Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

Every year we go on a family kayaking trip.  I look forward to it every year.  Some trips are very memorable, like the time my sons climbed a short cliff and jumped into the water below and the year we stayed at a campground that had horrible karaoke music.  But this year, our family kayaking trip was memorable because I almost didn’t survive it.


My daughter couldn’t get off work to go with us, which was a bummer.  But this year was the first time my son’s new wife joined us.

Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

My middle son now has his dog, Pico, living with him for his last year at college; so he brought him and his fiancée with him.

Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

He made a great navigator!

It started out much like any other family kayaking trip.

We took photos of everyone (my son is wearing one of my dad’s hats) and we set off for our 8-mile trip.

Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

Our kayaking outfitter told us about a beautiful blue pond along the river, so we banked our kayaks to hike to it.

Did I mention this river is a spring fed river, and it’s cold!  That’s an important detail, which I’ll explain in a bit.

Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

My middle son and his fiancée are crazy, and they jumped in the freezing cold pond.

Sorry for the blurry photos.  My husband took them with his cell phone while he was in the kayak. Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

I usually only wear a life vest on the parts of the river where the outfitter says there’s a rough area.  He warned us where a challenging area was, so I put it on for that.

I thought the danger was over, so I took off the vest again.

Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

BIG mistake!

This river flooded in the spring and there were a lot of fallen trees.  I paddled around most of them without any trouble.  But I saw I was heading toward one and paddled with all my might to steer away from it.  When I couldn’t, I tried to use my paddle to push away from it, so I wouldn’t run into it face first …

But the push-off made me capsize.

The kayak flipped over my head, and I was trapped under it, with the strong current holding me under the water.

I could see the kayak above me, but couldn’t get a hold of it … and I was out of air.

I really thought I was a goner, but the Lord had other plans.

Suddenly, I felt myself being lifted up.  And it was like the arms of Jesus saving me.

The next moment, I heard my middle son saying, “You’re okay,  you’re okay,” as I tried to catch my breath.

He asked if I could hang on so he could flip the kayak back over.  The only reason I was able to was because there was a branch behind me that had me pinned against the log.

My oldest son came and helped to stabilize the kayak while I got my leg over the branch and my middle son helped boost me back into the kayak.

What I didn’t know at the time was that he jumped out of his kayak to come after me (leaving Pico in it alone).  My oldest son pushed Pico toward the others, then tried to come for me also, but he capsized too.  His kayak was out of the fast current, so he was fine and came to help my middle son save me.

Meanwhile, my youngest son grabbed both of the other boys’ kayaks, and even saved both pairs of their flipflops, my dad’s hat, and my son’s phone!

I’ve always been glad for strong sons, but never more than that day.

I have sore ribs and a banged up lip and arm, but thank God, I’m alive.

The remainder of the trip was easy, but I learned three very important lessons.

Always pray before taking trips (I had).

Always wear a life vest, even if you think you don’t need it.

And always do activities like this with other people.

Those three things might just save  your life.

They did mine.

Lessons Learned on a Family Kayaking Trip

Vaya con Dios,


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  1. Good to hear that you are okay, Angie. Sending hugs your way!

  2. Oh so scary! A lesson learned for sure…glad you are okay!

  3. Stephanie Mudd Carrico says

    So scary, thank heavens your boys kept their heads and dived in to action.

  4. I am glad you had your family to come and rescue you!! We do serve a great God,he does answer prayers!

  5. Jessica Davis says

    I am happy to know you are all right!
    We went kayaking this summer with friends that also make up our bible study group and had a similar experience. It was a comedy of errors that culminated when I found myself clinging to a tree screaming at the top of my lungs at my husband for getting trapped under the kayak. “Stephen if you die on me I will kill you!” was echoing through the trees. I could not fight the current to get to “him” only to find it was our towel and he was on the shore trying not to laugh at me becasue somehow I shimmied pretty far up the tree.
    Therefore, I concur with your lessons and would add one of my own. Never put your husband in a shirt that is the exact same color as the towel you packed for him. 🙂

  6. You had to have been terrified! So thankful you came out with only minor injuries! God is good!!!!

  7. God is great and He is our protector. Thankful you were with family members who were able to help. Live, love and enjoy life.

  8. Marlene Stephenson says

    God is good and am so glad you made it, guess God has plans for you. You have a wonderful family.

  9. Terri Hughes says

    So glad that you are ok. God was surely with you that day. And thank God, for your sons. We should always pray about everything…….God does answer prayers. Sometimes not the way we want, but he was watching over you.

  10. So scary for you and your family – happy to hear that you are ok.

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