Long distance planning for kayaking can be cautionary instead of enabling, too. Like the note that Ben sent me the other day, saying:
a total nut i associate with wants me to try using his two man kayak as an ice skimmer on the river if he can sort out a plan. if it happens i'll try to send you pictures.
The thought of Ben ice skimming under the High Level Bridge on the North Saskatchewan River is enough to set off alarm bells for both the kayaker and the mother in me. The mother in me has noted that after several emergency room trips, teenaged Ben made a solemn promise for no more escapades resulting in a hospital visit; this promise has been kept only because at age 28 Ben no longer lives with his parents and so we're not his ride to the emergency room.
The kayaker in me sent an immediate response to Ben:
oi, the total nut with the tandem kayak is definitely a total nut. Tell him that a single kayak is better for ice skimming because it's easier to roll when the ice breaks... let him learn how to roll, eh?
and I sent another note after I quit hyperventilating:
Tell your nutbar of a friend that ice skimming is better on a lake (no current) or a slow and narrow canal (you're always close to shore) than on a big river. On the North Saskatchewan, the ice is always patchy and thin in places even when it's thick in most places. The current keeps moving too. When someone breaks through the ice (not if, when) the current pulls him downstream from the hole in the ice. Funny how ice that's thin enough in places to fall through is surprisingly hard to break when swimming underneath...
Kayaks are better for toboggans on land than skimming on river ice.
I'm going to shake off those thoughts of Ben or his nutbar friend in a tandem kayak on the iced-over North Saskatchewan river, and think instead of going to Milk River this August with Lila and Sapphira. They're the best ground crew of all.
Besides, we don't seem to ever get pictures of Ben's escapades... just the aftermath.