Happy ‘blue trails’ to you

After Hurricane Sandy, municipalities join forces to connect South Shore waterways by kayak


Editor’s note: The following is Part Four of our ongoing series on alternative transportation. It was originally scheduled for publication on Nov. 1, three days after Hurricane Sandy struck, but was held until now in light of the storm.

As I glided in a yellow kayak across Middle Bay near Island Park on a recent Wednesday, I couldn’t help but think this was a perfect October morning to be on the water. The sun was still rising, but shining brightly — perhaps a little too brightly. I really wish I had brought sunglasses, I thought. It was rookie mistake, and I wasn’t even a first-time kayaker.

I’m 22 years old. I first went kayaking during my senior year at Oceanside High School. A friend and I devised an ill-conceived plan to kayak from his backyard to another friend’s house a few miles away. We paddled out about a half-mile in his two-seat kayak when we realized there was a hole in our vessel, and so my first kayaking trip ended with me in the water and my cell phone soaked and no longer useful.

Since then, I’ve kayaked a handful of times, managing to stay relatively dry and to enjoy myself each time. I’ve always kayaked for recreation, but could there be more to the sport than the simple pleasure of getting out on the water? Could it be a practical means of transportation across the South Shore?

In Part Four of the Herald’s series on alternative transportation, “The Road Less Traveled,” I recently went with two coworkers to Empire Kayaks in Island Park to take a kayaking lesson and to learn about a series of “blue trails,” which are marked kayaking trails that are now in the planning stage and will eventually connect parks, marinas and key sightseeing points, similar to hiking trails.

Hitting the water

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