Moonlight Paddle Retreat

August, 2013

Moonlight Paddle with Trailbound Trips

This August, I was honored to participate in an outing at Independence Grove in northern Illinois, saluting the end of summer with Carol, Kim and 50 wonderful women. This excursion is one of many outdoor adventures offered by Carol’s company, Trailbound Trips. During dinner, I shared kayaking insights for them to ponder on the water. I talked about the things that belong in your boat and the things that need to be tossed overboard. Each woman received a bag of pebbles, to be thrown in the water one by one, representing the things, people, places, feelings, etc. that no longer belonged in their boat. I spoke of the gifts of the evening, the beautiful clear sky, the calm water and encouraged them to engage in the gift of silence while paddling. Paddling in silence, I’ve come to learn, is the holy endeavor of returning to yourself.


After a twilight stroll and a stunning sunset, we headed to the marina to launch in the dark shadow of nightfall. Carol had given us all brightly colored glow-in-the-dark necklaces, which created our own Venetian Night parade as we paddled in single file to the open water. It was another stunning night and at times I heard conversation, but most often silence. I could see the faint glow of the colored necklaces of the paddlers and as I pondered my own thoughts, I wondered what everyone was thinking as we shared this quiet time in the absence of light. The hushed blanket of night coincided with the calming of the mind and spirit and I could feel a shared sense of tranquility.

Towards the end of our time, the spell of the sereneness was broken when I heard someone call out, “There’s a paddler in the water!” “Uh oh,” I thought and paddled over to where the SOS came from and sure enough, clutching to a half submerged kayak was one of our group. Fortunately, another woman had tied the water filled vessel to hers and the capsized kayaker was secure. Soaking wet, but safe. I called over two other boats and we rafted our kayaks together so she could safely pull herself out of the water into my boat. She did a masterful job of getting into my kayak and ever so slowly, we paddled safely back to the marina, two of us in a single kayak. What a late night rescue!

When we all reassembled at the launch, we sang a closing chorus of “Happy Trails to You,” Carol’s signature ending to every Trailbound Trip adventure. A good time was definitely had by all.

Group Shot

“Thank you for your terrific leadership at Trailbound Trip’s moonlight paddle in August, 2013. You are great at relating paddling insights with life lessons, giving us poignant thoughts to ponder while out on the water…and your stone-throwing reflection/activity was spot-on. An added bonus for the evening was when you swooped in and beautifully rescued a capsized paddler. You have a gift for sharing the joy of kayaking and life…and touching women’s hearts. Thank you! We can’t wait to work with you again!”
–Carol Ruhter, Founder/guide, Trailbound Trips

Mark October 18th on your calender. It is the night of the next full moon.

What can you do to make this night special, to open yourself to new possibilities?

Can you find a way to do something different and follow the wisdom of the ancient sages?

Paddlin' On logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *