How I Ended Up Kayaking Backwards Down an Indiana River

Kayak on the bank of the Tippecanoe River
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The morning sun shone bright as I loaded up my kayak, excited for a day on the Tippecanoe River. Known for its gentle currents and scenic beauty, it seemed like the perfect spot for some peace and relaxation. As calm as the water looked though, you never can tell what might happen out there.

I’ve kayaked this river plenty of times before and always enjoyed how it lets you drift along taking in the sights. From sandbars perfect for stopping to admire the views, to wildlife peeking out in the reeds, there’s always something interesting to discover. Of course, you also never know when the fishing might turn on!

Riverside Rentals was definitely the place to go when gearing up for a kayaking trip. Their friendly employees always made the process smooth, and their equipment was top-notch. I felt confident in the kayak they gave me – it seemed like the perfect boat for exploring the river.

Office of the Riverside Rental Company

Little did I know the adventure it had in store. As I loaded up and got ready to shove off, I had no idea just how well-acquainted this kayak and I were about to become – in a less-than-conventional way. But I was too excited to dwell on any potential mishaps. I just couldn’t wait to hit the water and see where the current might take me that day.

The river was welcoming as ever when I pushed off, its gentle currents whispering of a serene trip beneath the trees. Other paddlers all seemed happy too, floating by with smiles and waves as the scenery drifted alongside. Feeling inspired, I set off with confidence, eager to join the dance on the water.

At first, the going was good – I could power ahead with no problem. But try as I might, steering was proving trickier than I expected. Just as I started to get the hang of it, a branch leaped out with a start, aiming straight for my face! Dodging the surprise attack meant a hasty duck and an even hastier paddle. In my scramble, the kayak decided the front was overrated and spun tail-first instead. Before I knew it, backward was the new normal as I faced the way I’d come.

Honestly, paddling backward wasn’t quite what I had in mind when setting out that day. But you know what they say – when one door closes, a window opens! And what a hilarious window it was. Every stroke sent me chuckling at the absurdity of floating downstream butt-first.

Tippecanoe River Kayaking

Other paddlers did double takes for sure, probably wondering if they missed the memo on the latest craze. I just waved back at them, my grin growing wider by the minute. Why not enjoy the ridiculousness?

But you know, strange as it was, there was something liberating about embracing the chaos too. No need to fight the flow or force things – just go with it and see where the current took me, backward or otherwise.

The river transformed into a flowing puzzle that demanded a new kind of respect. I had to feel my way through the blind, reacting on instinct alone to her twists and turns. Hours drifted by in that fashion, meandering downstream in reverse. Paddlers coming up smiled and shook their heads, likely thinking “There goes a soul marching to his own beat.”

And they weren’t wrong! My kayaking style had surely become quite the spectacle. A floating comedy show for any lucky enough to witness the backward ballet in action( yeah, it was embarrassing).

Kayaking - Tippecanoe River

As the takeout drew near, I finally wrangled my kayak around to face forward like a proper paddler for the dock. Stepping out on wobbly legs, I was tuckered from laughing and exertion – but victorious all the same.

So if you ever end up paddling butt-first down one of these Hoosier waterways, don’t fret – see it as an adventure! A hilarious, loopy, one-of-a-kind adventure that only a place like Indiana could deliver.

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