In the summer of 2016, we bought a canoe kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. Over the past 9 months, my husband and the kids stitched, glued, sanded, varnished, and painted what became a shiny, red, wooden canoe.
Today, Easter, we tied it to the roof rack, drove the 30 minutes to Claytor Lake, and launched it. There were white caps in the lake — it was quite windy — so it wasn’t really a great day for canoeing, but we wanted to try it anyway.
My husband and son took the first trip, heading downwind. My daughter and I met them at the marina to take our turn in a sheltered inlet. I was sore from all the mulch-shoveling I’ve done over the past few days, but she and I paddled up and down the inlet several times, practicing turns and struggling to keep the boat from being swept into the rocks. After a few runs up and down the inlet, we paddled into a more open area. We navigated around the island that protects the boat ramp a couple of times, got blown off course once or twice, and talked our way through the windy voyage.
“Which way are we turning?”
“Paddle on the left. Yep, keep going. Yes, good. Now right. Good job. Okay, we’ll be out of the wind when we get in the lee of the island. Do you know what the lee is?”
The glossy boat handled beautifully. We need to plan a camping trip to a small lake this summer. I am eager to take it out in calm water, where we can rest and enjoy the silence and the small splish of a paddle in water, in the day among green trees, and at night under the moon and stars.