I’m in adventure mode right now. I spend my days dreaming of exploring the world and evenings finding anything to do — from dinner at new restaurants to new workout classes. But the money pot is going to run out on this traveling lifestyle, so I’ve been seeking a thrill closer to home.
Enter: HTX Outdoors. The social group for 20- and 30-somethings looking to adventure outside has semimonthly events from nature hikes and yoga to paddleboating and even a self-defense workshop. Yeah, they’ve got it all.
I joined them for some paddling (of the kayak and stand-up board variety). Let’s just say balancing on a board is not my strong suit, but I did it and lived to tell the tale. This is my tale, in thoughts I had while playing in 288 Lake.
Leaving my apartment, I settled in for what was going to be a long trek. 27 minutes later…
Game changer. 288 Lake is actually super close, I see. Yes, I have driven in what feels like the most suburban neighborhood ever, but nestled right in between a few subdivisions is a lake oasis… I think.
There’s a car line to get in. That seems good. I love a popular lake.
288 Lake is $12 to get in and park. Renting with HTX Outdoors as a nonmember is $20 total.
OK, wristbands check. Parking check. Now to walk to the other side of the lake. Ugh, can’t I just swim?
Cicadas out to PLAY. Guess I know what the soundtrack to today is.
Pause. This Lake is small but beautiful! AH!
I found Amy from HTX Outdoors. Before I can even properly sunblock up, she’s suggesting we kayak. A suggestion I’m pumped about because SUP terrifies me and I’m a procrastinator.
White water kayak? Never heard of it. Oh, this tiny lil boat is what it is? Cool. Looks like a kayak for ants, but let me just put my entire body into this contraption and pray it floats. Life jacket? Good idea.
“You have to move your hips” is the weirdest advice I’ll probably ever get outside of dance lessons.
Never have I ever felt like a worse kayaker. I’ve kayaked A LOT, from Mexico to Boston. I feel useless in this thing. With each gust of wind, my little pod does a 360. I’m sure this is super comical to anyone watching.
OK, got the hang of it now. Nope. SPIN. Dang kayaking on the bayou is so much easier.
I have now just given up on being able to paddle in a straight line. At least I don’t feel the least bit tipable.
Someone’s yelling and people are headed for shore. Sounds like a good enough excuse to head in.
Paddle, paddle, spin, spin. Whatcha gonna do.
I piggyback the SUP lesson happening as I coast to shore. Seems simple. Paddle, slowly stand with your feet spread and centered. LOL, easier said than done, I’m sure.
Yes, I would like the most untippable board you have please. Thanks.
Tips include: Get a ways away from shore and stand slowly, but don’t lock your legs. Paddling is a lean and pull. If you want to turn, paddle backwards on the side you want to turn to.
I’ve been on this board for 5 full minutes without attempting to stand. Think I can just keep this up and head in in 30 minutes and claim I stood? No? Ugh.
OK, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna stand.
JK, there’s, like, wind. And… I’m almost shored.
SPLASH. Someone just fell — the whole tried to catch yourself before falling flat on your face type of fall. Behold, my future.
OK, I’ve seen surfers paddle on their bellies. Gonna try that. Woohoo, I’m flying.
Now that I’m not running aground, I shall stand. Ever so slowly.
Oh, well, here’s your workout. This is so hard. Dear balance, why do you hate me?
K. Standing. Now how the heck am I supposed to paddle? This is every bit as challenging as I thought.
Someone is coming near me. Bye. Nope. Back to sitting.
Meanwhile, SUP yoga is happening and I am offended at their showing off.
Now I’ve mastered standing (HA! not really), I think I’m getting the hang of paddling. It’s hard to switch sides of paddling, so I’ve gotten used to being able to direct my board by steering with my paddle. Not sure how to explain it, but the angle of the paddle actually steers, rather than keeping switching sides.
30 minutes, 4 stands and no falls later.
I’m a freaking beast and all must worship me.
PSA: This Tesalate towel is everything. It’s quick dry and doesn’t hold dirt. Plus it folds up super small.