Looking for Some Outdoor Fun? Try a Ride with Detroit River Sports

    Kyack frontIf you’re looking for something new to try, Michigan businesses are coming up with plenty of great ideas that take advantage of both the state’s great assets as well as our interest in adventure. Whether it is a bus tour, a Segway ride or a kayak ride, there’s lots of ways to have fun outside.

    One great example is Detroit River Sports. A group of us were going on the canal ride, seeing the waterways that weave in between boats and houses in a beautiful section of the city’s east side.

    Part of living in a place most of your life is you start to take things for granted. It’s easy to fall back into a comfort zone, seeing only the same old things you’ve seen before. I wanted to explore more of the city around me. That is why I wanted to take this tour in the first place.

    Kyack 1But that didn’t mean it would be easy. Oh, no. I recommend you lift some weights and get your fitness in line with the expectations. But from the moment your kayak hits the water, you’re not prepared. You’re not prepared for the big water. You’re not prepared to see the city in such largess. You’re not prepared for how much you don’t know about Detroit. And the weather is right in your face. Plus, the Detroit River is cold. Really, really cold. The current is fast. And when boats speed by, they create a fairly large wake.

    That Thursday night, we had two tour guides. We met them at the launch spot in a little neighborhood right off of Jefferson. Missy and Zack were good sports and totally prepared to deal with our amateur selves. They put life jackets on everyone, got our vessels ready with “disco lights” so we could see as the darkness fell and pushed us out into the water.

    We got orientated quickly, practicing our turns and paddle skills as we bumped into one another. A group of teens bringing their sailboat in glided by, giving our groups of novice kayakers hardly a glance. But, we figured collectively, if they could handle the water, so could we.

    Kyack 4Let’s just say that a kayak ride on the Detroit River doesn’t allow for much picture taking. The water demands your attention. The views demand your attention. The people who are fishing demand that you get your act together so you don’t ruin their trip or their lines. You’ve got to stay on the ball or you’ll end up splashing over (which one of us did – but Missy and Zack were rock solid and got us all back on track soon enough).

    Dark fell soon enough, and we quietly glided through the water. Having such a beautiful silence around you as you paddled through made you contemplate more of what you saw – you had to appreciate the scenery. You had to pay attention. You had to have all five senses working. We ducked under bridges. We maneuvered around turns. We were kayak masters in no time.

    I held my own, I’m happy to say. The ride once we got through the big waters of the Detroit River was smooth and surprisingly manageable, even for a newbie like me. My focus was on seeing as much as I could in our short ride (it started to rain, so we hightailed it back to the launch). I would definitely do it again and recommend it to an individual or a group. It was fun, interesting and taught me more about the city than I previously knew. All good ingredients for urban exploration.