Prolific American poet Walt Whitman wrote, “Keep your face always toward sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.”

Lately, we have had the kind of weather that makes you want the sunshine on your face. It’s been so spectacular that it almost makes the heat of the summer a memory — almost.

A couple of weeks ago, around the first of September when the heat was still oppressive, some of my girlfriends and I decided to spend the day kayaking on the Guadalupe River. I have been a kayaker off and on for sometime and genuinely love it.

There is a calm satisfaction that comes from propelling yourself through the water. The plunge of the paddle, the gentle pressure of the water and the rhythmic strokes all make my time on the kayak very gratifying.

I love the feel of the hot sun on my skin and relish the relief of the cool splashes of water from the paddles.

One of my friends, Melany, had never kayaked before and, to be honest, it took a little convincing to get her to join us on the water that day. The Guadalupe is home to its fair share of alligators, snakes and rapids, and she was a little reluctant to say the least. After a little coaxing, she finally agreed to join us, and when we launched, her worries melted away as quickly as our makeup did on that steamy afternoon.

I have two Ocean kayaks at home — a sit on and a sit in — but they are cumbersome to transport. A few years ago when rental became an option at Riverside Park in Victoria, I happily took full advantage of their services and was disappointed when they closed.

I was thrilled to see that Flow Paddle Co. brought kayaking back to Riverside Park late last year. Now I am only sad that it took me so long to capitalize on their services. Ashley and her team were more than accommodating and made our trip easy and fun. She even took the pictures of our group you see here.

We launched from the boat ramp across from the Rose Garden, and our trip ended just on the other side of The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant. There wasn’t a breath of breeze that Sunday, and we ended up paddling steadily the entire way because the current was consistent but slow.

Our trip ended up taking a little longer than expected but that was just fine with us. We laughed, talked and enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings as we made our way down the river — relaxing in a way you can only do when you are on the water. It always amazes me how serene kayaking trips are in Riverside Park. I always feel like I am a million miles away from the city instead of right in the middle of it.

When our jaunt was complete, the girls headed back to my house where we spent the evening by the pool cooling off.

Katharine Hepburn, one of my favorite actresses once said, “As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.”

If you find yourself wanting to move on one of these next few gorgeous fall weekends, I highly recommend giving Flow Paddle Co a try. You will be glad you did.

After a busy day on the water (or anywhere else) this chicken and pasta bake is the perfect dinner to serve. It is quick and so easy it practically makes itself.

Katherine Compton is an active mother of two grown children and a Realtor. She loves cooking almost as much as she loves living in Jackson County. Katherine can be contacted by email at whatscookingkatherine@gmail.com

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