Wednesday, June 8, 2016

From the Nose of Our Kayak: Chapter 2 What's a Deer Drag?

Hello and welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog, where you'll find an array of creative features from a hand-picked group of creative geniuses. 

Wednesdays on the JLB Creatives Blog are set aside for our blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." JLB Creatives CEO, Janet Beasley, and her husband, Don, have been kayaking for nearly 10 years. Together they are excited to share with you, their awesome experiences that they have encountered. In this Wednesday feature you'll find kayaking stories, scenic nature photography from their outings, and some helpful tips when it comes to maneuvering your "butt sleds" (aka kayaks) on your journeys.

So if this is a topic that interests you, you'll want to be sure and become a follower of the JLB Creatives Blog, and stop in on Wednesdays each week for the latest chapter in Don & Janet Beasley's adventure blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." 

Previous chapters can be found in our blog archives, we began the series on June 1, 2016.


From the Nose of Our Kayak 
Don & Janet Beasley
Chapter 2 What's a Deer Drag?

Woohoo! We discovered Silver River in Silver Springs, Florida. We had heard all about how gorgeous it was, and that the wildlife was astounding. We couldn't wait to give it a go.

But as always, when you're blazing a new trail there are many added...shall we say, surprises?...that you weren't expecting, never thought of, or possibly ignored. Yup! We fell into this category. 

We arrived at Silver River for the first time with our "fancy" plastic kayak (that had survived a trip from Florida to Michigan's U.P. - yes, all the way up to the Lake Superior region across from Canada), a mini tornado on I-75, and busted up - slippery - basically useless roof-top pads...hmmm, maybe there is something to those fancy kayak racks on top of fellow kayakers' vehicles? 

Regardless, proudly we pulled into the Silver Springs State Park and were beyond eager to get started. Then the deflating'll have to portage your kayak about a 1/2 mile to the river. 

Wait, what?

First off, the word portage meant nothing to me, though it meant everything to Don. He looked at me with those wide eyes and said, "I'll explain it once we get parked."

We found a parking space no problem. I jumped out of the car ready for action. Don then proceeded to inform me that "portage" meant we had to carry, push, pull, or drag that beast a 1/2 mile down a dirt, root-infested path. That's when my eyes widened. 

We only did that once. (Did I mention it's great being married to a MacGyver kind of guy?)

With his amazing engineering ability Don researched and finally came up with the greatest piece of apparatus...EVER! Back in the day, we didn't have a lot of extra cash to go spending on a set of true kayak wheels, we had more of a garage sale budget. So once "Macgyver" had his plan it was off to garage sales we went.

Living in Florida has its advantages. For instance, there are a ton of golfers down here. They make the perfect providers of the homemade contraption we're going to share with you.

Eureka! We found some! We finally found the right garage sale that had just what we needed...a hand-pulled, golf-bag-caddy-thingy. One of those metal things on wheels that golfers use to pull their golf bags around the courses.

With a few moderations our new hand-pulled kayak-hauler was up and running in no time. So back to Silver River we went with our homemade kayak caddy. This may sound really exciting, but it wasn't as exciting as we thought it would to be. The kayak still seemed heavy and the cart wobbly. Back to the drawing board for Don.

In a few days Don said to me, "If you are out shopping and find a deer drag, grab it! Oh, and a couple of carabiners. I need those things for the kayak-hauler." 

I thought, OK, like portage, I have no idea what a deer drag is, I assume it drags deer but what does that have to do with our kayak wheely-thingy? Oh well, at least I know what a carabiner is. 

Low and behold, there really is such a thing as a deer drag! 

Don rigged up a way to pull the kayak on the wheels using the deer drag, and we lived happily ever after...when ever we had to portage.
Our first outing with the homemade kayak-hauler being pulled by Don using the deer drag.
"Ahhh - this is so much better than trying to pull
and balance this contraption by hand. I love my new deer drag!"

We made it to the river with ease, and were rewarded immensely 
with the beauty of nature and all it has to offer on the Silver River. 


Our next chapter, Chapter 3, will boast some photos of the very first encounters we had with the unique wildlife and nature while kayaking Silver River for the first time. 

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JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)