Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Paddlin' in the rain

We watched the local fireworks on the lake where my sister and bro' in law have their cabin. We bobbed around in the famous Windsor Castle, an early '60's vintage homemade houseboat, and enjoyed adult beverages with perhaps 100 other boats that were on the water. The lake was a sea of running lights in every direction. All of these boats were located on the lake, rather than being trailered in, but the next morning there was a light mist falling and exactly one of these 100 boats were on the water at 10am. Power boating or pontooning in the rain flat sucks. Kayaking on the other hand, seems to be pretty damn enjoyable.

Actually the people out on the water that morning were fisherman. They were bundled up in rain suits and looked decidedly uncomfortable, although I couldn't decide whether it was from the rain or wearing the rain suit in 80F and humid weather. I had my Reed tuliq on and the only thing that was damp was my face and hands. Since I planned on tipping over at some point anyhow, a wet face didn't really bother me too much. The rain didn't seem to bother the loons, eagles, and muskrats either and they were probably grateful to lose the rumble of the powerboats and the mindless whine of the jet skis. That jet ski sound always induces homicidal thoughts for me, so the lack of two cycle screaming added greatly to my chi being centered while on the water.

We had to head home since the VOR had to work Monday in exchange for a Friday off down the road. My usual paddle buddies were everywhere but the Twin Cities, including Alaska, Hurley, WI, Colorado, and Kentucky, so I sent out a 'SKOAC Group' email advising folks I'd be on Lake Calhoun at 1:30. It was pretty apparent that the rain was heading in and I got exactly two responses, one which begged off due to intensive expedition prep for an upcoming Silver Islet to Rossport gig. TheManFromSnowyLegs was game but saw the email too late and missed the outing. It wound up being just me and one of the new paddlers that had taken the day long intro course and also made the Lake Superior intro trip to Basswood Island. Other than a couple of canoes, the only craft on the lakes were kayaks and there were a significant number, mainly rec boats, enjoying the afternoon. Thunder was rumbling in the distance but most of the afternoon was spent 50 yards from shore and no lightning was spotted. We got back to the beach, did a bit of easy instruction, and headed for the barn.

If you haven't tried it yet, sneak out on the water during a warm summer rain. It changes everything, from a visual softening of the landscape to quieter, more muffled sounds, a clean fresh smell, and the wonderful exclusivity of having the lake mostly to yourself on the biggest holiday weekend of the summer. Give it a try. I guarantee that you will dry off.

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