“No more traffic jams for me!” I thought jubilantly as I took my Oru Kayak (a life-sized, foldable, 26 lb. origami kayak) out of the trunk of my car and prepared for my first kayak commute to work. I threw the folded-up kayak over my shoulder and headed for the river… It was less than one city block away.
Since it was only the second time I’d set the kayak up, I was curious about how long it would take me, so I set a timer. A mere 10 minutes and 26 seconds later it was set up and ready to go, “Not bad!” I thought as I donned my life jacket, grabbed my paddle, and lowered the kayak into the river.
I pushed off from the bank and slowly paddled up the river towards work as the people commuting by car zoomed over the bridge beside me. They were stuck in a race that no-one wins, lurching forward and braking fast as they raced from traffic light to traffic light.
On the other hand, I hadn’t even gone 200 feet upriver when I spotted a great blue heron fishing amongst the lily pads… It was amazing how quickly I felt like I’d left the bustle of the city behind and entered a different world; a world of trees, water, and wildlife… It wasn’t the Appalachian Trail, or the Pacific Crest Trail, but this world… this world felt like home to me…
I took a deep breath and felt the tensions of the city melt away… I’d discovered a new kind of trail to follow: a river! It would lead me to woods and to the wild places that I loved… even at times like this when my ankle was busted and walking wasn’t an option!
“This is a commute I could get used to,” I thought as I lazily paddled upstream… Sure, the river didn’t smell great, but neither did the city roads… Before I knew it I’d finished the first leg of my commute and reached the point where Alewife Brook merged into the Mystic River…
Alewife brook was going to be the most questionable part of my commute– it was shallower and narrower than the river… I’d been walking along the Alewife Greenway by the brook for months though, and I was fairly sure it would be passable by kayak… almost certain… Either way, I was about to find out!
Stay tuned for “Log Jams Not Traffic Jams: My Wild Kayak Commute (Part 2: Alewife Brook)”