Outside with Charlie: Kayak/canoe fun

By From page A11 | August 23, 2013


Kayaks and canoes anyone? This is a really good time to launch your kayak or canoe in one of the fine lakes that are close by.

If you’ve never been in a kayak or canoe, now is a good time to change that. They really aren’t that tippy, despite the myths about them. The flat water types come in different shapes, and most are pretty stable.

We’ve tipped our canoes and kayaks over, on purpose though. Both were during classes. The intent was to show what it took to flip one, and how to get back into it if you did.

Only once in the many years that we’ve had kayaks have I taken an unintended dip. That was in about a foot of water while I was getting in. It was hilarious, and further cemented my status as not very graceful.

Where do you launch? We have some great choices, each different, each with an equal amount of beauty and great paddling.

Sly Park is the closest, but if you want some altitude, you’ll have to go to a different spot.

If you are a bit more experienced, Silver Lake, off Highway 88, is a wonderful place to paddle. It sits at about 7,200 feet, and is larger than Wrights. Motor boats are allowed here. Thunder Mountain is at one end of the lake, Plasses Resort at the other.

There are quite a few great places to paddle to and set up your day. The lake also has USFS lease cabins on parts of the shore. From a couple of spots you can see Pyramid Peak off in the distance. It’s just a great place to spend some time on the water.

Close by is Caples Lake. It’s at 7,800 feet. El Dorado Irrigation District built a picnic and boat launch area on the Carson Pass side of the lake, a little over a mile to the east of Kirkwood. It is really a nice spot, either to picnic, relax, or launch your craft. It is a day use area, and is quite well done.

Loon Lake, 6,300 feet, also in the Crystal Basin, is one of the bigger ones, and has a fantastic shoreline to explore. Most of the lake is in the back, or north end. You can’t see most of it from the front end of the lake, and it is absolutely worth the paddle.

The biggie is Lake Tahoe, at 6,284 feet. Our favorite place to put in is Bliss State Park. You’ll want a few nautical miles under your keel if you plan on paddling here, simply because of the size and dynamics of the lake and the size of the boats that ply the waters.

From Bliss, paddle past Rubicon Point, and get spellbound by the rocks there and the changing color of the water as it drops off into one of the deep parts of the lake. If you keep going past Rubicon, you can make your way over to Emerald Bay. It’s a bit of a paddle, but really, you have to do it at least once.

One constant at all of the lakes is that sometime during the day the wind will come up. Sometimes not so much, other times a lot. Very windy days, with whitecaps on the water, aren’t that much fun, and can be a lot of work.

Always wear a personal flotation device, use a boatload of common sense, and have a great time paddling.

Charlie Ferris

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