Kimberlee Bennett & Her Kayak

Kayaking began as another way for my mother and I to spend quality time together. We talked when there was something to say and enjoyed the solitude when there wasn’t. We cherished our adventures—and many wildlife sightings. These memories have become some of my favorites. Since my mother’s death, I find myself appreciating the sport in the same way she did, one stroke at a time, pausing to enjoy (and photograph) the beauty that surrounds me.   

Kimberlee Bennett paddles the winding waters of Panther Run in Raymond. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

Kayaking has become part of who I am. It is something that I need with my whole being, in a way many people do not understand. I would go as far as saying it sustains me. When I load my kayak, jump in my truck, navigate to various destinations and choose my direction as I paddle through waterways, I feel a sense of freedom. I feel confident and strong, physically and mentally. Kayaking allows me to truly be in the moment, in a way I have yet to duplicate doing anything else.

Observing the world from the seat of my kayak puts things in perspective, too. When a bald eagle swoops overhead, a moose watches me as he chomps on grass or a seal surfaces and exhales beside me, my problems somehow become surmountable and my worries become temporary.

Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

Kimberlee Bennett lives in Westbrook and shares her love of kayaking through her blog and her guidebook, “Paddling Southern Maine,” co-authored by Sandy Moore. When not on the water or writing about paddling, Bennett works as a school administrator. Follow her adventures on social media @MaineKayakGirl.

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