As many people know, I volunteer at TC Central HS, mostly helping out in calculus classes. Consequently, every year I get to attend lots of graduation open houses. My gift is the promise to take them out on a paddling trip on a local river, supplying transportation, equipment and instruction if needed. In most cases, they have never navigated rivers like the Boardman or Manistee. Today we headed to the Hodenpyl section just south of Mesick. Alex Oliver and Ellie Taylor (and John & I, plus Linda Woodruff and Marlene Puska) had a ball! Here is the report written by the kids (who are heading to Michigan Tech and MSU, respectively, this fall).
Ms. Goldstein volunteered as one of my calculus teachers this past school year, so for a graduation gift she told me that she would take a friend and me out on a kayak trip. As August came around, I realized that I still hadn't taken her up on the offer. My girlfriend, Ellie, works at The River at Clinch Park renting out kayaks, so I knew she would be excited to go! Originally the plan was to go for a shorter trip on the Boardman, but once that crazy storm hit we had to change it up and go the the Manistee River. I had pretty much no kayaking experience before the trip, so in the morning I learned everything from how to tie a bowline knot to how to ferry across the river.
Once we got started I was very impressed with how pretty the river was, and being a fly fisherman, with all the trout that I saw! When lunch time came around, we had to stop to eat and in my case go for an "unplanned swim". Being a total kayak rookie I tried to grab the riverbed to stop myself and ended up leaning upstream. The river thought that was funny, so it dumped me out of my kayak and into the water. I grabbed the kayak and paddle quickly and pulled it ashore. I was lucky not to lose anything! In John's words "I saw a trout and tried to grab it", which is the version of the story my friends will hear! After lunch Ellie and I went for a "planned swim" and later John, Lois, Linda, and Marlene were telling stories about times they had capsized to make me feel better about my incident.
We had a great day, on a great river, and it was a great experience! Ellie and I are very glad we got to do something like that before we go off to college! Thanks for taking us!
-Alex and Ellie