Putting in near the Consumnes River

Kayaking In The Dark

Have you ever gone kayaking in the dark?  I am here to tell you that it is a fabulous experience, especially if you are on a river so you can’t really get lost.

As many of you know I love sunsets. I take lots of photos of sunsets and sunrises. So when I learned of a trip through REI to go kayaking at dusk it sounded right up my alley. You probably also know, if you have been reading my blog over the years, that I love adventure and if a trip has something a little different (spelunking, scuba diving, climbing really high trees) I’m all in. I also love bats. I have, ever since I was little, growing up in the country outside of Eugene, Oregon.  My brother and I would sleep out on our lawn, discuss the stars and when the bats came out, toss things into the air to see if they would zoom closer to us.  Kids!

I’ve had amazing experiences with bats…having hundreds of them fly at break-neck speeds past my head (never hitting me) while sitting at the entrance to a cave in Guatemala, to having a little (adorable) vampire bat climb up my shoulder and hang out as a bunch of us sat around a fire in the northern rainforest of Guatemala. They are such amazing creatures and so necessary for the health of our planet.

vampire bat
Vampire Bat Photo courtesy of Animal Planet

Dusk on the Consumnes River

The group trip with our REI guides, Justin and Yancy, started as the sun was low on the horizon.  We carried our kayaks down to a tranquil slough that flows into the Consumnes River.Bringing kayaks to the water

Launching onto the slough before the Consumnes RiverPutting In

Pushing off towards the Consumnes River the world around was full of birds flying this way and that. A slight breeze ruffled the leaves in the trees. It had been a 90 (F) degree day but the temperature on the river was perfect. Just around a bend sat a Great Blue Heron, apparently unconcerned with our colorful kayaks and soft chatter.

Blue HeronAs we paddled, everyone spread out and just enjoyed the tranquility of the evening. Sooner than I wanted, we arrived at the bridge where we would shortly see (apparently) upwards of 40,000 bats emerge. So as dusk deepened and made the sky pastels, we quietly chatted, maneuvered for best positioning and waited.

Bat Spectacular

We started swatting at a few bugs and I swear that prompted the bats to emerge.

While the massive swarm (of 40,000) didn’t seem to happen in any type of explosive way, it was still fun to be there on the water enjoying nature do its thing.

Kayaking in the Dark

The light eventually became too dark for us to really distinguish them any longer, so we began our paddle back in the ever increasing darkness.

Paddling in the dark

Paddling in the dark

Paddling in the dark

Kayaking with REI on the Consumnes River was really relaxing and enjoyable. I didn’t want it to end, even though we had been out there for 2 hours. Our guides were well prepared (even had lights on their kayaks as we paddled back in the dark so we couldn’t lose them…on the straight river ;-).

If you are a REI member you get discounts on trips like these, as well as the much coveted dividend at the end of the year. REI is an earth-positive company that I have been a member of for years. Here is the first line of their philosophy statement on their website: REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.

One last parting shot.  After bringing our kayaks back up to the truck I took one last photo of our great guides.

REI Bat Spectacular Kayaking Trip – Trip Leaders Justin and Yancy.

Have you gone kayaking in the dark? Where? With REI or another great group? Share in the comments below.

Happy adventuring!

~Gretchen

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