Yesterday afternoon, Nathalie and I had plans to try out Catch a Canoe before I leave on Saturday! I can’t believe I’ve been here for over seven weeks already and have never actually gone out on the river. Nathalie is a culinary intern visiting for a few weeks before heading home (to Brazil!), and it’s been awesome to be working with her here.
We headed down to Catch a Canoe a little before 1 (it’s only a few minutes’ walk from the main building of the inn), suited up in lifejackets and grabbed paddles to take out one of the two person outriggers. They also rent normal canoes and kayaks, but the outriggers are so unique. They come in all different sizes, and are handcrafted locally out of beautiful redwood. They’re also extremely stable–I was able to stand up and turn around multiple times without us flipping! And they’re just graceful, the way the wood curves in and out to create the beautiful base for the boat. Nathalie and I agreed that as much fun as it was to try it out together, the outriggers also would be nice and romantic for a date, The Notebook-style 😉
Something else that’s great about the outriggers is that the person sitting in back has the ability to use foot pedals to steer the boat! So it actually didn’t matter too much which side each of us paddled on.
It seemed like as soon as we got in the boat the sun came out at full strength, which was absolutely wonderful! We’ve had a lot of fog lately, so it was so nice to see some blue skies. And, of course, we took a ridiculous amount of selfies.
The air just felt so incredibly fresh. I feel that way back at the inn, too, but Big River even further amplifies it. It’s also incredible that the land surrounding Big River is utterly undeveloped. With such gorgeous scenery, you would expect at least some houses lining the river, but there was absolutely nothing. Once we rounded the first bend, leaving Catch a Canoe out of sight, we were totally on our own. It was magical!
We definitely took a leisurely approach to our trip–we’d paddle for a while, stop and take in the scenery and some pictures, paddle again.
We also saw some awesome wildlife–lots of interesting birds, which I’m not too great at identifying, but the highlight was definitely the otters! We first spotted a couple playing around, scurrying from land and swirling and whirling around each other in the water. Then, a few moments later, we saw a smaller, presumably younger otter, who was chirping away at us as we passed, following us with his/her eyes! It was absolutely incredible, and I may or may not have freaked out just a little bit.
On that note, seeing all the otters reminded me of the sea lions that have been a total treat to see at the Headlands here in Mendocino. I’ve never seen anything like that before (we don’t have those kind of creatures on our beaches where I’m from on the east coast), and it always makes me so excited.
After paddling for about an hour, we chilled out for awhile, just floating, and I turned around to face Nathalie. It was so nice hanging out on our own in the water, no one else in sight, under the sun. Big River is actually eight miles long, though we definitely didn’t make it to the end!
And then we began the journey back. Taking the outrigger out on Big River was definitely one of the highlights of my time here. I came back feeling refreshed after the peaceful ride, and energetic, enthusiastic, and recharged to take on the rest of the day. It was so nice being totally isolated from any human development, and a good dose of sunshine and fresh air was exactly what I needed. Now I only wish I had jumped on the opportunity sooner!
This article was written by monica