I first saw the monster about seven years ago when my Australian Shepherd Kix and I were on the return leg of an evening kayaking trip up Lacamas Creek. It was a very large fish – I don’t know what kind, but it was large enough to swallow a Cormorant whole. I wrote a blog about it, and republished here.
Last Saturday, the first day of Spring 2010, sixteen of us from our DoLife Kayaking group braved an exhausting yet exhilarating kayaking expedition hunting for “Massy”, our legendary Lacamas Lake Monster.
No one reported actually seeing the monster, though one weary paddler, who preferred to remain anonymous, reported seeing a “large” shadow moving under one of our explorer’s kayak while crossing the Lacamas Creek “Pit”, a mysterious 310-foot deep fissure popular with local Bass fisherman. I have always wondered about that pit.
Our group is comprised roughly of half experienced and half beginning kayakers, with ages ranging from twenty years old to around sixty, with an average age around fifty I think – I will let you guess who belongs to what age. Needless to say, there was a shortage of off-the-shelf painkillers later that evening in the greater Vancouver, Washington area.
We departed in the morning from Heritage Park, and returned about three hours later.
The weather was more than cooperative for that time of year in the Northwest, a high of 70-degrees, mostly blue sky, with a moderate-but-burdensome East wind for our laborious return leg, providing just enough punishment to help remind everyone to ask me to teach them how to avoid most of the headwind in the future.
A couple of our new kayakers had some trouble in the beginning learning how to paddle efficiently. I admonished one of them to forget all the helpful advice she had received — which was all excellent instruction by the way, and just do what felt right. That little bit o’ barnyard wisdom produced big results and a little smile. A while later I suggested to our budding kayaker, that she should probably correct her heading before she drifted off course, not after, as she was able to keep up with us okay, but was paddling twice the distance as everyone else because of the random zigzag course she piloted. She paddled like an expert for the rest of the day.
There was only one spill, which considering the nature of the sport, and how we go about it, is surprisingly rare. I won’t tell you who he was, but he is married to my youngest daughter. He was caught by the same thing I had warned everyone about three hours earlier, and as it happens, the same thing that nearly spilled Kix and me three weeks earlier. You have to watch out for shallow water. If you are moving at a good pace, and your kayak strikes a snag or a ledge in shallow water at a very slight angle, it can pry you up and over. Well, as if reenacting my short lecture, Mark — oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to mention his name — well, he did just that. He had slowed down, but ran aground, and while attempting to free himself, fell into a deep shelf and rolled over into the water. We both smiled at that.
In the end, everyone survived. Everyone had a great time. Everyone is eager to try it again.