Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to Get Shot During Duck Season

On Friday evening when I got home from work, I pulled into the parking lot and was surprised to find our XTerra loaded up with two blue kayaks. I raced inside and found Seth in the office tying some flies. "You rented kayaks?! Wahoo!"

Back in June when we went on our backpacking trip, we originally rented some backpacks and gear from Weber State. When Annie said we could borrow hers, we did so, which left us with a credit at Weber State. Seth and I had talked about using the credit to rent kayaks, but never got around to it. Seth had the day off on Friday and as he was driving around he suddenly had the idea to go pick up some kayaks. And thus the adventure begins.

Our plan was to drive up to Logan on Saturday morning to Cutler Marsh. Apparently that was everybody else's plan too. Well all the duck hunters anyway. The parking lot was completely filled, and gun shots could be heard at a steady rate. Yes it was duck season, a fact which I would never have known and Seth had forgotten about.

Seth was a little wary about paddling around amongst a bunch of hidden gun-wielding hunters, but I assured him we'd be fine. I'd been eyeing this marsh for a long time and I wasn't about to let duck season ruin my plan. So, we shoved off the bank and started exploring the area.

I have to say the marsh wasn't quite as amazing as I thought it would be. I think the birds and such were all hiding out because we didn't see much in the way of wildlife. The water level was lower than it looked and we spent a lot of the time digging our paddles into the mud. Makes for a great workout.

At one point we were gliding along when I loudly said to Seth, "IS YOUR LUMBAR SUPPORT WORKING?" (we had air inflated kayak chair cushions and mine was broken). Seth looked at me and put his finger up to his lips in the classic "shh" position. I looked up ahead and saw a duck hunter's boat up on the bank covered in grass. I couldn't actually see any hunters, but I'm sure they wanted to shoot me. I kept quiet the rest of the time.

After about a half hour I asked Seth if he thought maybe we could pack up the kayaks and drive over to Causey Reservoir instead. We'd thought about going there the night before but ultimately chose the marsh. Seth agreed and we booked it back the car. You can only see so many tall clumps of grass, hear so many gun shots and paddle through so much mud. We've checked the Cutler Marsh off our list of places to see.

We took a bit of a scenic route over the mountains to get to Causey. It was a bumpy dirt road, but very beautiful with the fall leaves. The beauty of the leaves combined with the loud hum of the wind blowing into the hull of the kayaks was magnificent. Ok, maybe the loud hum of the kayaks wasn't so great, but we made it to Causey without going crazy.

It was a little bit windy at Causey which made me kind of nervous. Nothing like a healthy fear of potentially rolling your kayak in deep cold water to keep you alert. But, after we got in and paddled up into one of the channels, it wasn't too bad. Causey was definitely a better choice for kayaking. It was incredibly beautiful and the lake was almost deserted. And our risk of getting shot was greatly decreased.

We paddled all the way up to the end of the middle finger of the reservoir and beached the kayaks. Seth jumped out of his boat and immediately sunk knee deep into the soft mud. He ran up to solid ground as fast as he could, but not before getting extremely dirty. Being the gentlman he is, he pulled my kayak way up onto the shore so I wouldn't get all muddy.

Now there was a little stream coming into the reservoir where we stopped and while Seth was running around in the mud he noticed a bright red salmon in the stream. As soon as he helped me out of my kayak, we slowly walked up the river looking for more. We found one other small salmon in addition to the larger one that Seth found. This was the first time I'd seen salmon during the spawning season and I couldn't believe how amazing they looked.

After I got back into my kayak and Seth pushed me off into the water, I sat at the mouth of the stream and waited. While Seth was getting into his kayak, I noticed one more large salmon trying to swim upstream into the little inlet. The water got a bit shallow so he was flopping around trying to get up into deeper water. It was really cool.

Our rental time was just about up by this point so we decided to head back to the car. I think it worked out about right because my shoulders and arms were pretty worn out from paddling all day. We had a really fun time and at $26 for a full day of kayaking, it was a cheap exciting adventure. I'm sure we'll do it again soon.


Holly said...

Your kayaking trip sounds wonderful! The scenery is BEAUTIFUL!

Rachel said...

You guys are the best. How fun!

heidi said...

K- I can't believe I missed this post! Sounds like kayaking is great upper-body exercise.

The photos are gorgeous. Autumn in Utah must be beautiful. Can't believe you got such lovely shots of the salmon.