I look at the temperature, 27 degrees. I hear the door open to see my dad’s girlfriend Cindy drop a box of winter gear on the ground. We were going to kayak down the Little Muskegon River, on the west side of Michigan. It started about eight years ago we would go kayaking on Easter; since then it has escalated to a weekly adventure, kayaking no matter the weather. Going kayaking takes me away from everyday life, there’s no phone service or sirens just nature.
My dad loaded the kayaks on to the trailer he fashioned out of an old pop-up camper frame. We have packed our hot coffee and a snack in the Subaru and start our snowy trek to north to Newaygo County, Morley, Cindy following in her Explorer. There is a Park n’ Ride for carpoolers that we pull into and Cindy parks her car. This will be where we get out of the River. We head for the Croton Damn…show more content… The ground doesn’t freeze near the river as fast, so squirrels use that area to store nuts for the winter, the deer come to the river to drink and hideaway from the hunters whose season has just ended. Flocks of ducks and geese from the North congregate in the water under fallen trees whose roots have made little huts along the river protecting them from the snow and bitter wind. Today there are groups of mallards no bigger than groups of five or six puttering around oblivious to us as we put our paddles up and coast so not to make a noise.
I spot a fast-moving current to my left which I want to ride along the upcoming bend in the river. The river is a powerful force and there are currents that run through it; some so slow it feels as if I am going nowhere and others are so fast they’ll take me out at the knees. With a trained eye, I can see where the water’s reflection is broken at the top, I paddled to the far side of the river with long strokes until my kayak is swept into the current. Having a smaller boat, it is harder to keep straight as the river narrows and