5 Reasons to Kayak This Summer

Kayaking is a great way to spend time outdoors and relax during these long summer days. If you’re new to kayaking, or need some motivation to hit the water, check out my top 5 reasons to kayak this summer.

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1. It’s pretty easy for beginners.

If you choose a slow-moving creek or lake, kayaking isn’t too difficult for an inexperienced person. This is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. Unlike some outdoor activities that have really challenged me (such as mountain biking or trail running), kayaking is pretty straightforward. I don’t mind being challenged, but it can be nice to jump into an outdoor sport that’s relaxing from the very beginning!

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A kayak selfie from last summer. Yes, I’m wearing a life jacket because I’m pretty accident-prone.

2. It can give you a unique view of nature.

When you’re on the water, you can get a view of nature you wouldn’t otherwise see. Water brings many animals together and it’s often a hotbed of activity for birds, bears, turtles, snakes, deer and more. Depending on the creek or river you’re kayaking, you can paddle through some pretty pristine and remote stretches of water. Animals who are usually too scared of people may appear in these quieter waterways. I will always remember when I saw a beautiful bald eagle fly right out in front of me during a particularly quiet stretch of river.

3. You can stop, refresh and picnic at any time.

If you’re ready to take a break, simply pull the kayak over and explore the land for a bit. It’s very nice to rest and recharge for a few minutes. Kayaking is a great sport for packing a picnic lunch and making the adventure an all-day affair.

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4. It’s not overwhelming exercise, but it’s still exercise!

Unlike some more physically demanding hobbies that leave you satisfied but totally exhausted, kayaking is a perfect mix of relaxation (beer on the river, anyone?) and activity. If you’re looking for a day off from the gym, but still want to be moderately active, kayaking could be the middle-ground that you’re looking for. (In the above photo, Alan is posing in his kayak last summer.)

5. Kayaking is relatively affordable, especially if you own a kayak.

In many parks and waterways around the United States, there’s no fee to kayak. If you don’t have your own equipment, renting does cost a fee, but it’s usually affordable. Also, I’ve found it can be worth it to pay for a “pick up” service to transport you and your kayak back upstream when you’re finished for the day! Otherwise, you’ll have to plan ahead and have a car waiting downstream.

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You just can’t beat that view! Why do you love kayaking? Let me know in the comments below!

Kinzua Bridge State Park

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

I’m not sure who said that, but my visit to the Kinzua Bridge State Park definitely filled my “excited fear” quota for the day!

Kinzua Bridge State Park is located in Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania. It spans 329 beautiful acres in McKean County. I’m not usually too fearful of heights, but this bridge overlook admittedly made me feel a bit dizzy. I had to walk at my own pace while Alan and Maddie took the lead.

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The Kinzua Bridge was built in 1882 and was once described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” It was 301 feet tall, over 2,000 feet long, and made of wrought iron. In 2003, a tornado whipped through the area and destroyed 11 of the 20 bridge towers. For me, seeing the collapsed iron supports still laying in the valley was the eeriest part of the visit. It was a sobering reminder of the sheer force of nature and it’s no wonder it was featured on the television show Life After People.

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The mangled, collapsed supports are still laying in the valley where a tornado struck in 2003.

The overlook is beautifully created from the original bridge with the tracks still intact. The end of the overlook has a very cool clear floor where you can see to the bottom. I was surprised Maddie walked onto the glass, but then again, she does follow Alan everywhere!

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After exploring the views from the overlook, we headed down to the Kinzua Creek Trail that lead beside the bridge and down into the valley. It was amazing to hike the valley so close to the fallen structures.

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I would highly recommend the Kinzua Bridge State Park for anyone visiting the area. I loved how the park was a mix of adventure, excitement, and history. Seeing this fallen architectural marvel was an ominous reminder of the power of nature. It’s an experience I know I won’t soon forget.

For more information, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website.