Do you set goals? I hear it’s a great thing to do, but I don’t. I do things when they have to get done, otherwise I am just dabbling in abbesworld, a slacker working on photography with no goals in sight. I am impressed by those who actually set them and get things accomplished as was the case of three friends who decided to take their kayaks from Lake Monroe in Sanford Florida and paddle all the way up the St. John’s River and out to the Atlantic Ocean, now that’s a lot of planning and paddling! My goal today was to remember to take an umbrella in the truck in case it rained after the reception.
Jane Goodard, Delany Dean and Debbie LaFreniere are ‘kayakers’ and friends who thought, why not make this a lifetime memory! They set the gears into motion about how they would go about it, that’s about a 170 mile trip with no motors, only paddle power.
So they got together on the days they could and worked those paddles and the waters of Lake Monroe, kayaking for hours at a time, they had all used kayaks for years. The women, armed with maps of the local rivers, hatched a plan which is logical for professional mindsets to do. They charted and read and learned what they would need in order to navigate a trip like this. It wasn’t something to be taken lightly, these are women based in reality, 2 of them have law degrees, one a Registered Nurse, so there were educated “arguments” going back and forth”: will the weather hold out? How to pack for a trip such as this so the kayak is not literally a drag? Charts and maps and weather reports were all taken into consideration as were the places they would stop and camp and relax well before sunset.
As they journeyed, each night on Facebook we would see photos of their empty kayaks tied up at marinas for the night. Happy smiles at campgrounds or with friends at each stop who offered meals, space and a chance to dine at local eateries. They had a whole support team along the way and that is one of the secrets to success. They even had some motor boats as a floatilla along the way in several places and toward the ocean, I use floatilla with a bit of liberty.
The rivers and Lakes, the ocean winds took kindly to them and offered glances of great beauty. From the water itself to the generous skies filled with perfect weather, soft winds, gentle currents and of course great wildlife. Gators and osprey were pure entertainment. They made this seem way too easy! I was waiting for the trials and tribulations: bad currents; sudden storms, snakes in bottoms of boats, tipped by a manatee, paddle eaten by gator, woes and hardships, but it sounded like a dream trip when the Gods are in your favor: paddle a few hours and then rewarded with great eateries and friends, and a personal goal is accomplished. How does it get better than that!
13 days proved a very lucky number and their goal was met and rewarded with friends who drove to Jacksonville to celebrate and bring them back home safe and sound.
In doing so they spoke about the respect they have for Florida and our waterways, how they must be preserved and protected. I asked Delany if she had plans for something else, she spoke of The Suwannee River on her list. All three were looking forward to other kayaking trips.
It was stellar planning and a bucket list item crossed off! The Sanford Herald newspaper had a front page story spotlighting the journey. They were all smiles at the reception at Jeanine Taylors Folk Art Gallery. The skies above us were threatening, but not the spirits inside the gallery with a perfect hostess, Mary K. Shaw, who is always a huge hug of happiness and was part of the welcome team in Jacksonville. We got to see many photos, the maps and articles and speak to friends and family who came to pat 3 ladies on the back, it’s good we have a small town so willing to show off it’s many talented people. We expect a book from Jane at some point, how’s that for pressure!
The town of Sanford and those who know you are very proud and excited by your accomplished goal and drawing a spotlight upon the luxury of having waterways to enjoy and keep clean and safe for generations to come. And as for my goal and planning: I think about even getting a kayak to navigate the small 13 acre lake I live on, ‘one day’. But for now it was pouring when I left the gallery at 5pm, good thing I had brought an umbrella — too bad it was right in the truck where I left it.
P/S, the rain was hard coming down, but as I drove through the deserted marina the sunlight from the west smiled in the direction where I was driving. The clouds parted with beautiful blue patches and big, white puffs pushing out the dark storm. I hurried home and went into the backyard to watch the sky, sure enough I got a small reward, a quarter of a rainbow despite more threatening storms off to the southeast. I went inside again deciding tomorrow “is the first day of the rest of my life”, my goal is—mowing the lawn, for me, that’s a hearty goal.
Links for Paddle To The Sea
The winds were kicking, a storm was behind me following. Next to Twisted Vine on First Street, a new bar, The Hookah Lounge just opened. I should have my artwork in there this week.
Debbie’s very proud son with The Sanford Herald Sunday article. Delany in white shirt and Debbie in white dress look over a map.
Jane in blue jacket looks over
a great spread. A wonderful afternoon and shout out to artist, Marjorie Branchaud, Event Photographer, GK Sharman, Author and Activist, Bill Belleville, and new friend, Bill Carpenter and Suzanne a great cookie baker — those cranberry oatmeals cookies were classic! I wish I had gotten all three women together, but they were all over speaking to others. Finally I left under thunderstorm conditions and drove home by marina, rain was heaving itself upon me, huge puddles of water by the side of the roads, my own lake is up by over an inch. the lily pads were full of beads, in the shade of a dark cloud looked so dull, but then the sun came and drew out a sparkle across the lake, it reminded me of C. S. Lewis, “Lewis wrote: “One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out.”.
a small reminder of the kindess of sunshine smiling in the face of a retreating storm…