Monday, June 20, 2016

Kayaking and Camping at West Branch Musquash

This past weekend, was the Father's Day weekend and one my wife had requested 'off' so she could work on report cards.   So with lots of sun in the forecast, I packed up the kayaks full of camping gear took the kids and we headed into West Branch Musquash.    This lake is a wonderful body of water full of islands with lots of sandy beaches.   Parts of the area are dotted with cabins, but for the most part, the side of the lake we were on was nothing but unspoiled wilderness.

Having kids for the weekend on a trip like this meant that there might not be a lot of time for me for fishing.    I did bring a rod for each of the boys, and 2 for me, along with lots of smallmouth gear, but I am honestly a terrible smallmouth fisherman, so I wasn't really holding my breath on catching a hog.

In addition to fishing gear, I wanted to be sure I brought everything I reasonably could to ensure the boys had a great time.    If I brought them out and made them fish the entire time when they really wanted to so something else would be counterproductive in the long run.    So each of my boys were equipped with swimming gear, and three water guns.    Along with the fun of camping and exploring a few islands, there was lots of fun activities to keep the boys busy!

Rowan took the Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 Angler kayak, while Fynn was paddling the Ocean Kayak Trident 13.   I kept in line with the Ocean Kayak brand and rode on the Big Game 2 which has an impressive 650lb capacity.    Between the three of us, we were able to pack everything we could need with space left over!

Getting to the launch a little after 6:00 PM on Friday, we didn't have time to do much more than paddle out and pick out a beach, set up camp and cook some hot dogs over  the fire.    Saturday morning I make sure the boys had breakfast and then left them to play while I went out to try to catch a fish (always with the camp within eyesight).    Fynn had a whistle that he could use should he need to get my attention.

With no fish biting, I came back, got the boys together and we paddled out together to explore some of the lake they hadn't visited yet.   Fynn did do a little fishing, but the most fun on this part of the trip was the kayak water gun fights they boys had.

After getting back to camp I had the boys do some kayak safety training.  Each of them jumped out of their kayaks and then got back in on their own.   For them to know what it feels like to be out of the kayak and to be confident they can get back in is a vital safety skill.   Both of my boys have been in swimming lessons and love the water, but now I feel certain that if they were to fall out they would not panic and get themselves in more trouble.    Next time out, I'll have them try to actually flip the kayak over and see if they can flip it back upright before getting back in, and then have them work together to do it.    The water was a bit too cold to have them give that a try this time around.

Unfortunately the wind picked up in the afternoon and the forecast called for very strong winds overnight and through the next day, so that forced us to pack up a day early to head back home.   Despite only being there for 1 night instead of 2, we still had a great time and are looking forward to a return visit, perhaps this coming September before school begins.