It was a perfect first paddle of the year. The Mokelumne was clear and beautiful. The sun proved its power in the form of sunburns. Cows, geese and red eared slider turtles were also out enjoying the water along the banks of the river.
With talk of record April temperatures, there was no excuse not to get out on the water. It was Missouri Maggie’s first kayak trip, and she was a natural. She braved the water even though the previous night’s sushi was doing a whirlwind in her stomach.
Though the water was still a bit chilly, we swore we’d go swimming before the end of the day. The water was so crisp and clear and inviting. Looking down, you could often see clean white sand at the bottom of the river. Two kayakers passed us as we tested the water on a beach. “A couple more months,” one yelled, warning us that the water was still too cold for swimming. “A couple more hours,” I thought.
On the way back, we stopped at a private beach, where rich high school students were starting to play volleyball and sunbath on the warm sand. We were obviously the nerdy kayakers who didn’t fit in. Still, we made our way deeper into the river and laughed and screamed as the cold water made its way up our body. Eventually we were all the way in, though I never put my head under. I just couldn’t do it.
My favorite part was when Maggie stood deep in the water, shivering with her arms folded, and yelled, “I can’t believe I’m swimming in April!
We paddled for about five hours, from Lodi Lake to Highway 99. Before we turned around, I noticed I was getting really red. I tried to cover myself with a wet beach towel, but it did no good. Maggie and I both turned into lobsters.
After we tied the two kayaks by ourselves to the top of my car (yes, with the men watching at the picnic area nearby), we went to my house and doused ourselves with aloe gel.
Here are a few more images from yesterday: