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Kayaking Canyon Lake
Tonto National Forest
August 15, 2021
by Lin Chao

On August 15, at 7:00 AM, Heather, Kelley, Carolyn, Lawrence, and I met at Fry’s at Apache Junction, to start our kayaking trip on this fabulous day. After a quick introduction, we got in our cars and followed Lawrence to Canyon Lake. I was bit nervous because it is my first time leading a kayaking trip, and it is my first time visiting Canyon Lake.

The drive to the lake was beautiful, everything was so green, wildflowers were on both sides of the highway. Is this springtime in Arizona? This must be the monsoon rains we’ve had for past few weeks. So thankful for the rain!

When we arrived at the lake, Michelle, Mark, and Deirdre and a few of Lawrence’s friends were already there. We helped Lawrence transport the kayaks to the shore while Kelley was busy pumping up her new inflatable kayak. And Deirdre? She forgot her National Park Pass and she needed one.

Around 8 AM, we were all set and ready to kayak. Wait. Lawrence has not spoken yet. Lawrence is our September guest speaker. He loves the outdoors, hiking, and kayaking. Today, he is going to help those new to kayaking experience new adventures and enjoy nature when out on the water. He went through a few safety procedures that come with getting on the water and what to do in an emergency, such as life vests, which must always be worn when on the water. You must stay with the group. If you are in trouble or your teammate is in trouble, blow your whistle, etc.

Here is Kelley’s Kayak (gray), Carolyn’s kayak (green). [photo by Carolyn]
Quiet lake. [photo by Carolyn]
Lawrence and his Captain Jack. [photo by Lin]
Lawrence is going through the safety talk. [photo by Lin]

It was still quiet at the lake when we launched our kayaks. The water was calm, not too many motorboats and jet skis at the lake yet. We enjoyed the water and the view.

First we went to Tortilla Creek, away from the lake, and it was so pretty and quiet. There were many people kayaking in this creek. Then we paddled to La Barge Creek. At the end of the creek, we circled together as a group and stayed there talking, eating snacks, just chilling out. After a few minutes of break, we were all energized again and slowly paddled out of the creek.

Michelle is enjoying her kayak. [photo by Lin]
Heather is enjoying her yellow kayak. [photo by Lin]
Carolyn is in a green kayak. Guess what color of kayak Lin is in? [photo by Lin]
Carolyn is happy and having fun. [photo by Lin]
Michelle is blocking my way. [photo by Lin]
Kelley is cool as cucumber. [photo by Lin]
Mark is taking a break. [photo by Lin]
Traffic, right going out, left is coming in. [photo by Lin]
We are zeroing in on Kelley. [photo by Lin]
Family fun at the lake. [photo by Lin]
Beautiful blue sky and lake. [photo by Lin]
Love the clouds! [photo by Lin]
Still running. [photo by Carolyn]

We did not see Deirdre, Michelle and Mark, Heather and Carolyn, who told us they were kayaking back to the shore. The lake is so active by now. Boats are coming & going, jet skis were zig-zagging at high speeds, many people were kayaking with their pets, kids were laughing, and music was playing. A great weekend at the lake!

We arrived back at shore at about 11:30 AM. Deirdre had already left for the day. Michelle and Mark were drinking a cool drink and waiting for us under the shady trees. Heather expressed that she wanted to do more kayaking with Lawrence’s group, and Kelly was happy her new kayak’s performance, Lin? She is more confident and maybe ready for more kayaking soon. What a wonderful trip!

Bridge at Canyon Lake. [photo by Lin]
Kelley is happy with her kayak’s performance. [Lin]
Carolyn is still smiling after a few hours at the lake. [photo by Lin]
Haha! Heather is giving a Big Thumb Up, while Kelley and Carolyn working on the kayak. [Lin]
That was a hard work to deflate the kayak. [photo by Lin]
Three happy sisters. [photo by Lin]

Thanks, Lawrence, for helping me lead this kayaking trip! I think I am much more comfortable and confident in leading kayaking in the future. Thanks to everyone who spent the Sunday morning with me at the lake! I am looking forward to seeing you soon on the hiking trails and kayaking at the lakes or rivers.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated August 19, 2021