Where are you from? Your profession? I am from Council Bluffs, Iowa. I work as a legal assistant for a utility company.
When and how did you become interested in paddling? I have always had kayaking in the back of my mind. Most my life, I have lived on an acreage with horses, chickens and more…but, under “life happens” circumstances, I decided to sell the horses and move across the river to Papillion, Nebraska. That’s when I thought it was time for a new lifestyle. And 7 years later…here I am!
Where is your favorite place to paddle? I have paddled several areas, but the Florida Keys is by far my favorite.
What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip? It’s usually so peaceful, but one incident that always come to mind... I was kayaking and camping down a river in Iowa. We were getting ready to set off the bank and a snake came swimming by with a big fish in its mouth. Something I have never seen before and don’t care to again! The fish was bigger than the snake. I fear snakes. Don’t want to harm them, but don’t want to see them!
How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where? The Florida Keys Challenge in January 2015.
Can you describe a highlight from that trip? I could go on and on about the Florida Keys Challenge. It was my first visit to Florida, so to experience the Keys from a kayak was priceless. Pitching my tent right next to the water, the pelicans, and all the other wildlife were amazing! Breaking a fresh coconut open at Bahia Honda and digging the meat out with my pocket knife…doesn’t get any better than that. (I looooove coconut.) I met so many good people and have stayed in contact with many of them. I enjoyed the stories of hermit crabs from Monica of Florida Bay Outfitters, kayaking through the mangroves and seeing the iguanas in the branches, and the amazing diversity of birds. And the water! Makes me smile when I think back. I can still smell the ocean.
What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip? I would have some paddling experience under your belt for the open water trips…water conditions can get a bit rough (fun for me, maybe not for others). Prepare to meet a grrrrrrrrreat group of paddlers! You’ll love the nightly entertainment. The food was wonderful. I didn’t expect to get fed so well. No worries about gaining extra pounds on this trip…you will burn it off!