A Day in the Life of a Kayaker

Hello blog beauties,

Katie here and I am back and better than ever. I was fortunate to be leader as we ended our stay in Sumatra. During our last couple days in the final village stay of the trip, we were lucky enough to spend an adventure day on Lake Toba. Waking up bright and early we set out for a day of kayaking and sightseeing. Sounds amazing right? Well, it was pretty amazing, but let me tell you something about an all-day kayaking adventure… it is no easy feat. Allow me to walk you through the four stages one goes through whilst kayaking for 8+ hours.

Stage One: Endless Enthusiasm
This is the start of our trip. We were fresh-faced and full of energy as we embarked on our kayaking journey. You could catch me trying to race other kayakers and chattering about. Meme and I were happily paddling along assuming our kayak queen titles and absolutely crushing the first leg of the trip. There was some initial fatigue but it was child’s play compared to the beast we were to face.

Stage Two: The First Downfall
On our initial break Meme and I fueled up on Ritz crackers, banana bread, cookies, and some noodles added in; in other words, we had a whole meal. Afterwards, we set back out on the lake to go on the second leg of the trip. This is when we learned the consequences of stuffing our faces immediately before power paddling for an hour. There was nausea, and it is quite possible we had some dry heaving off the side of the kayak. But let me say, lesson learned. After battling our own bellies for a minute we pushed through and made it to our second checkpoint for a quick break and NO MORE snacks.

Stage 3: Delirium
This stage is possibly one of the worst/best stages to hit during the trip. You’re 3/4 of the way there and more tired than ever before. BUT you have managed to reach this euphoric state where the kayak paddle is now one with your body and the pain is no longer an issue. Don’t let this phase fool you, for now you have been paddling for long enough you think you have it mastered but in reality, you’re still the fumbling fool pretending to know how to go in a straight line. Meme and I had our rude awakening during this stage of the trip. As we paddled near the large motorboat full of our gear and local raft guides, we realized we were getting pulled toward the front of the boat. In that moment we tried with whatever might we had left to paddle away from the front of the boat, however, our attempts were pathetic and unsuccessful. As you can probably see coming, we got our kayak stuck perpendicularly on the front of the boat. As we were pushed sideways by the motorboat, Meme and I were fighting a battle we could not win; in the end we flipped our entire kayak and jumped out of the way of the boat. So there we were, a couple of floating ladies in the lake looking for our water bottles and pride. We found the water but sadly our pride was left behind. Scrambling back onto the kayak we paddled to our next lunch stop in shame.

Stage 4: The Last Push
After filling my tummy once again and seriously contemplating staying in the motorboat for the last leg of the journey, Meme and I decided that “Mama didn’t raise no baboon” and paddled the rest of the journey. We were really tough starting the last leg but in a matter of minutes our energy supply was at a dangerously low and we decided the rest of the trip was to be done in silence. For over an hour it felt as though I was paddling but going nowhere and I think I vowed to never treat my shoulders with such disrespect ever again. I also resorted to laying a jacket over my legs for they were starting to look like hot tamales. However, through all this trial and tribulation, we paddled through and at the end we were rewarded with a beautiful waterfall.

In the end, I was overwhelmed with pride for my accomplishment and I was taken away by the beauty of the lake. Although it was difficult, it was one of the most memorable experiences of the trip. As we were on the way back, I realized my hours of misery were a comedic experience and my sore muscles were a source of pride. I could not have asked to close our chapter in Sumatra any other way.

Okay, I have a flight to Bali to catch.

Adios, Farewell, Au Revoir,

Silv Dawg