Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Labor Day: Paddling at Chester Frost

Last week I wrote about our unexpected cousin's weekend thanks to Hurricane Hermine. To be honest, it's hard to believe that it has only been a week since my niece and nephew went home to Florida.

Over the last seven days, we dove head first into school, fall soccer and swim lessons, and it's been a little hectic around here as we find our groove.

Labor Day was one of the first government holidays that Daniel has had off in quite a while (as I wrote on Monday, he has been working a lot of over time over the course of the last three years), and even with extra kids visiting, we knew that we wanted to do something fun as a family.

Initially we thought we would go for a hike, but my nephew, Levi, kept talking about kayaking. I'm not sure what planted this seed, but it was all that he talked about.

Earlier this year we purchased a Perception Tribe 3-person kayak, and it has been one of our best purchases. Even with little ones, we have used it a ton this summer (we also own a canoe, but it isn't as stable for paddling with small children).

We love the Perception Tribe because you can sit in the middle and paddle solo, or we can easily get out on the water as family of four (and sometimes our dog, Sophie, gets a ride too). And in this case, one adult and three kids had no problem taking it out on flat water.

We decided to go to Chester Frost lake on Labor Day because there is a sandy beach with a good launching point, and the water is shallow enough for the kids to swim when they weren't paddling.

Our crew had a blast, though more than paddling they loved to see how much seaweed they could collect in the bow of the boat. And jumping off the kayak to float in the deep water (seaweed free) was a hit too.

As parents, we have learned to follow the lead of the kids. We want them to have a good time, and if that means collecting seaweed, so be it.

Or in Isaac's case, if he just wants to spend the day sitting in the shade, snacking, we can live with that too.

Isaac has actually gotten a lot better about being out on the water.

He doesn't detest his life jacket any more and as long as he is sitting in the back of the boat he is good to go – he still hates being in the front for some reason.

Flat water paddling at Chester Frost with four kids was no big deal. We picked up lunch on the way and arrived early enough in the day that it wasn't too crowded. If you are looking for a place to swim or take kids paddling for the first time, I would definitely recommend Chester Frost.

When Isaac is a little bigger, we plan to do some overnight paddling trips, taking both our kayak and canoe with us.

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