I asked my friend Dylan if he knew where I could rent a kayak for cheap and told him about the plans I had for it. He said why not just buy one? I said they’re expensive and he said he’d look for some. Two days later he sends me a link to a kayak on Craigslist and says he’s buying it, and there’s another one if I want it. I said yes.
Dylan and I started our Saturday morning at 4am in the Target parking lot waiting for the Craigslist man to show up (he was moving out of Arizona and said he’d be driving through flagstaff around 4:30am and said we could meet at target) Craigslist man didn’t get there until almost 6(: that is ok though because I got a kayak! The one I bought is a white water kayak it’s short (like me)! and it is really really hard to flip, thankfully.
Then we headed to east flag to pick up Dylan’s kayak from another guy off Craigslist, Dylan tied it to my roof rack and we were about to be off kayaking Blue Ridge Reservoir but we first had to buy paddles. I took us to this cheap outdoors store in downtown Flagstaff called Peace Surplus but they didn’t have kayak paddles, they had one ended paddles and they were cheaaaap so we bought them and figured they wont be too hard to use. We were wrong.
The drive there is beautiful, coasting down Lake Mary Road to the T intersection with the SR 87. It’s one lane the whole way with no other car on the road besides us. Now since it’s April and winter is technically over, the forest service roads should be opened after there closures all winter, and a lot of FS roads were opened up off Lake Mary Road but once we started heading North on the 87 the roads were closed. The first turn off to Blue Ridge Reservoir was closed and locked shut with a gate. The second turn, same thing. The third turn where the Blue Ridge Ranger Station is was also closed. I kept on driving us because we were going to kayak the Blue Ridge. Finally at the fourth turn off the gate was closed and the sign said road closed but there was not a fence around the gate, in fact there was a passible side way around the closed gate through the forest, so I took it. trespassing through the woods and out onto the other side of the road we were heading straight to the water now!
Dylan said something about this being an adventure and I wittily replied saying “the adventure doesn’t start until something goes wrong” and then before we knew it we ended up on a very very rocky dirt road. My Subaru was climbing over what I call small boulders. I tried going slow over them and finding ways around them but the road was so littered with rocks there was no way around them. Dylan asked me what my car was named and when I told him after every big rock he’d say “c’mon Cooper you got this!” which was sweet. I hit the bottom of my car on a rock and was so worried but two days later and Cooper’s still driving fine.
After finally making it off the road from HELL we were now on a main FS road again and the drive was smooth. We just passed a sign saying Blue Ridge was 2 miles away then around the corner; the dreaded appeared.
Another Road Closed sign. This one not passable. We made it all this way and were being stopped by another gate. Neither one of us was ready to give up, because like I said earlier the adventure truly does not start until everything goes wrong. So I parked Cooper on the side of the gate, opened the hatch and got my kayak out of the car while Dylan was untying his from the roof. We were going to Hike the two miles down to the water with the kayaks on our backs.
Just passed the gate I was already tired and kind of ready to call it quits, come back when the road’s open, because I’m a strong girl but hiking downhill with a kayak resting on my head straining my neck… And we’d have to hike uphill a few hours later, I was not willing. I stopped and explained this to Dylan but he said it will so be worth it and if we turned around then I would regret the heck out of that choice. So we kept walking. And a short while later we saw a trail sign in the trees, it looked like it went straight to the water, I said we should take it and boom it was going straight down to a private little cove with a sandy shore, the perfect spot.
We made it to the water and I was beyond ecstatic – I could not wipe the smile off my face! It was windy though and getting into the kayak and paddling with only half a paddle with wind blowing against me was hard. I didn’t expect the kayaking part to be a challenge also when I had just hiked 2 miles with it on my back! But I got the hang of it shortly after and I literally feel ripped sitting here typing this two days after. I climbed out of there no problem and kayaked over 3 miles in the reservoir. The day was perfect. The perfect adventure because oh so many things went wrong but I wouldn’t change a thing.
I just think it’s a really cool thing that I woke up at 4am bought a kayak and spent the whole day in it with a friend who did the same thing! How neat.