Mike and Pam Mote were new to Helena but certainly not new to kayaking.
They were looking for a family oriented kayak club as a way to meet new friends and promote one of their favorite hobbies. When Mike didn’t find quite what he was looking for, he decided to start his own.
Introducing Capital Kayak Club, launched June 18.
“There are a lot of reasons we wanted to start the club,” he said. “We’d like to get to know more like-minded people that like the outdoors, and obviously there’s a lot of people like that in Montana. I’d love to have our members very involved and suggesting events.”
Helena has a community of dedicated paddlers, and the club’s Facebook page is seeing quite a bit of interest. Members and prospective members can attend “Meet-N-Eat” dinners aimed at growing interest and deciding trips. Then members take to the water, including recent paddles at Park Lake and Hauser Reservoir.
“So far, we’ve been doing little day trips and gotten kind of a base group going,” Mike said. “I’d love to get out on some overnights and even see if we can load our kayaks up and go on a two-nighter.”
The Motes came to Montana by way of Arizona, which provides some whitewater kayaking, but Mike is more keen on sea and kayak camping.
A “Light Up the Lake” paddle in August brought a parade of boats strewn with glow sticks to the Causeway on Hauser for an after-dark excursion. Mike say he’d like to make it an annual event with as many kayakers as possible.
“We’re gearing up to some more adventurous trips, but for right now we’re starting small and gauging abilities and skills,” he said.
One surprising thing the club has seen so far are those interested in kayaking but not owning equipment. While the club does not have extra boats and are not trained instructors, he hopes expanding opportunities and potentially purchasing loaner boats is in the future, Mike said.
“Here I’ve found Montana has so many choices and lake after lake and river after river,” he said. “I just hear there are some really great paddles that we’re excited to try.”