Paddling season is upon us! Time to get out the canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards. Every year around this time I get an itch to put my kayak in the water and go for a paddle. Seeing ice and snow melt and the greenery come back to life along the shoreline only makes me more excited for the warm summer days ahead.
Interested in paddling, but don’t know where to start?
If you are interested in getting into paddling, I strongly suggest checking out the tour groups at The Wild Center. They offer two-hour, guided canoe trips and stand up paddle board excursions. These trips are the perfect way to get your feet wet, so to speak, and start your paddling adventure.
Three reasons to try paddling at The Wild Center
1. The trips are guided
What better way to get introduced to paddling than through a guided trip? Each trip is led by a Wild Center naturalist and licensed guide who can show you the ins and outs of the boat, share tips and tricks, and help you feel more comfortable in the water. Another plus to these guided trips is that you do not need to worry about getting lost in the oxbow or on the river. With its many twists and turns, the oxbow is a place where it is very easy to lose your sense of direction. I do not recommend exploring this part of the river by yourself if it is your first time out. Having an experienced and knowledgeable Wild Center naturalist to guide you is one of the best reasons to book one of these trips.
2. They provide the boats/SUPs and gear
You don’t have to worry about renting or buying your own gear! When I first got into paddling, I borrowed my mom's kayak a few times before I bought my own. Before I spent money on a boat of my own, I wanted to make sure I was going to enjoy paddling. When you book a trip through The Wild Center, they provide the boats or boards that you need, paddles, and proper life jackets.
3. Explore a scenic portion of the river
The oxbow — a series of bends, loops, and turns in the river — is one of the most scenic and interesting parts of the Raquette River. This marshy habitat is home to many species of wildlife and is a birding hotspot. The fall is one of my favorite times to paddle in this area; when the water is calm, the colorful leaves on the trees reflect off the water like a mirror. If you decide to go on an excursion with The Wild Center, I strongly recommend you bring your camera!
If you have a few people in your group who aren’t crazy about going out on the water, they can still be a part of your journey. Two lookouts over the river give visitors a great view of the oxbow and river without having to get on the water, plus they can capture memorable photos of you while you paddle.
As paddling season approaches, keep an eye on our events calendar for the daily paddling trips The Wild Center will be offering. Pre-registration is recommended. After your adventure at The Wild Center, head into town for some shopping and dining!