" If you were talking of making a crossing, I would be much more hesitant."
I’ve done a Lake Tahoe crossing. It’s 13.5 miles from Cave Rock to Tahoe City. Five years ago, it was easy for me. I took my time and did it in about 3.5 hours. My boat seems to like going 4 MPH on longer trips.
For reference, I have a Tempest 170 and a Greenland paddle. I keep a storm paddle on the deck for emergencies and for fun. I have paddled 16 miles before but nothing further than 10 in the last 5 years. I paddle 5 miles a few times a week. After that 10 miles, I was not exhausted, just a bit sore in the shoulders. I blame some of that on my need to sprint the last 1/4 mile.
It’s funny that I got a few comments about watching out for the winds. I was out paddling on the lake last week (or the week before) during a small craft warning when the lifeguards were telling people that they might want to leave the beach due to the impending thunderstorm. It was fun and I managed to catch a few waves. Yes, it would be a serious bitch to try to make any headway against that wind. I was once out on an 8 mile out-and-back paddle (Sand Harbor to Cyrstal Bay Point and back) when a sudden, and I mean totally sudden, storm blew in and made the crossing difficult at best. Having lived at the lake for 25 year and having paddled here on and off for the last 10, I am probably good-to-go with weather planning. Mostly, I’ll just start at 7:00 AM and by the time the wind comes up, I’ll be down south where it’s a little calmer out on the water in windy conditions (not much fetch when the winds are from the south).
The most critical issue to me is the fitness issue. I know that I can paddle five miles in windy rough conditions - I do that all the time. And I know I can paddle 10 miles and be sore in the shoulders. I’m pretty sure that another 3 or 4 will be a breeze, relatively speaking. That last 5 or 6 to get to the 20-mile mark sounds like it could end up painful.
I’ll find a spot to paddle 15 miles, probably out-and-back along the shore, and see how it goes.
The Catalina ocean crossing is a pipe-dream. I would never want to try that alone, That’s for sure. Maybe after I do this 20 miles on Tahoe, I’ll start looking for someone who’s done the Catalina crossing and wants to do it again.
I think that with being able to bail out early if I somehow get tweaked in a shoulder or just don’t have the gumption for it, I’ll probably just try another 10 to 13 miles this weekend and then go for the full 20 next weekend.
Thanks for all the responses. I appreciate that I can just think out loud about this (fitness) issue and get good feedback.
P.S. If anyone is near the North Shore of Tahoe and wants someone to paddle with, feel free to let me know. Just look me up online by searching for “rectorsquid” and “gmail” and you’ll find me easily.
P.P.S. Here’s a map of all of the routes I’ve taken paddling on Lake Tahoe (and other places). I do the trip from Sand Harbor to Thunderbird Lodge at least a few days a week: http://www.rectorsquid.com/kayaking.php