Sea Kayaking 101

A Hiker Learns to Kayak
Lady Liberty from the freedom of a sit-on-top kayak

Think kayaking. . . . I know what pictures are popping into your mind, because they're probably the same ones that popped into mine. You know — all those outdoor magazine covers. Lots of blue and green. Sea kayaking along the Baja Coast. Hanging out with orcas in the North Pacific. Padding past ice slabs the size of houses in Glacier Bay. Or shooting the rapids on a white-water river with a couple of Eskimo Rolls thrown in.

So when I was invited to learn how to kayak (I guess they figured that GORP's "hiking expert" could use a little multisport exposure), I had visions of myself dodging boulders as I navigated my way through frothing white water, or paddling past pods of whales in an ocean deep and blue.

Instead, I found myself at Pier 63 on the Hudson River. Okay, you say: That makes a nice picture. The Hudson Highlands and the Palisades framing the photograph; Storm King and the Catskills looming above, some of America's most famous old mansions guarding the twisting shoreline like castles on the Rhine.

Yes, but . . .

Pier 63 is in New York City. Manhattan's Chelsea district, to be precise. My kayaking lessons would take place within sight of the Empire State Building, beneath the gaze of Lady Liberty and the tourists passing by on the Circle Line Ferry.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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