Blue hike Paddle tours
Members are free and $5 donations from non-members help support our programs. We have a limited number of rental Kayaks available, these book fast, so please register in advance to ensure we save one for you! Please check your email and the Facebook page for last-minute weather cancellations.
Advanced registration is required, especially for rental kayaks, please use one of the the registration options below to register.
Oakland Nature Preserve's Blue Hikes are made possible due to the generous support of Duke Energy!
October's Blue Hike will launch from the MCDonald Boat Launch, and explore the AB Canal!
November's Blue Hike will tour the Alexander Springs run, all the way up to the headwaters of Alexander Springs
December's Blue Hike is a special Archaeology themed paddle, led by Emma Dietrich of FPAN on Lake Apopka
spring Blue Hikes to be announced soon!
Some photos from previous Blue Hike Paddle Tours......
OUR Blue Hike Paddle Tours are MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE GENEROUS FUNDING FROM
Tips for new Paddlers
ONP supplies the following with rental kayaks:
· Coastguard-approved PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
To be more comfortable on your paddling trip, it is advised to bring:
· Sun-shielding hat
· Sunglasses (with a retainer)
· Plenty of water
· Light snacks for energy (ONP’s paddle tours typically last 2-3 hours on the water)
· You are welcome to leave your phone, keys, and other valuables in the team leaders vehicle, and each also carries a dry bag on the tour.
Most paddlers choose to wear:
· A short- or long-sleeve rash guard (or any non-cotton) top
· Neoprene footwear
· Lightweight fleece or rain jacket or vest (weather-dependent)
· Eco-friendly sunscreen and bug repellent (though bugs are very rarely a problem on our trips).
To paddle comfortably and efficiently:
· Snug your lower back firmly against the seatback. For balance and power, you want to sit upright.
· Make sure your bent knees are in firm contact with each side of the cockpit, in the footpegs. This will help to control the side-to-side motion of the kayak as you paddle. Your fit should be snug but not so jammed-in that you can’t get out if you capsize.
Holding your paddle:
· Start by grasping your paddle with both hands and centering your paddle shaft across the top of your head. Your hands will be in the proper starting position when your elbows are bent at 90 degrees.
· Make sure the paddle blades are in line with each other. Look at each paddle blade and make sure the longer edge of each blade is on the top, and the scooped side is facing you. This is the correct position to help your blades move smoothly and efficiently through the water.
Oakland Nature Preserve’s paddling trips are planned with new paddlers in mind:
· The sites we paddle are easy to access, launch from, and navigate.
· We do not go long distances, or out during windy or rough water conditions.
· Our outings are fun, not extreme expeditions. For an optimum fun to fatigue ratio, we keep paddling time under two hours and stop regularly to observe wildlife and rest.
· Our trips have multiple team leaders, so you can paddle at a pace that is comfortable to you.
Note: We require that all paddlers on our Blue Hikes wear their PFDs when paddling, regardless of whether or not you are a good swimmer.