Adventure of the Week- Walnut Point State Park


Walnut Point State Park Lake (Adriana Hernandez-Santana)

Adriana Hernadez-Santana, Editor-in-Chief

Summer can mean many things for many people. For some it’s going to the beach with friends, while for others, it’s bumming it while playing your favorite video games. For a former athlete such as myself, it always meant training for soccer and taking summer classes. 

AKA- no break time. 

But for individuals living in Oakland, or anyone that is in desperate need of a break, there’s a park that has something for every nature enthusiast to enjoy. 

Walnut Point Restaurant and Kayak Concession Stand Entrance. (Adriana Hernandez-Santana)

The Walnut Point State Park, located in Oakland, was actually the first pioneer settlement for Douglas County back in the 1830’s. The park itself never officially opened until over a century later in 1968.  

This park has a ton of different nature-based activities that fit everyone’s needs. From fishing to hunting, camping to hiking, and even cross-country skiing, this place is really able to do it all. 

Now here’s a fun fact about me. Nature can quite literally kill me.

As someone who has super bad allergies and can get itchy just by looking at a single blade of grass, it’s safe to say that nature and I are not on the best of terms. 

That being said, that does not mean that it is impossible to like nature, it is just really difficult to. Think of it like Romeo and Juliet, two star-crossed lovers that were never meant to be together. 

So, coming to a park like this was the ultimate death wish. 

One really interesting feature about this park is the 59-acre lake, that is roughly about 6 miles of shoreline. 

Yes, the lake is pretty and all, but why mention this? 

Another fun fact, a certain someone is horrible at swimming. Some may even call it “professional drowning,” but I digress.

Today, I ventured into the currents of the water and tried my hands at kayaking at the Walnut State Park Lake for the first time ever. 

Boat rental sign displaying that some colorful kayaks are ready to hit the waters. (Adriana Hernandez-Santana)

Kayaking is very…interesting. The word is very fitting due to the fact that there’s a whole technique to doing this that most suburban folks, (such as myself), would not know. 

You are sitting in this almond-shaped boat that has the balance equivalent to a see-saw, and no straps to keep you secured. And there’s a small section of netting for you to put a few small items in, like a water bottle or a small snack.

But if you have your phone, you need a floating, water protective enclosure to trap your phone into. This ensures that not only your phone is immune to water damage, but that it also does not float away. 

While I would’ve thought about using a plastic bag for my phone. If my phone fell in, it would go down 12 feet deep into the lake. 

Previously mentioned, I can’t swim too well, so that phone would pretty much be a goner. 

As for the process of actually getting places in the kayak, the rowing technique is almost like a 360-degree motion, but they have to be big and small circular rows at the same time, depending on the wind and current’s pull. And it’s a consistent switch from the left side to the right side over and over again. 

It is definitely a workout, that’s for sure!

After finding the rhythm, the task itself is quite enjoyable, almost to where you can forget that your biceps are on fire. 

The shoreline is covered with trees, and the lake has moss and fallen branches scattered throughout the lake. A neat thing about this lake is that there are various paths to journey down, each one taking you down another section of that park.

Depending on which path is taken will determine what the kayaker will see. Sometimes it’s people fishing, while other times it’s cars driving past, or even a ground of geese swimming by with their babies.

While kayaking was all fun and dandy, most people would have quit while they were ahead. But this editor-in-chief is not like most people. Instead, it was unanimously decided (by me) to attempt a paddleboard. 

Mind you, I’m a terrible swimmer. So, one bad move and I’d be crashing into the fish-filled water. 

Let’s do it!

A paddleboat can have the rider either stand or sit on the board and do a similar paddling motion to the kayak. But there is only one single-sided paddle, and your center of gravity is completely lopsided when you’re on the board. 

It’s like surfing in a pool of Jell-o. So, falling into the water a few times was a must before officially getting the hang of it. 

After all that wading around in the water, it was time to eat. Everyone is allowed to bring their own food and have a cute little picnic or try an ice cream sundae over at the concessions stand in front of the lake. This is also where you can rent out kayaks and life jackets too!

Overall, this adventure was definitely something I never expected, but was super fun and would love to try it again. What makes this even more interesting is that I only tried out one thing at the park-the lake party. There’s still plenty of hiking trails, fishing spots, and camping grounds for me to discover. 

But just for today, I think the lake was definitely an experience, and would be great if you want to hang out with some friends and have a laugh while everyone falls into the water. 

Thank you for reading this week’s edition of Adventure of the Week. Check in next week to see where I go next, and what new places I learn about! 

Adriana Hernandez-Santana can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]