Monday, June 30, 2014

Full Circles in a Kayak

It is funny, isn’t it, how things tend to come full circle?  Rather, not quite full circle, but a spiral, gently sloped upwards, returning to almost the same spot but one step better. One step forward in the adventure of living.

I have often thought that the act of living is represented in this spiral. You are either moving forward or backward in this spiral, but you are moving.  There are still the ups and downs, but you are moving. At this point in my life, I am moving up with little bits of synchronicity happening along the way.

I experienced this in full effect yesterday.

I went on my second adventure with my new kayak.  While unloading at the launch area, a wonderfully knowledgeable gentleman gave me some very good tips about paddling and about equipment.  He recommended lessons and recommended that I check out Shank’s Mare, in Pennsylvania, along with a few local places.

“Shank’s Mare” is a phrase I haven’t heard since my childhood, growing up in Northern Indiana – when I had many Amish friends. When asked how they were getting somewhere, they often replied “Shank’s Mare”; which meant they were walking.

Imagine my surprise hearing this Indiana phrase here just a few minutes outside of the city of Baltimore. 

This gentleman was referring to Shank’s Mare Outfitters.  He highly recommended that I check it out.  You can bet that I found it on the internet as soon as I returned home, and will indeed go up there and see what it’s all about.  Turns out that it is a lovely 1890’s era general store turned meeting place for hikers, kayakers, and cross-country skiers.  It is located between York and Lancaster Pennsylvania, in Wrightsville, PA on the banks of the Susquehanna River.

As we stood talking, the gentleman gave me stern information about kayak safety; wear a floatation device, be lit at night, take care with the weather, and so on.  Very similar warnings that I had just read the night before in How to Kill Yourself in a Kayak by magicman007.

Upon our return home, after my hours spent paddling around the back side of Gun Powder falls park – the free section near Hammerman Beach area – a young lady approached us in the parking lot.

Her company is relocating her to the area, and she’s trying to find a suitable apartment near areas suitable for water sports, specifically kayaking. She wanted to know what we thought of this apartment complex and where did we go kayaking? Somewhere close? Yours truly went from someone who often explores the area solo to a personal tour guide to a young lady from Ohio.  I drove her past a few areas, including through the Hammerman Beach area.  Her excitement was palpable and she occasionally clapped her hands quietly, when turning corners and seeing the water views.  She took off her flip-flops and stood in the wet sand while we talked about the area in general.

If she teared up, like this Midwest girl did when deciding to live here, I didn’t see it. I was too much in awe of the coincidence of the Ohio girl driving past the Indiana-turned-mid-Atlantic girl at the exact moment we were unloading the kayak.  And how lucky I was to show one of these mid-Atlantic gems to someone in person.

I hope she enjoys the mid-Atlantic region as much as I do. 

Image Credit: Images are mine ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved (Click on photo for larger view)

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  1. Moving, finding just the right place, is always challenging. I suspect your new friend was most grateful for your direction and assistance.

    Would you believe I have never been kayaking in my entire life? Canoes, yes, but not kayaks. My husband just ask me this past Monday if I was up for a kayak adventure. I have to admit to a moments pause (I have a terrible fear of snakes being laid up in kayaks) but, I said yes. After all, they man I said yes to 30 years ago has taken me on many grand adventures and I trust him. However, his first job will be to check for snakes :)

    1. I'm terrified of wild snakes too. And there are so many around here, especially up at the reservoir.

      I think you will LOVE kayaking. Enjoy, and I can't wait to hear about your adventure.

  2. That is a new phrase for me: "Shank's Mare." Very interesting. I need to be doing more Shank's maring. Love that you are enjoying that new kayak. Makes me want to get my kayak wet today. Isn't it a wonderful feeling to be in the right place at the right time when someone needs you? You certainly make an awesome tour guide.

    1. It is a wonderful feeling! (and don't worry, I need to do a ton of Shank's Maring myself!) :)

  3. What a delight of a day you had. Not only getting to enjoy your kayak, but learning from a master, then getting to help a newcomer. How much fun! Besides, it sounds wonderful after I have spent a day of grass mowing in the hot, humid weather! I want a dip in a stream.

    1. Ah, dips in the stream after mowing the grass is such a wonderful thing! I remember the stream on my grandfathers farm. Wonderful!

  4. Sounds to me as though you have missed your calling and need to hunt for a tour guide job! How I love your life spiral metaphor! Ups and downs indeed!

  5. Love your 'spiral' reference and am delighted to learn your Amish term "Shank's Mare". Very apropos, as I've begun a July daily exercise of 'Shank's Maring'..... :) Terrific that you happened to be at the right place & time when a fellow Mid-westerner needed area advice about places to Kayak.


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