Paddle out to paradise… right in your own backyard!
By, Amanda Moser
My favorite place in Kirksville makes me feel like I could be anywhere in the world. The fact that it only costs very little to be there reminds me that I could only be in Kirksville. On the best days, the view is breath taking, the silence is golden, the company is sparse and my arms ache just enough to remind me that it’s real.
My favorite place to be is in a kayak in the middle of Forest Lake in the heart of Thousand Hills State Park. The marina opens up for rentals from April to October, which seems like a lifetime unless it’s February and the sun hasn’t shined in weeks and I’ve limited my time outside to scurrying to and from my car. The boats aren’t free but the price is hardly prohibitive and the best kept secret in town is that the marina offers half price rentals from 8 am-Noon.
The best way to spend a Saturday morning from spring until fall is to head out to the Park and paddle out to one of the swimming docks. Kayaks are surprisingly lightweight, so don’t be afraid to heave it up onto the dock and dive off (assuming you are a somewhat skilled swimmer, of course.) I’m shockingly deft on the water, so my husband and I usually book two hours on the water which leaves us plenty of time to boat out to the docks, swim for a half hour or so, and paddle leisurely back.
My preferred method of boat transportation is a kayak, but the canoes aren’t bad either. However, my husband will tell you the canoes come with a price which is me singing “Just around the River Bend” from the Disney movie Pocahontas for the duration of the morning. I’m not much of a paddle boater but those are available and if you can drag your eight closest friends out of bed before noon on a Saturday, you can take out a pontoon as well.
If you’ve never been out to the state park and a good number of readers probably haven’t because admittedly, it took me far too long to get there myself, make checking out the marina a priority while the weather is nice. I’m not saying it will replace your vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park this year, but it will probably tide you over until you go!