Here's the thing. When you live and work in the hustle and bustle of Dallas, it's sometimes hard to remember what "not concrete" looks like. Fortunately, there are places like Lake Grapevine and these little vessels called kayaks to remind us there's more to life than one-upping your neighbor.
Now let's push off and head out on a kayak adventure for the ages. Or maybe something a little less dramatic.
When I first arrived at Meadowmere Park at Lake Grapevine I was greeted by two things: a ticket booth and a group of teens holding a Dance Dance Revolution. I'll tell you more about the ticket booth in two shakes of a keyboard, but first let's explore these little creatures.
They had their shirts off and then underpants out and they were fist-pumping the day away (see right). They told me they're out there every weekend and I was too baffled to probe further.
Now back to the ticket booth. The lady working the booth looked like she's probably an accomplished crafter and has a home filled with Country Kitsch. She wasn't rugged or gruff at all and I appreciated that. She told me you don't have to pay $5 for parking if you pay for a kayak pass which somehow made me feel like I just hit the jackpot. The 2-hour kayak pass is $20 and that seems to be the going-rate pretty much everywhere. At some lakes it's $25 for four hours, so shop around.
Oh, and if you head to Meadowmere and ask for good places to eat, you'll get a glossy Grapevine brochure. Let's see you top that, Lake Ray Hubbard.
In order to get the kayak key, they Xerox a copy of your Driver's License so, you know, have one of those.
Once you get your key, you pick out a super stylish life jacket, a double-paddled paddle and head to the shore where they keep the kayaks. You might want to let out a "Woohoo" or even an "Eff yes, kayaks!" because that's just what people do you know.
There was a group of three gal pals already down at the shore trying to figure out how to get the locks unlocked. Here's the trick: Each kayak has a lock and a number, but the keys don't match up with the kayak number, they match up with the lock number. I solved a Mensa quiz once, so I'm basically a genius.
Of course, my genius lapses occasionally and I wear my underwear inside out or show up to kayak in running shoes. Long story short, wear footwear that you can easily take off or don't mind getting wet. It's either that or soggy shoe it up for the rest of the day.
The gaggle of girls wore swimsuits and bizarrely cute cover-ups, but you really don't need either of those things to kayak. Your shorts might get a little wet, but unless you truly are Unstable Mabel, you're not going to flip over. Especially in a sit-down-deep kayak like the kind they rent at Meadowmere. There are sit-down in kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks. And I'm pretty sure both of those are official terms.
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Paddling in a kayak is pretty much like paddling in any other boat. You paddle left to turn right, paddle right to turn left and don't paddle at all when you want to stop. If you go with a friend at some point you'll accidentally play bumper boats and they'll get annoyed and you'll laugh because annoying friends is just funny.
Once you're on the lake it really is awesome. It's quiet and peaceful and gives you an opportunity to slow down and notice the really important things like a stinking, rotting fish or a random half-watermelon on an island or, really, just how nice it is to not answer your phone for 120 minutes.
Kayaking is available all around the Metroplex, not just Lake Grapevine. White Rock Lake has rentals and Lake Lewisville and Lake Ray Hubbard have them, too. Check Google for everything you've ever needed ever including a list of kayak rentals in your area.