splash myself with each stroke.  Why?  I don't know.  Also, I may or may not have been using the paddles the wrong way during the first hours.  Whoops.  Experience is overrated.  :P

There's the beach!
The first hour we went out was pretty tiring.  We cross the lake, at a fairly quick speed to avoid the boats.  I, of course, was paranoid about the waves flipping me over.  Worrying is energy consuming, hence feeling more tired.  We took a break and had Snickers ice cream bars.  Then, we went back out and circled around the Marina.  My friend is from the coasts of Croatia and he said one of the things he misses about home is the sound of boats.  The sound is similar wind chimes.  Unfortunately, for the second hour I left my camera behind, thinking that I wanted to enjoy kayaking rather than photographing.  I could have recorded the sound, but since I did not, it means you'll have to go listen to groups of boats chiming.  

The other thing that was really cool about the second hour was this hawk we saw.  It was perched up on... something I don't know the name of.  It was sitting on its nest.  When we saw it, we got closer and she started screeching at us.  Whoops!!  I tried to paddle away but the waves of a boat rocked my kayak so my panic mode came on as I tried to stay afloat.  It's quite comical how my body reacts to situations.  The hawk did not attack us.  I think we'd have to get closer for that to happen.  This was another incidence when I wished I had my camera.  Had my camera been on hand, I would have to be careful that flash was turned off so that I wouldn't trigger a reaction in hawk mama.  Ha.  Maybe it was for the better after all, knowing me. 
My camera creeping on the old guys drinking beer in the water.  Doesn't that look fun?  A lot of people were sitting on stationary boats, partying.  It seemed like it might be more fun for the boat to be moving, but who knows, maybe I have to understand local culture better to "get it."
I had a lot of fun, we ended up kayaking for two and a half hours.  Although I would have been perfectly satisfied after kayaking for an hour.  So now I know for down the road, unless the area is spectacular or there's some destination to explore, an hour's rental would be sufficient.  These preferences will be different for everyone, of course., so take that with a grain of salt  :)


  1. Sweet! I love your hawk story & think it was probably good that you didn't have your camera: one less thing to worry about :)

    1. hahaha yep! Especially since I always have at least one thing to worry about ;)