Will Edwinson

Author & Storyteller

Capsizing the non-capsizable kayak


Photo courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff/Freedigitalphos.net

You’ve heard the expression: “Destry rides again!” Well, for the purposes of this column, “The village idiot rides again;” and it’s me. This time, however, I don’t lose the checkbook. I tip over the kayak. It was about 30 years ago on a cool, wind- swept, slightly overcast day in November. I, a friend of mine, and another fellow, were at the annual Harvest Bazaar hosted by the Soda Springs 1st Presbyterian Church. After the doins’ of the bazaar were pretty much over, we looked at the weather outside and decided the rest of the afternoon could best be spent on a duck hunt. So that’s what we decided to do.

We all departed for our respective homes to change clothes and gather up our hunting gear. We agreed to meet back at my friend’s house in an hour. This friend of mine was the proud owner of a new German built kayak, and his family also owned the property where we were going to hunt. It was a cattle ranch with a stream flowing through, and a nice sized pond—a perfect nesting place for the late afternoon and evening duck flights.

Our original idea was to have the kayak along to retrieve any ducks we shot that might fall into the pond, instead of landing on the shore. The company that sold this particular model hailed it as being non-capsizing. However, I’ve since learned through experience, to question whether that claim was meant to cover standing up while on board, or stepping aboard from a rock near the shore from a standing position.

We had been waiting awhile for the ducks to fly into our lair when I decided I wanted to go to the other end of the pond and nestle in a patch of willows located there. It would have been a walk of a few hundred yards around the perimeter of the pond. Since there wasn’t that much activity from the ducks, my friend said he would take me across in the kayak and save me the walk. I thought this was a capital idea, since I had never ridden in a kayak.

The craft was beached a few yards away. We agreed he would go put in, and paddle up along side a certain large rock that was nestled near the water’s edge where I would be waiting. The water was deep enough, here, so as not to run the kayak aground after we were both on board. I waited while he retrieved the kayak and paddled over to where I stood. It’s at this point in time that my brain went dead

He floated up along side the rock where I was standing with my trusty Winchester “model twelve” sixteen gauge shotgun in hand, and the pockets of my hunting jacket full of shells. I gingerly stepped aboard this “non-capsizing kayak,” and instantly, it was upside down; leaving my friend and myself flailing around in three and half feet of very cold water. The fellow who was with us had been observing this whole affair and was laughing so hard he was no help.

Being natives of a more than mile high valley in Southeast Idaho, we knew that the best way to stave off the cold, was to dress in layers, which we had done that day. Unfortunately, in this particular instance, that scenario worked against us. We were soaked from the outside layer clear to the inside layer next to our skin. Let me tell you that was cold. Needless to say, the hunt ended right there and then. We beached the kayak, headed for the pickup and made tracks for home and a hot shower. I t might have been worth the cold bath if we had harvested some ducks, but as I recall, we went home empty handed, too. Reminds me of the old saying: “Are we having fun yet?”

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Copyright 2013 Will Edwinson