Edit ModuleShow Tags

Bonding on the River

Kayaking is a unique way to share some quality time with girlfriends.


This past weekend, I traveled to my friend Holly’s cabin in the town of Crivitz, Wis., about an hour north of Green Bay, for a college reunion. There were eight girls, five guys, and 15 kids under the age of 10 (with some of the college crew absent). Most people camped on the property; we scored a bed in the cabin.

We swam in Left Foot Lake, grilled over the open fire, played lawn games, drank margaritas and rumchata, and spent valuable time catching up, that is, when we weren’t chasing the kids. The weather was just about as perfect as it gets on Saturday, so we decided that just the girls should go kayaking—no kids or guys allowed—down the nearby Peshtigo River. Thankfully we’re all with smart, competent men who get along with one another and understand the value of the occasional girls' night out (or in this case, girls' afternoon).

kayaking on the PeshtigoDuring the first stretch of our kayaking excursion we laughed and joked and talked freely about love and life and loss and the random things that come up when you’re with close girlfriends who have been part of your life since those crazy college days. Sometimes we were quiet as we enjoyed the peacefulness of nature and the lull of the river; other times we were laughing so hard we were almost crying. Either way, it was good stress reduction therapy.

The current was steady, the sun was shining, and the company was excellent. There were plenty of other kayakers and people on innertubes enjoying the river, and cabins dotted the shoreline—all good signs that civilization was right there should we need anything.

We were having so much fun we opted to pass our first possible pick-up point in favor of Plan B—kayaking to our friend Sara’s parents’ land—just a “little” further down the river. The problem was, we grossly underestimated “just a little further." Gradually, little by little, there were less kayakers and tubers and more remote stretches of land. There were no cabins in sight. We had started our kayaking journey at 3 p.m. and didn't check the time again until it was after 7 p.m. How had we lost track of so much time? We had no idea when we would arrive at our new pick-up designation, in 10 minutes, in one hour, or in three hours, and there wasn't anyone else on the river to ask: just eight girls, eight kayaks, and eight paddles going like mad. (In Sara's defense, she had never kayaked that particular stretch of river so wasn't familiar with the route.)

We started losing daylight. A lone eagle was spotted overhead not once, not twice, but three times as if to say, “Turn back. This is my territory now.” My wild imagination kept picturing a black bear crashing out of the woods and jumping into the river. I know, I know, highly unlikely scenario, but what would we do? What if one of us got injured? We were alone on the river. I wondered why we had thought to bring sunscreen and mosquito spray but no First Aid kit. We quickly ran out of beverages, and only one friend had been smart enough to bring food—a lone banana. I have never craved a banana so much in my life.

Even when our paddles were hitting the water with Olympic speed, we were still laughing and joking and enjoying our time together. Our get-togethers are less frequent now that we’re older and have families of our own, and this was truly uninterrupted girl time. In the end, our leisurely trip down the river turned into a 13-mile, 5.5-hour adventure.

I learned valuable lessons that day—the harder it is to reach your destination, the more you appreciate the journey; and the next time I go kayaking, I’m going to bring a First Aid kit ... and a banana.


Gather a group of girlfriends and explore the Twin Cities by water. It's a fun way to spend time together. Here are a few locations where you can rent kayaks and canoes:


Lake Minnetonka Kayak and Paddleboard Rental in Excelsior (on Lake Minnetonka) — single kayaks = $15/hour. tonkatrolley.com


Three Rivers Park District (Numerous locations) — single kayak = $4/for every 30 minutes. Rentals include paddles and life jackets. threeriversparks.org


Lebanon Hills Visitor Center  (Eagan) — $20/three hours. Rentals include paddles and life jackets. co.dakota.mn.us


Midwest Mountaineering (Minneapolis) — $30/day. midwestmtn.com


Lake Calhoun & Lake Harriet (Minneapolis) — $11/hour. wheelfunrentals.com


REI (Bloomington) — single kayaks = $30 per day for members; $40 for non-members. rei.com


Tally's Dockside  (White Bear Lake) — single kayaks = $15/hour.  tallysdockside.com


For a full list of rivers and kayak outfitters, visit this Minnesota DNR site.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Twin Cities Festival Spring Babies

If April showers bring May flowers, spring babies bring fun for the whole family

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks

Weekend Activities to Satisfy Your Inner-Child

Check out these weekend activities that will have you feeling like a kid again.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: April

Sue Z.'s picks for philanthropic food events in April will have you supporting women chefs, sipping crafty cocktails, and celebrating Cookie Cart's 30th birthday

A Day Trip to Waconia

Enjoy great views, dining, and craft beverage destinations in this West Metro lakeside town

11 Easter Egg Hunts: From Flashlights to Geocaching

Yes, there's an annual adults-only Easter egg hunt in Rochester—and another for dogs, and another with geocaching, and another that drops them out of the sky. Check out more of the best egg hunts around Minnesota.

Rock Climbing in Minnesota

Rock on this spring at climbing gyms and favorite outdoor spots around Minnesota

5 Natural Wonders in Minnesota

Mother Nature takes the best selfies

Bad Axe Throwing Opens Minneapolis Location

Axe throwing makes its debut in Northeast Minneapolis—and it's not as dangerous as it sounds

Visit Award-Winning Minnesota Distilleries

Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery are all worth the trip

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: March

Sue Z. picks Cochon555 as her philanthropic food event this month
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags