Overnight Kayak Adventure at the Lake of Thun
When escaping your everyday routine happens at your doorstep
It takes both motivation and commitment to go on an adventure. I was sitting on the couch half asleep and I had neither. I’d done three hours of physio that day and my foot was looking red and swollen. An overnight kayak trip probably wasn’t about to make it any better.
I slid under my bed and rummaged through my boxes looking for all my lightweight camping gear. The hiking poles fell out of the box and my brain stuttered like it had an idea I could need them but it got quickly brushed aside as I searched for more important things like the coffee machine.
Seb was waiting at the lake for me and helped me to put all the gear inside the kayak before we slid the boat into the water.
The sun that had threatened to disappear behind the clouds slid back out as we paddled away from Neuhaus. The feeling of mobility that isn’t affected by an injury or disability is joyous.
As the sun sank lower, the sky became more illuminated with colour, creating a stunning backdrop to the volcanic like Niesen mountain.
It is only a short paddle to my secret camp spot and that’s one of the reasons I love this region. The simple accessibility to small mini-adventures is almost boundless.
We crossed the lake and I pushed the nose of the kayak onto the rocks and awkwardly climbed out. The sensation of the cold water and slimy rocks on my feet was beautiful, a real contrast to the soft leaves and pine needles as I crawled on all fours up the bank.
The light was disappearing as I pulled my camping gear out of the kayak and started making a coffee with my Bialetti. As I unrolled the tent I realised why I had had a brain fart about the hiking poles, they were the poles that also hold up my light tent.
As I looked around for some similar length sticks I realised I already had the perfect length poles with me, my crutches.
The coffee pot burbled away as it boiled over the metal snout. This small noise is somehow delightful synonymous with camping, for me at least.
The temperature started to drop as the sun disappeared. The cheerful pink and yellows of the evening light became the dark tones of forest greens and blacks.
Dinner was simple, falafel balls with rice heated up in the pot and a few biscuits for dessert.
I climbed into my sleeping bag and clipped my solar lamp into the tent roof. As I sat there snuggled in a minus seven degree sleeping bag I felt more comfortable than at home.
Some of the passages from my book ‘Hiking with Nietzsche’ had really started to resonate with me lately and now they felt particularly relevant.
Nietzsche describes suffering as the meaning of life otherwise there is no meaning. The pain and grief that we experience throughout our lives offer the basis for flourishing as human beings.
Nietzsche is famous for his fairly depressive interpretation of what life is but I find solace in his ideas. I find solace in his thoughts about loneliness and the importance of being alone.
One quote that stuck with me is ‘no one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.
I slept deep and my dreams were vivid. I could only grasp splinters of my dreams as I woke in the morning but they made me smile.
I opened the tent and I felt the wind. The paddle back would be slow. The day hadn’t started with the explosion of colour I had hoped but rather the dull low light overcast conditions that often come with autumn.
Again the coffee pot burbled away and I drank half of the strong black liquid that came out. It was bitter and strong, slicing through the lovely half awake feelings I had had as the whispers of dreams slowly floated away.
The wind was enough to slow me down but not enough to make it difficult to paddle.
Getting the kayak off the roof was easier than getting it back on but with some awkward movements and funny looks from two fishermen, I managed.
I had hardly left home and only been away for slightly longer than twelve hours but it had given me the feeling of adventure. Something different, unique and time to breathe in the nature.
It wasn’t risky, dangerous or really worth telling anyone else about but it put a smile on my face.
Article by Haydon Gray