1969 GTO Judge
1969 GTO Judge
Keeping Cool in Your Canoe
Oklahoma canoe and kayak paddlers need to
think hard about the heat these days. As temps
have begun to regularly reach 100+ degrees, it
can be tough to enjoy the outdoors.
Of course you should be wearing sunscreen, a hat
and cool clothing. Here are some more tips to keep you cool in your
canoe or kayak so you can enjoy summer in the
Paddle Colder Rivers
and Missouri offer a number of spring-fed rivers
that flow all year long with frigid, crystal
clear water. Expect these Ozark rivers to be
crowded on hot summer weekends. Try to launch
early in the morning or after 5pm and you can
often avoid the heavy traffic on the river.
Oklahoma’s Lower Mt. Fork River offers
colder water than any other place that I have
paddled in Oklahoma. For well air conditioned
paddling, drive to
River in Arkansas to kayak in morning mists
ten foot deep than linger long past sunrise.
Kayaking the White River mists in summer's
deepest heat can be as comfy as a sunny day in
early May. If you luck into some rain, The
River in Ozark, Arkansas offers some fun
whitewater, just dress to get wet!
Head for Northern Waters
Oklahoma Flatwater Paddlers
occasionally make out-of-state kayaking trips.
Higher altitude tends to offer lower temps and
swifter, clearer waters. Colorado and New
Mexico float trips are under discussion now.
Personally, I hate the idea of burning a day’s
worth of gas to get my kayak cooled down, but
nothing flows as cold and fast as mountain
water. Heading north for some summer paddling is
very tempting. Dianne and I have not yet
ventured to Colorado for a float trip, but I
hope to make it there someday. Recently, Dianne
and I headed
north to Kansas to enjoy some lake
kayaking at Santa Fe Lake. It was quite a
ways north, but it sure didn't seem much cooler.
Paddle in the Shade
love to paddle the narrow feeder creeks around
our Oklahoma lakes because they are much shadier
than the parts of the lake more popular with
motor boaters. The Oklahoma Water Atlas is a
fantastic tool for finding the coolest parts of
any public lake in Oklahoma. When paddling your
local channels starts to get dull, consider
inviting some new kayaking buddies to ‘taste the
local flavor’. They will see your local creeks
with fresh eyes. Your leadership will be valued
and your appreciation for your area reawakened.
Oklahoma's slow moving rivers offer more
shade than lakes. We do a lot of
kayak fishing in
the Deep Fork River during the hotter Summer
months. Taking an up-and-back trip
from the Highway 266 boat ramp on
the Deep Fork River is
wonderful... as long as you launch real early in
the morning or near sunset. For a really shady
lake try making a
kayaking trip to Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas.
Caddo Lake is an ancient flooded forest of
massive Bald Cypress trees intersected with tons
of 'boat roads'. More like a river system than a
lake, fish and wildlife grow abundantly.
Lily pads, Lotus, Duckweed and huge streamers of
Spanish Moss fill the marshy bayous of Caddo
Canoe the Magic Hours
Just about any weather site on the web can
provide you with the projected times for
sunrises and sunsets. Launch your kayak a mere
hour or two before these 'magic hours' and you
will find much cooler paddling conditions AND
cooler temperatures. The fishing and wildlife
observation is also at its best close to sunrise
and close to sunset.
Keep your trips short in the hot summertime,
especially when taking new paddlers along. Many
paddlers, like myself, enjoy a good bit of
exercise at the end of a float trip. This can
make it tough on novice paddlers seeking an
introduction to paddle sports.
Gear Up to Stay Cool in Your Kayak
My wife bought me some black shorts and shirt
made by Under Armour HeatGear. I was very
impressed by how cool and comfortable they kept
me during some very hot, humid and sunny
conditions. When I first saw them I thought:
"they were crazy to make them in black, I'll
roast". Somehow the black color on HeatGear
doesn't seem to heat up. It also helps keep you
cooler once it gets wet, without adding the huge
amount of weight that cotton adds once it gets
wet. The wicking action of HeatGear keeps you
cool while transporting moisture off your skin
to prevent rashes. Great for outerwear in the
summer and a as a base layer in cold weather.
Do I get a little change back if you buy Under
Armour from one of the links on my site?
Yes, absolutely...just enough for a snack, not
enough for a new kayak.;-)
There are other interesting uses of
technology to stay cool on the river. My buddy
Al attaches portable fans to the deck of his
kayaks, Hobie offers a bimini top for some of
their kayaks and we all need to be wearing a
good river hat. I usually wear a hat I can
soak down with water to enjoy some evaporative
cooling in addition to shading my face.
Either a Boonie Hat or a Soaka Hat fit the
The White River
Paddling your canoe or kayak at night is an
exhilarating and addictive thrill. Even the
mildest, most familiar flatwater takes on a
seductive and mysterious aura after the sunsets.
Privately owned water-shed lakes dot the
landscape in Oklahoma and cabins like
Resort and others offer access these tiny lakes
or large ponds. The older watershed lakes are
often surrounded by shade trees and they are
usually free of lake rangers and speed boats.
This makes them ideal for night paddling just
for fun or even running limblines at night for
catfish. Dianne and I occasionally do some
night kayaking on the
Deep Fork River
or on Okmulgee
Lake's Salt Creek.
Fireworks Displays Are Often Near Water
kayakers I know look forward to taking a night
paddling trip on the Fourth of July holiday.
Watching fireworks from your kayak in the
middle of a lake is a cool way to enjoy the show
and still avoid the crowds. Most water
regulations require a light on the front of your
boat and another on the back of your boat. For
safer fireworks show night paddling, I would
suggest: paddling with friends,
wearing a PFD (as usual) and leaving the dog
at home. OKC, Tulsa and Broken Bow are popular
Oklahoma town where boaters enjoy beautiful
firework displays on the water. Here's another
tip, use your sprayskirt if you have one. The
lights on your kayak will draw loads of bugs at
night, your spray skirt will at least keep your
lower body protected.
Plan Your Night Float Trip Carefully
Be sure to use a take-out that you can find
in the dark. Returning at night means the
take-out may be harder to find. However, if you
use an official boat ramp there should be plenty
of lights to guide your kayak home. Kayaking at
night without proper bow and stern boat lighting
is dangerous and will get you a ticket.
Let someone who cares about you know exactly
when you are leaving and when you expect to
return. If you are night kayaking there, you
should know if your cell phone is likely to be
operational. Have a communication plan,
just in case of unexpected disaster. Paddle safely.
Night Paddling Requires Light & Lights Draw
|Most kayakers I know use
hat light or helmet light in addition
legally required bow
lights whenever they are paddling at
night. Lighting up a small craft like a
kayak is sure to draw insects from
around the area. Keeping the bugs off
of your face works best with Hat net or head net,
but a good dousing with Deep Woods Off
is better than nothing. I like to
carry the Off in the form of individual towelettes in my PFD pocket. They stay
fresh, they don't leak and they are
there when I need them.
Buzz-Off Clothing -
non-toxic insect repellent for outdoor
adventures, like the cool insect-repelling
Boonie hat below. Great shade and evaporative
cooling have made the Boonie Hat a classic bit
of float trip apparel.