In good company

Every time we’ve gone kayaking on the Russian River has offered a different adventure—always fun, but always its very own special kind of experience.

Sometimes the river is full of other happy vacationers splashing and floating around, and there are plenty of cheery waves and hellos to other folks paddling by, and we can hear the laughter and conversation of picnickers enjoying a leisurely lunch on a beach or a sandbar. Sometimes it’s a serene paddle on a stretch of river so quiet that the water’s surface almost looks like glass.

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Kayaking on the Russian River near Northwood Golf Course in Monte Rio.

But even during the area’s busiest times, there are peaceful moments at some quiet bend in the river where it seems like we have the whole place to ourselves.

Whether the river is bustling or calm, the scent of the surrounding redwoods always seems to drift down to the water, and the hotter the day, the more refreshing the light splashes from the paddles dipping into the water.

It was a quieter time at the end of last September when we went out for one last kayak trip of the summer, before Monte Rio Parks and Recreation’s beach rentals closed up shop for the season.

We rented a double kayak, left Monte Rio Beach and headed upriver towards Guerneville—the current isn’t very strong in the summers, especially the past couple years when the river has been so low.

Not long after we left, we realized we had some company on the river. We were so excited to see a beautiful blue heron just hanging out on a dock along the river, watching us in the kayak. It was a thrill to see this big, beautiful bird. We stopped paddling, and after a few minutes of observing the heron, and the heron observing us, we zoomed in the cameraphone as far as it would go—we didn’t want to disturb this beautiful bird (and so this shot is not as close to the heron as it might seem. We’d never want to get too close: it’s important to us to admire, but not to disrupt the local wildlife in any way).

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A very zoomed-in shot of a beautiful blue heron enjoying a moment on a dock.

We passed the heron and continued our trip upriver for a couple miles before we turned around and brought the kayak back to Monte Rio Beach. We were a little sore the next day (and a little sunburned—sunblock works better if you don’t just forget it in your bag!), but so glad we went for one last paddle of the season. It’s always worth it, and now we’re looking forward to another amazing summer of kayaking on the Russian River.

 

To plan your own kayak trip:

 

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Look for this sign at Monte Rio Beach to rent kayaks/canoes.

Monte Rio Parks & Rec’s rentals will reopen on Memorial Day weekend—simply head to the building at Monte Rio Beach to rent canoes, double or single kayaks, as well as inner-tubes and beach chairs.

 

There are also a number of other rental companies and kayak/canoe tour operators in the Russian River area, including King’s Sport & Tackle in Guerneville and Burke’s Canoes near Forestville.

 

 

 

 

Part of WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge—Jubilant

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