Monday, August 11, 2014

Kayaking on the Chain of Lakes

With the exception of some rain over the weekend, the last couple of weeks have been really enjoyable summer weather in the Twin Cities: low 80s, partly cloudy skies, and usually not too much humidity. On Friday afternoon I decided to make the most of this weather by renting a kayak and puttering around the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis before meeting up with my mom.

As you'd expect on a gorgeous summer day, the Wheel Fun Rentals kiosk was bustling, but I filled out the paperwork and got a kayak surprisingly quickly. Instead of meandering out into the more open Lake Calhoun, most people went into the tunnel that connects Calhoun to Lake of the Isles. I decided to follow the crowd through the first tunnel. (I'd guess that Wheel Fun Rentals has definitely expanded its paddleboard fleet in the past couple of years!)

After crossing under one more bridge, I arrived at Lake of the Isles, a more irregularly shaped lake than Calhoun with more little bays to explore. It also offers a view of the downtown Minneapolis skyline, only a few minutes away from where I was sitting merrily in my kayak.

I took this trip at a very gentle pace and effort. After the narrow water connection between Calhoun and Isles, people spread out father apart, and there were times when it was completely quiet on the water. I'd paddle for a little while and then let the boat drift while I watched the water or sky.

I paddled under another bridge and entered the little canal that connects Isles to Cedar Lake. Parts of this stretch were very quiet - and so green, with all of the trees reflecting in the water:

And then I was in Cedar Lake! Last time I kayaked on the Chain of Lakes, I was with my family and we went across Cedar Lake and into Brownie Lake. I eyed the beaches on the other side of Cedar and wanted to head over there, but my leisurely pace meant it was almost time to turn around.

I paddled back up the canal and across Lake of the Isles. The closer I got to Calhoun, the more people I saw:

And more sailboats, too!

If you're seeking a paddling adventure in which you may be the only person for miles, the Chain of Lakes on a summer afternoon may not be the right place for you. But even given how many people were out there, it was more peaceful than I expected - and renting a kayak is an easy way to access being on the water within the Minneapolis city limits to spend some time paddling (and drifting) on these pretty lakes. I'm glad I took this little local adventure.

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