How to: Snack by Kayak


Published in Misadventures, January 4 2017
Photography by Christine Armbruster

The first time Christine and I went kayak camping, we paddled eight miles out into water so calm, still as silk bed sheets, that we heard the humpback whale slice through the surface of the water before we saw her.

Too bad we didn’t check the weather.

The next morning, the radio was repeating a forecast of thirty-knot headwinds, four-foot seas, and a small craft advisory on Prince William Sound. It surely would have scared us off the water, if we’d been listening to the radio. I had met Christine just a few weeks earlier as her guide on a kayak excursion, so she did have some reason to trust me when I proposed this overnight adventure, but as we paddled back in waves big enough to threaten capsize, I could see—even with my demented half/double vision from having lost a contact lens at our campsite the night before—that her face was set in grim questioning and her faith was waning.

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But after paddling twice as long and twice as hard as we had to get out, we did make it back to harbor. And as such, we did the only human thing possible: forgot about the difficulty of the paddle and remembered the upside — namely, those kickass burritos we’d made for dinner. We’d packed in cheese and salad and raw bacon and fresh avocados and even that most scorned of all backpacker’s foods, canned beans, and had been much impressed by this distinct advantage of kayak-packing over backpacking. The only limit to what we could pack was the size of our boats, and the fact that they sat in cold water most of the day allowed us to unscientifically put to rest our heebie-jeebies about packing uncooked meat.

Still alive and ever-hungry, five months later we devised a new trip. Christine would drive up from Utah to my new home in Western Washington and we would kayak the coastline of nearby Lopez Island while feasting exclusively on meat, eggs, cheese, breads, fruits and veggies…all grown or raised or made on the island. Basically, we would turn our kayaks into floating refrigerators, and eat high off the hog in local food, gourmet, camp-cooked heaven.

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writingJen Kinneytravel