Early this summer, after a 25 year hiatus from training for the Josh Billings Run a Ground, I bought a surf ski and began my first experience as a kayak paddler. During my training for the Ironman in my younger years, I had experience with a canoe, but I had never been in a kayak. On Memorial Day, my first time in the water, I quickly learned I would be taking up two sports this summer, kayaking and swimming. For those of you who have never been in a surf ski, it is a very long and narrow ocean kayak, not known for its stability.
I was 10 minutes in to my first trip around Pontoosac Lake in Lanesboro MA, when I not only flipped over into the water, I soon realized the benefit of a very light and fast surf ski, was soon to cause a problem for me. With the windy conditions that day, my very expensive boat was now being blown away toward the rocks on the shoreline, must faster than I could swim to get it. As luck would have, two paddling legends, Mike Dostal – the current US National Champion, and Joe Shaw-the Guru of our region, happened to be cruising by. They saved my boat, pulled me out and sent me on my way with a little advice-keep the round side down!
With practice I soon got much better at staying dry and started to enjoy a rather unexpected benefit. In my job as a Berkshire Real Estate agent, I had always enjoyed our natural beauty while driving all over our county. From the glory of Mount Greylock, to the tranquility of the streams and brooks in our State forests, I always knew we lived in a truly magnificent setting, but this year I found a new love for nature on our area lakes.
There is really something special about an early morning paddle. I have seen some very large fish jump out of the water, with some striped fish in Onota Lake that are close to three feet long! And while I never did see the Eagles on Apple Tree Point, I saw many Herons in the coves of Pontoosac Lake, paddled with the Loons on Stockbridge Bowl, and dodged the Kingfishers near the causeway on Onota Lake. Every day I spent on the water, I experienced something new, often breathtaking, and some truly memorable moments.
Thank you Mother Nature for the beauty of Berkshire County - We are blessed!