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Kayakers are playing football in DeGray Lake.

Or maybe they're playing Ultimate Frisbee.

"It's kind of like Ultimate Frisbee and football, put into a kayak," says park interpreter David Armstrong. But they call it kayak football, and you can learn to play it for $5 at DeGray Lake Resort State Park in Bismarck.

The "crash course" begins at 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays on the lake shore by the marina, and before it ends at 3:30 p.m., paddlers will be players.

"It's a chance to get people some proper instruction," Armstrong says, "so it's open to complete beginners." Learn to kayak, in other words. Advanced paddlers are welcome, too, and could sharpen their boating skills in the game, which involves splashy chases and possible tumping over.

Players should wear clothes they won't mind getting soaked and closed-toe shoes.

The park can field 12 kayaks, but most are solos too large for a small child. Kids must be at least 10 to paddle alone. "But if we have some families that come with some younger children that aren't quite big enough to paddle themselves we can still get them involved by putting them in one of our tandem kayaks," he says.

Kayak owners are welcome to bring their own boats, but it still will cost $5. That includes a flat-water kayak, paddle and life jackets.

Reservations are required; they open at noon the day before the class. Call (501) 865-5841.

What's SUP?

DeGray Lake Resort State Park is also one of the first Arkansas State Parks to teach stand-up paddleboarding, aka SUP.

With a fleet of six paddleboards -- enough for an interpreter and five students -- the gleefully titled "Step Up for SUP!" classes cost $10.

There's one at 10 a.m. Wednesday on the shore beside the marina. The one-hour class is meant to encourage you to return and rent a paddleboard to enjoy the lake on your own. SUPs rent for $8 an hour, $20 for a half day and $30 a day.

"We ease our way into it, from getting on your knees, and then graduate up to standing up and learning the basic strokes," says park interpreter David Armstrong.

Children must be at least 10 years old.

Reservations, required, can be placed beginning at noon Tuesday by calling (501) 865-5841.

Hash House Harriers

Little Rock's chapter of the international drinking club with the running problem will stage its 41st annual Great Cross Country Race at 10 a.m. Saturday in Boyle Park.

The Hash House Harriers' theme for the day is "Disco Fever," meaning runners and walkers should wear something disco-related for the costume contest.

That fact is more important than the length of the race, which might or might not be 4 miles, depending on how many shortcuts there are.

The website promises "various stops along the route, where you can shake your groove thing in true disco fashion."

This playful group has been around since 1974 -- one of the nation's oldest Hash chapters. Their routes are marked by an organizer called "the hare" using something temporary, like flour or cornmeal, and designed with fake-outs to punish efficiency. Runners and walkers -- hounds -- have to figure that as they race along.

They call "On! On!" when they think they're on the right track.

The Great Cross Country accepts 60 Hashers, and once the event reaches capacity, registration closes. On Friday, 11 spots remained. Registration costs $55 starting today. That includes a rainbow sweatband and wristband, an embroidered patch, lunch, a photo booth and dance party, prizes for everyone, bawdy jokes and cuss words.

They also meet to play routinely on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons.

To find out more, visit lrhash.com and click on the bare foot labeled "On-On" -- or call the answering machine at (501) 666-4274.

Lost In the Woods

For 45 minutes Tuesday afternoon, visitors to Petit Jean State Park can practice what to do if they find themselves lost in the woods.

It's hard to imagine being really lost at Petit Jean. Park interpreter Sam Files says, "Our trails are very well marked, and also they get so much traffic that they're easy to find." Which makes it a good place to practice.

At 4 p.m. Tuesday, Files will meet all comers in the parking lot of the park's Seven Hollows Trail for a not-scary, free, appropriate for children class in what to do if you were lost.

The approach, which of course begins with fending off panic, includes a mix of common-sense terrain assessment and helpful gear.

"We'll talk about techniques like following water downstream and staying in a more visible area, not straying far from where you originally are," Files says. "But a lot of it will be planning and preparing so that you don't end up in that situation in the first place, or if you do you'll have a plan."

The group will walk a mile at most but will go off trail, so bug spray is a good idea. "More important is sturdy shoes," he says. A surprising number of people show up to park hikes in flip-flops.

The park is at 1285 Petit Jean Mountain Road "in Morrilton" -- the address is in Morrilton, but it feels like Morrilton is far away, downhill and across the Arkansas River. Oppelo feels closer.

The phone is (501) 727-5441; website is petitjeanstatepark.com.

Wild Women Hike

In far western Little Rock, Pinnacle Mountain State Park's open-to-all hikes for women explore park trails from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through September.

Trailheads and terrain differ from week to week, so call ahead or email to find out where to gather and what to expect.

The phone is (501) 868-5806; email is pinnaclemountain@arkansas.com.

ActiveStyle on 06/25/2018

Print Headline: Learn kayak football, paddleboarding at DeGray

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