OR — The Kayaking Adventures of Beatrice Marx
We spoke recently with Beatrice Marx of Kingston, Washington who told us of her recent six-day, six-night, 120-mile kayaking trip in a Sea Eagle 380x Explorer Kayak down the Upper Missouri River…solo. And she told us why she prefers to kayak by herself.
“When I go kayaking, I’m communing with Nature. I’d rather listen to the birds and to Nature’s silence. I tried kayaking with groups, and enjoyed it, but people talk too much.”
Because nothing else matters
Those who’ve never gone on an extended kayaking trip by themselves may never know the deep attraction this kind of adventuring has, but Beatrice does. “I kayak solo because nothing else matters when I’m on the water and I’m completely connected to my surroundings. I’m simply soaked in the silence of Nature.”
Beatrice did her homework long before casting off. She went rafting in The Grand Canyon. Then, “I started with a hard-hull kayak several years ago,” she says. “I took kayaking classes but felt frustrated because I was afraid I’d fall out of the hard hull kayak and not be able to get back in. I was losing the pleasure of being in Nature because I had to think about falling out. I wanted the experience without the worry.”
Sample of hull material cinched it
So she did what any resourceful adventurer would do. “I did a lot of research on kayaks online. I found Sea Eagle’s site, read your blog, and watched all the videos on your site. I wanted something safe and stable so I could go without being afraid.”
“Because of everything I saw on your site,” she said, “I thought Sea Eagle would be cool. Everything I read was really good. I got Sea Eagle’s free information packet with a sample of hull material and saw it was good quality. I thought, OK, go for it. From then it’s been just a love story – me and my 380 Explorer Kayak I named Meriweather.”
Flatwater to Class III rapids
She chose the 380x Explorer Kayak because, “Other Sea Eagles were too big or were geared to having a motor,” she said. “The Explorer has valves you can open or close so it’s good for flatwater or Class II or III whitewater kayaking.” And she got the EZ Cart to simplify getting her Sea Eagle across the beach and into a nearby bay where she has easy access to Puget Sound.
Then Beatrice tapped people in high places for advice. “I called the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ask if the Sea Eagle was OK for the rivers I wanted to go on. They said yes.”
She did her homework
How would YOU deal with boating solo for days on end, or camping in the pitch black night, alone, miles from nowhere? “I was prepared,” Beatrice said. And she was. “I took 12 gallons of water with me, plus my tent, food, stove, folding chair, sleeping bag, pad, and more.” She estimates that, “between me and my gear, the Explorer Kayak carried 300 lbs. easily.”
“I took a 40-hour course, Wilderness First Responder Training. I talked to BLM people, bought river guides, read books, and looked at possible problems.”
A program manager in computer science at a Washington university, Beatrice is a history buff, too, so her choice of traveling down the Upper Missouri was an easy choice. “I went from Coal Banks Landing to Kipp Recreation Area in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument,” she told us. “Louis and Clark went through there. I had a book on their explorations with me and I made stops where they did. I followed their steps.” Alone on the river, Beatrice says, “I could imagine people crossing the river where I was. This is where Chief Joseph crossed.”
(Editor’s note: As above, Beatrice named her kayak Meriweather after Meriweather Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame. We told you she’s a history buff!)
Beatrice says, “It’s just a love story with my boat, I’m just crazy about it. I go places where I couldn’t go otherwise. I talk about it all the time.” And her story has no end in sight. “This summer, I would like to go more than 200 miles on the Teslin River in Canada’s Yukon Territory, between Johnson’s Crossing and Carmacks.”
You have no idea
What’s off in the future? “First, I want to do the Northern Territories. Then the whole Yukon River, then the Mackensie.” She has her eye on a Sea Eagle FastTrack. “The one with the hard bottom,” she said. “I could carry two people but, honestly, I prefer to be on my own. With a second Sea Eagle, friends could come along in their own boat.”
Before we left her, we asked Beatrice if she had advice for anyone else interested in her kind of adventuring in a Sea Eagle boat. “I think people are worried or afraid” about this kind of adventure. “I can’t possibly fall from this boat, don’t see how it could happen. I never go beyond my capabilities, and this boat is really, really safe.
“Go for it now,” she told us. “You have no idea what you’re missing; you’re going to love it!”
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