Lake Oolenoy day 2: Kayaking on Lake Oolenoy

Table Rock Mountain - 2
I had went up to Lake Oolenoy in Table Rock State Park the previous day, as told in my last post, to try out my inflatable kayak after a visit to Roper House Complex (Camp Oolenoy). A forgotten personal flotation device, and dark ominous clouds and thunder just to the north put an end to that plan. This day I headed back up here the next morning for another try.

Lake Oolenoy is a 67 acre man-made lake, one of two in Table Rock State Park (the other is Pinnacle Lake). The lake was created in the early 1990s by building a dam near the convergence of Carrick Creek and Reeds Run Creek. No motor powered boats, except those with electric trolling motors, are allowed on this lake, making it a good place for a beginner like to me gain experience.

No thunder and no ominous dark clouds were around this time, just some thin stratus. And I had remembered my personal flotation device this time. This time I won't be denied!

The previous day I had the parking lot to myself. This time I did not:
Lake Oolenoy boat ramp parking - 2
A group of supervised kids were gathered on the boat ramp with personal flotation devices and a variety of kayaks staged for entry into the water.
I am not alone
Just after the July 4th holiday, I placed an order with Amazon for this small inflatable kayak, the Intex Challenger K1. At the time, the kayak cost $69 and I took advantage of their free super slow saver shipping since I was in no big hurry to receive it.
Intex Challenger K1
I attended to inflating my kayak while the adults were shepherding the kids into the water. In just a few minutes, my kayak was inflated and ready to go.

I put the air pump behind the seat, and put my bilge pump, sandals, and camera (in a dry bag) in the front storage. I put a phone I use as my media player/navigation device in a waterproof touch friendly pouch and put that around my neck with the included strap.

I grabbed the kayak around the midsection and walked down the ramp past the group still launching their kayaks. I didn't pay them much attention, but I did hear some approving comments.

After launching, I put the dry bag holding my camera into my lap, so I could take it out when I wanted. Like right here:
On the water
I had already watched multiple tutorials on YouTube on the basic paddling strokes, and it didn't take too long to get the hang of it. I also had recently re-read my friend Tom Taylor's visits to the lake so I had a good idea what to expect out here.

I went around the lake counter-clockwise, on the south end for now, exploring the many coves. The young kayakers tended to stay close to the boat ramp and the northern arm of the lake, leaving me mostly alone down here.

The view of Table Rock Mountain is a nice one, and one you can't get from land.
Table Rock and Pinnacle Mountain
As I rounded the south end of the lake and began heading north, I found this old road bed that must have been abandoned in the early 1990s when the dam was likely built.
Old road bed - 1
A current map overlaid with a 1978 USGS topo map shows this old road:
As I continued north, I noticed the group was leaving the water:
Group is leaving
Then I came to the two islands I call "Duck Island" and "Duck Poo Island".
Duck Island - 1
I found two ducks (that I had seen yesterday too) hanging out on the island. This island and tiny rock island I call Duck Poo Island were both well covered in duck poo.
Duck Island's residents Duck Poo Island
I cruised along north in no particular hurry toward the S.C. 11 bridge.
Going under the SC 11 bridge Table Rock Mountain - 4
By this time, the stratus clouds were clearing out, allowing the sun to blaze down. I got uncomfortably hot rather quickly. Fortunately, the boat ramp wasn't far away anyway. The kayakers were gone, but not their equipment, so apparently they were going to return.

I managed to get out of the boat and took it back to the car for deflation and storage. I had one more stop to make before heading home though. This is another portion of the old road bed behind the Lake Oolenoy dam. It's abandoned now but still visible.
Old road bed - 2 Old road bed - 3
I found the kayak trip a lot of fun and I'd definitely like to come back here again sometime.

The Intex Challenger K1 best features are its portability and price. The kayak only took a few minutes to inflate, including the seat and foot rest. The portability is great for someone like me who doesn't have the space to store a regular, hard shell kayak.

The interior space is rather tight for someone of my height, especially when including the foot rest. Next time, I may either leave out the foot rest or just partially inflate it. I also wish the paddles were a bit longer. Some water still managed to drip into the kayak even with the drip guards attached to the paddle. Storage space is rather limited, making this kayak not suited for a multi-day expedition.

Several Amazon reviews mention the skeg coming loose while on the water, and recommended taping the skeg permanently to the kayak, or attaching a string to the skeg so it doesn't get lost. On the one I received, the skeg now clicks in (before it just slid in) and seemed rather secure. I actually had a bit of difficulty removing the skeg. I don't think I'll bother taping it.

This certainly isn't the best inflatable kayak you can buy, but for the price I'm very pleased. The Intex K1 will do nicely until I can get a better, faster kayak.

This YouTube video from the Get Out With The Kids channel explains the difference between this kayak and the improvements found in the more expensive inflatable kayaks:
For my main use case, visiting area waterfalls at lakes and rivers, this kayak will do nicely. I had plans to visit a waterfall on Lake Jocassee, but I until the weather cools down some I think not!

My photos are in an album on Flickr and an album on Google Photos.

I created this map of the various points of interest around the lake:


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