From the first time I put a paddle in the water, I was hooked on kayaking. But I live landlocked in Colorado. So I started a bucket list of ultimate kayakers’ destinations — some places I’ve paddled plus the waters I can’t wait to visit!
I love that Lake Dillon, a 5-square-mile reservoir in Summit County, is an easy 90-minute drive from my house in Denver. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s a blast to paddle with its coves, islands and arms, surrounded by the majestic Continental Divide and Tenmile mountain range.
This gem of a lake is a perfect size for a 3-hour leisurely paddle alongside steep evergreen-covered slopes. Just outside of the high-elevation town of Leadville, Turquoise is nearly 9,900 feet above sea level. The view includes the peaks of Colorado’s highest mountains, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive — or look up and see eagles in that impossibly blue sky.
I’m a flat-water kayaker with a hankering to try some easy river kayaking. The free-flowing Yellowstone River is one of those places I dream of going, to follow the river’s path along the border of Yellowstone National Park.
I honeymooned in Kauai, but I’ve never seen the breathtaking Na Pali Coast in person. I can’t think of a better vantage point than from a kayak to take in this wonder — a coast that can’t be accessed by car. Island time can’t come soon enough!
In general, New Zealand is a bucket-list destination for me. It’s got it all: mountains, sea, cities and scenery. But given the chance, I would definitely indulge my geeky desire to see LOTR and “The Hobbit” filming locations. This trip will be the perfect blend of kayaking and playing the tourist.
My ultimate bucket-list kayak trip is a multi-day exploration of the San Juans off the coast of Washington state. All that scenery. All that water. It’s a landlocked paddler’s dream.