I’m not one to happily wake up at 6:45 in the morning on a Monday to get ready and go to school. I’m definitely not one to happily wake up at 6:45 in the morning on a Saturday to get ready and do just about anything. But, as my Instagram post* said, if it involves kayaks and Lizzie B’s, count me in.
This past weekend, my cousins and I loaded up our kayaks and went to Levisa Fork Paddlefest* hosted by Prestonsburg Tourism. Typically the Paddlefest is a 16.4 mile stretch that begins in Billy Ray’s in downtown Prestonsburg and leads to Paintsville. This time, however, it was cut to 8.2 miles and ended just after the Johnson County line.
Now, I know. 16.4 miles sounds downright crazy. And 8.2 doesn’t sound too easy either. But with the water flowing downstream, you could’ve paddled for no other reason than to stay out of the trees and still made it from Point A to Point B. I didn’t get tired until about 7 miles in and that’s only because I was trying to catch up with my crew.
For those of you who haven’t tried kayaking yet, I say go for it! It’s so relaxing and you see so many things you couldn’t see from the land! If you’re still a little hesitant, I will write more about info that will help you below! I will include how to choose a kayak, places to paddle, things to bring and more all based off of my personal experiences.
Choosing a Kayak:
For my birthday, I got a fishing kayak from Rural King and a regular paddle. What I liked about the fishing kayak is that you sit completely on top of it instead of having an opening and putting your legs inside of it. It gave me more leg room and also made me feel safer in the event of turning over. I also like that I can keep my arms lower down compared to a regular kayak, so paddling isn’t exhausting. There were times this weekend where I literally had my paddle sitting in my lap and moved it from side to side to propel myself forwards.
On the flip side, I noticed my kayak was always further behind the rest of the crew. It wasn’t my paddle, because my cousin and I had the same one. It wasn’t the speed I was paddling at, because I was going as fast as they were. I may be wrong, but I am convinced that my fishing kayak was shaped wider then their regular ones.
There are plenty of options and varieties out there, you just have to pick which is most practical for you!
What to Take:
- Remember you need a life vest or floatation device onboard (or you end up having to purchase one for $40 at a marina like I did on senior skip day).
- Definitely take sunglasses because the sun reflecting on the water can give you one heck of a headache.
- Take water! You wouldn’t think you’d need water if you’re surrounded by water, but believe me, you’ll need water.
- Pack a few snacks such as granola bars, peanuts, trail mix, etc.
- Wear waterproof shoes, or some trusty Chacos*, because you’ll be hopping in and out of the water to get on and off board.
- A camera will come in handy! You never know what you’ll come across.
- Take all of these things and place them in a waterproof bag or store them in multiple ziplock bags and place those in a drawstring bag.
Where to Go:
Anywhere there’s easy access to the water! I have kayaked on Carr Fork Lake* and two sections of Levisa Fork (Zip, Paddle & Saddle*), but I am looking for other places to go! Up next on the list of places I want to kayak are Red River Gorge’s underground caves* and downstream in Perry County*.
Wherever you go, read up on water conditions and see if there are reviews left by those who have went before you. This is especially important to do if you’re a beginner! Although kayaking isn’t hard, it’s good to have a general idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
‘Til then, happy paddling!
*Click on italicized words to be directed to a webpage regarding the subject.