Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Staying Cool in Kayaks on the Water

Yesterday I joined an adaptive kayaking program at D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen for an easy hour of cooling off on the water. Brenda Davies of Stavros Outdoor Access was the outdoor leader of the day and had plenty of fun ideas for the dozen or so paddlers on the lake the last hour of her day long program. The D.A.R. State Forest is on the eastern edge of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, an easy drive from Greenfield, Northampton, and Pittsfield. It is a great place to picnic, enjoy a beach (beach wheelchair available!), camp, fish, and explore a 1/4 mile accessible trail as well as miles of hiking trails.

Between stints of blueberry picking from the shores of wooded Highland Lake, buckets doubled as water slingers. Kayak pumps were used to send a stream of water between boats. A rubber chicken was tossed around, as well as a small football. And if that wasn't enough to keep paddlers amused and cool, the football was used in a rousing game of "kayak basketball", and a race across the lake completed the hour of fun.

Of course, if you didn't want to get wet on a hot and sunny afternoon, you didn't have to! Everyone's needs are taken into account at Universal Access Programs, and this was no exception. If you wanted to be a "peace boat" you only needed to raise two fingers and declare yourself exempt from spray. Participants included members of Girls,Inc. and Fresh Air as well as some regulars with disabilities. On the water, people were in single kayaks and tandem kayaks, depending on needs and skill level.  

There is one more chance to paddle and play with Brenda on the water at D.A.R. State Forest on Monday, July 26. Call her at 413-259-0009 to sign up! You can also paddle at D.A.R. State Forest with All Out Adventures on a few more upcoming Wednesdays: July 28, August 4, and August 11. To sign up for Wednesday kayaking, call AOA at 413-527-8980. You'll get all the support you need and great paddling instruction as part of the fun!

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