Hello, everyone, and welcome back to my blog. Today I bring to you my Bucket List adventure of kayaking, and a few of Pennsylvania’s must-do/must see charms! I was going to blog about this on Sunday, since my first ever kayaking adventure took place on Saturday July 7th, 2018, but I was all tired and tucked out from my residential township’s AMAZING Independence Day fireworks display that Saturday night, and from having so much fun at Knoebels all day on Sunday.
Just a little heads up, if you have amusement parks on your Bucket List, or have any intentions of adding them to your Bucket List, you MUST check out Knoebels. It’s an exceptional and SUPER FUN family amusement park in Elysburg, PA that has FREE parking, FREE admission, FREE entertainment, FREE picnic facilities, and it is pet-friendly, which means you could bring your service or non-service pup along (check out their Pet Policy here for more information)! The park is also rated in the top 10 Best Amusement Parks of America for the BEST FOOD, BEST CAROUSEL, and for one of the BEST wooden roller coasters (the Phoenix, which if I’m not mistaken, is rated #2). A couple more things that make Knoebels amazing are the facts that it’s nestled in the charming, beautiful mountains of PA, which means tons of shade (and lots of places to sit in order to take a moment to eat, drink, or catch a breath of FRESH air), and it also has some nifty water rides (and a pool!), train rides, a cute miniature golf course inside the park, and a massive selection of child-friendly and adult-friendly rides. This all sounds so amazing – right? – but I even have a bonus tip for ya: if you buy any tickets for the rides, but don’t use them all when you’re ready to go home, you can save what tickets you have left, and use them OVER and OVER, YEAR after YEAR.
With that said, I sincerely hope I enticed you to go check out that park and add it to your Bucket List, because it’s jolly good fun that you should not miss out on. Also, there are coal-mining towns all around the area, so there are a few other stuff you could do besides going to the park, such as checking out the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train (#1 of 5 things to do in Ashland, PA). This really is a BEAUTIFUL site to check out on a hot and humid summer day, and a GREAT place to learn about a part of what makes Pennsylvania extraordinary with its anthracite coal mining history. It has a little snack bar, some unique souvenirs to take home, and it’s rated 4.7 on a scale of 5 stars (at the timing of this post), and quite fair in price. I have been here myself with family many years ago, so I know firsthand that it really is a charming place to check out, a little gem of a tour that’s just perfect for the tourist in you, as well as for anyone passing through the area.
With that said, I would now like to introduce you to my experience with kayaking for the first time. If you find it to be strange that I am only checking out kayaking now in all my 30 years on this beautiful planet, please let me briefly explain that I used to be afraid of partaking in ANY type of water sport (aside from swimming), because I have this insanely irrational fear of permanently going Deaf from any ear infections caused by getting water in my ears. I lost most of my hearing by the age of 4 because of unchecked ear infections that caused scar tissue damage, and throughout my childhood I would continue to get countless ear infections from baths and showers, so much so that by the age of 12 I became highly allergic to the antibiotics used for treatment of ear infections. Ironically enough, that is actually the last time I had an ear infection (thanks be to God!), and even more ironic is the fact that I love water and I love swimming underwater even more. Because swimming underwater provides me such an immeasurable peace that I cannot find in any other activity to date, I have found ways over time to protect my ears from getting water in them, which means I am now free to try all water sports of my choosing, and finally get over that ridiculous fear of ear infections caused by water.
Kayaking is the first, and will certainly not be the last, of the water sports I have tried/will try. There are just so many on my Bucket List, but I’m saving a few for when I visit my dad again down in Florida. I am so ridiculously disappointed in myself for not trying kayaking sooner, but better late than never, and I’ll tell you why. Kayaking is SO MUCH FUN. I went up to Mauch Chunk Lake in Jim Thorpe, PA with a great friend of mind – Wendy – who also is one of the many amazing co-workers of mine at our current place of employment in Medicare Programs Health Insurance.
Wendy already owns two single-person kayaks (one is where you sit on top and the other is where you sit inside), and Wendy was kind enough to invite me on such an exciting adventure with her, as well as let me use the one kayak where I sat inside. I had this preconception that kayaks tipped over easily, but Wendy assured me the type I had would be really challenging to tip over, compared to the one she had. We both chose the lake, because obviously I’m a beginner, and the concept of kayaking in a river didn’t thrill me (which is not recommended for beginners anyway). Kayaking on a lake got me used to the feeling of being in a kayak, how to handle it as well as my balance, and how to use the oar when rowing – all without the danger of rapids and such! It was such a perfect day too. The sky was clear blue with not a single cloud in the area, and though the temperature was in the late 80s/early 90s (Fahrenheit), there was quite a breeze while moving about on the lake in the kayaks, with the occasional bout of water splashing inside the kayak and on my legs.
Wendy and I kept our rowing at casual paces, and I’m glad we did, because rowing in a kayaking sure gives your arm muscles a workout! I also found it interesting that when I leaned forward while rowing, I actually went faster, compared to when I was sitting back against the seat in relaxation mode. It made me wonder how advanced kayakers handle themselves when they take their kayaks out on rivers and such. Regardless, it was jolly good fun, and I am SO glad I did that! Again, Wendy, thank you so much for everything this past Saturday. We had pretty good fun, and I will forever treasure this day!
For those of you who are interested in water sports for your Bucket List, you should definitely add kayaking to your adventures! If you don’t have a friend or relative who owns any kayaks, that’s okay, because there are hundreds of kayak rentals all over the place. I’m sure you can find something in your own area with a Google search. Without further ado, I would now like to share a video and some pictures of my kayaking experience, and I have gotten permission from Wendy to share photos of her as well. Until next time, I hope you enjoy the video and all the pictures as much as I enjoyed crossing off this amazing adventure off my Bucket List of 200 Adventures, but I also can’t wait to go again!
Here is the video:
And here are the pictures: