Three Ways To Get Upstream

So you want to go kayaking but don’t have a buddy to bring along? It’s a problem nobody wants to be faced with, but we all come across it from time to time. Schedules clash, someone gets sick or gets called into work … whatever the reason, having to kayak alone can present problems. The biggest problem is the pick up / drop off situation.

So you’ve dropped your kayak off at the put in and parked your car 5 miles down river at the take out. Look around and remember that it’s moments like this why you need a partner with you – you have no way back to the put in. No worries, it’s a common problem. I’ve outlined three ways to help you get back upstream.

1. Hitch hike
hitch hiking

Photo from Flickr by Stkn

Hitch hiking goes back thousands of years when peasants would beg Roman soldiers for a ride on the chariot. After getting spit on most of the time, the peasants soon learned that if they gave the soldiers a “thumbs up” as they drove by as a sign of good work that they were more likely to get picked up for a ride.

This same method can be applied today. After you’ve parked your car, head to the road and try to thumb your way back upstream. Hopefully a kind local resident will pick you up for a lift.

Here are some tips to help you catch a ride:
– Bring a sign to catch their attention
– It helps if you show some leg
– Don’t look like an axe murderer

2. Bicycle
bicycle kayak

Photo from Flickr by Shebicycles

If you have strong legs and a good sense of balance, you can strap your kayak on to a bike and work your way up the road that way. Park your car at the take out, strap up and start peddling. Riding a bike up hill with an extra 40 lb kayak on the side can be strenuous so be sure to eat a power bar and chug a Red Bull before attempting this feat.

If you reach the put in, chain up your bike or you may never see it again.

3. Shuttle
car kayak

Photo from Flickr by Kshold

This is perhaps the easiest way and makes the most sense … which is why I saved it for last. Call up the local outfitters and clubs to see if they run shuttles. I’m sure you’ve seen the rafting outfitter shacks on the side of the road that haul up 6 rafts on the back of a white van. Well, you need to find out how to get in that white van! Just offer the outfitter $5 for a ride and you’ll be good.

Do you have any tips on how a kayaker can get upstream? Post a comment and let us know.