I felt mighty relieved after having dropped off the car. Now we were eventually out of money spending civilisation and could concentrate on the outdoor side of things. Luckily the campground at Lake Bemidji was very quiet and the weather absolutely gorgeous. Sunshine with no cloud in the sky. My biggest fear had been that we would have to assemble our boats in pouring rain, but instead we had perfect weather and brilliant fall colours. Our plan was to assemble the boats, practice packing and then paddle eight miles to the next campsite, but it did not work out that way. At noon we weren't anywhere near being ready and therefore we decided to start our trip with a zero day... So why did it take us so long to get ready?
First of all the assembly of the boat is rather time consuming, especially if you do it for the first time. Brian's Folbot is much easier to assemble than my Feathercraft K1 which took me almost half a day! I admit that I am not really good with these mechanical things and it had helped a lot that I had done a practice run with my friend Wulf in Germany shortly before leaving. But although it took me forever to assemble the boat, I did it all on my own without any injuries and nervous break downs.
But the next step was almost equally complicated: Packing the boat! Although the K1 is quite roomy, the space is very difficult to access and it took a lot of experiments to find out where what fits best. When hiking I can be ready for take off within one hour including breakfast but I doubt that this will be possible with having to load a kayak.
Of course the most exciting moment was the maiden voyage of our boats as neither of us had been on the water with it before. Brian was afraid his boat would sink the moment it hits the water and was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. I was next and was very relieved that sitting in the kayak felt more comfortable than expected.
With the kayak I had gone through the same tedious buying process as with my bike 5 years ago. First you have to have to do an insane amount of research and deal with millions of small technical details. Than you have to part from a big amount of money without knowing whether it is really worth it. And then comes the most frustrating part with disassembling and assembling the whole thing for transport. Having two left hands this is an endless source of frustration for me until I have the while process down pat. At that point I usually regret the whole idea and wonder why I haven't contended myself with hiking. During this while process my mood and motivation are constantly going downhill, but paddling the kayak yesterday for the first time in glorious weather was sort of the turning point. I really enjoyed being on the water and felt very much one with the boat. I start looking forward to this trip now - and today will be our first full day of paddling!