Kayaking on Saganaga

I’ve always been one to rack up new experiences with my kids. As long as it is fun, safe, affordable, and there is time—I’m usually up for anything. While I happen to think that fun is a worthy goal, I don’t often take the time to consider the value behind these experiences.

Last weekend Shelby, Daniel and I overnighted on Saganaga by kayak. I worried about the high winds, but we braved it anyway–with the option to turn back. While I prefer traveling through the BWCA by canoe (haven’t found an efficient system for portaging the kayaks)—- I do prefer traveling a windy Saganaga by kayak. As we paddled, I came up with a few benefits of this adventure. The trip enhanced our:
· Strength and fitness (definitely a work out for all of us)
· Confidence–that comes with learning a new skill.
· Perseverance (no other option in the middle of the white caps)—especially Daniel had some very frustrating and difficult moments. Creativity—from a game of “stand behind and catch the bug net as it blows unpredictably off your sibling’s head” to building little boats with bark, moss, birch bark—and sailing them off to sea.
· Relationships.
· Interests—Shelby thinks she wants to try whitewater kayaking—she absolutely loved fighting the high rollers, and struggling up the rapids.

· Camping skills—reading the maps (they each had one), setting up camp, cooking, leaving no trace.
· Experiencing Green Spaces—I’ve read about the incidence of ADHD in children and the benefits from spending time outside in green spaces. The benefits are hard to quantify, and I haven’t seen convincing evidence to show that experiencing the outdoors increases IQ or decreases behavioral disorders, but I see solid evidence in my own children that the time they spend in the woods greatly increases their sense of well being.
· Wildlife viewing—we had never seen such a young baby moose swim from our campsite.
· When I spend that kind of time with my kids I learn more and more about the things that they are thinking, the things they think are funny, the games they like to play.

I’d recommend camping with kids even if FUN were the only benefit I could come up with—we had a great time.