Unsung sports: Kayak attack

The Susquehanna River is a good place to kayak. It can be dangerous, though, so always wear a life vest.

The Susquehanna River is a good place to kayak. It can be dangerous, though, so always wear a life vest.

Third in a mini-series about overlooked and underappreciated ways to exercise:

Did you know that the Codorus Creek has whitewater?

It’s true — class II and III rapids. On the old inky-stinky that looks so calm as it meanders through York city.

The lower section of the creek from about John C. Rudy County Park to Codorus Furnace Road, right before it dumps into the Susquehanna, can be a fun ride in a kayak.

That is, if you know what you’re doing and are properly equipped — which my son and I definitely did not and were not when we decided one summer afternoon to run the creek.

First mistake: Not having two vehicles and two licensed drivers. I dropped him off at Rudy Park with the boats. Drove the car to Codorus Furnace and parked, hopped on my bicycle and rode back to the park. If you’re familiar with the area, you know the hills are ginormous. Great exercise, but by the time I got back to the park I was exhausted.

Second mistake: Not having “skirts” for our kayaks that wrap around a paddler’s waist and covers the opening of the boat. Thus, when we hit the first challenging rapid, we both tipped over a little too far, took on water and soon the boats were swamped. Then we had to try to dump 500 pounds of water out of our boats, standing on slippery rocks. Great exercise — but exhausting. That happened, like, three times during our trip.

Third mistake: Not putting phone in watertight, rigid container. My son had his phone in a Glad bag, but it got a hole during one of the capsizings. Result: Trip to Verizon store.

Yeah, it was challenging and exhausting, but we had a great time.

The creek is really pretty out that way — though the water does smell a little, well, Codorusy.

Kayaking has long been one of my favorite summer activities — though prior to the Codorus adventure, it had always been on flatwater.

Ponds, lakes, the ocean, the Susquehanna River, etc.

Paddling can be an excellent upper body workout – biceps, triceps, abs, back muscles, shoulders. At higher intensity it can also be good aerobics exercise.

On weekends when I have the time and weather is good, I like to take my boat out to the river or to Pinchot or Codorus state park, or Lake Redman, and set up a paddling challenge for myself. Pick out a point on the shore and a goal time — then go as hard as I can to try to meet or beat the goal.

On the river, I like to start off going downsteam a distance and then turn and head back home, fighting the current. This is the opposite of what most people do, choosing instead to first paddle upstream and then coast home. The benefit of my method: You can’t quit. If you want to get back to your vehicle you have to keep paddling, and that pushes you to work harder and longer, burning calories and building muscle.

Kayaking is just a great all-around way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in the summer. There are so many great places to kayak in York County — and good outfitters who can provide you with boats for purchase or rental, along with lessons.

So, happy paddling.

Consider kayaking the Codorus. It will surprise you.

Just make sure you’re more prepared and better equipped than I was.

About Scott Fisher

I'm opinion page editor and blogging coordinator for the York Daily Record/Sunday News and Yorkblog.com. Phone: 717-771-2049. Email: sfisher@ydr.com. Twitter: twitter.com/YDReditpage.
This entry was posted in Aerobics, Fitness, Unsung sports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Unsung sports: Kayak attack

  1. Sarah Chain says:

    Christine and I just went down to Shank’s Mare a few weeks ago and plan on trying Lake Redman this weekend. Good tip on the phone protection. Full disclosure: we mostly float — not sure how we’d fare with rapids!

    • Scott Fisher says:

      Floating is good! I saw your post just after I wrote mine – worried it might be too much kayaking on blogs. But, different blog – and I linked to yours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>