Yesterday my parents and I went out for a canoe trip. We went to Rampart Lake, and I realized we hadn't been there since the fire that started near the park last year. We also had Haley at the time, and it was her first canoe ride.
The weather was fair, and a little cloudy. Traffic on the way wasn't too bad, but when we got there, we discovered that the boat ramp was closed, and the ticket taker told my Dad that we'd have to walk the canoe down to the lake. It didn't seem to be an issue until we arrived at the very crowded parking lot and discovered that the lake was visible from a fairly steep hill and a small hiking trail. Dad parked the car and got out, walking around while Mom and I tried to calm Dingo from the car ride. He returned, telling us that the walk with the canoe was doable, and we did have wheels to help us out. We untied the canoe, strapped to our new Subaru, and fixed from one slip incident on the dirt road, and prepared to make the hike down to the lake. Did I mention it was a narrow hiking trail? We got down the sandy part okay, but then tree roots were stiking out as we got closer to the water. once we reached a tree, with a long trunk stuck in the ground in front of us, the wheels stopped working, and we were portaging a step slippery root maze with a steep, small hill waiting for us. Mom and I had the back of the canoe, while Dad held up the front. Dingo was in the car, just waiting for us to come back and get him. Once we reached those roots, Mom made a noise and I looked up, shocked to see her tumbling down the hill. While both Dad and I asked if she was okay, and the people fishing, who by now probably knew we were crazy for doing this, stared at us, Mom burst out laughing, and appeared to be okay, saying that she knew how to fall.
Once the excitement was over, Mom went back to the car to get Dingo, and Dad went back to the car to get all the canoe gear and our picnic snacks.
I have to admit it was a lovely sight, not many boats were on the water, and a nice breeze was blowing subtly through the air. I looked over while Mom and Dad were gone to see a family of five with an inflatable raft, and I couldn't help laughing, realizing how that must have been easy compared to what we just did. But I guess that just meant we were stubborn Goldens.
Once everything was ready, we shoved off and began our voyage through the lake. Some of the National Forest had burned since our last visit, and one particular hill had green trees on one side, and burnt wood on the other. The trees were like stick drawings placed on a sky blue background.
It was nice and peaceful, with barely anyone on the lake, and most of the people were finishing. As we went to the other side of the lake, we stopped, took a snack break and Mom and I took pictures of flowers. Once we got back to the water, is was sprinkling. Not too far from our picnic spot, we discovered a lake, with a bright orange bobber shining in the sunlight. Naturally, we had to explore that, and I suggested we claim it, which Dingo did, and Mom named it Bobber Island.
We stayed on Bobber Island for a little while, taking more flower pictures and chatting, then we headed out to go to the other side of the lake, where we saw bicyclists, and one even said hi. We also saw a couple with a dog, who threw a stick for the dog to catch, and the dog stared right at us as if to say, "You're already on the water. You can get that for me."
Once the sky darkened with clouds, it was time for the other adventure: getting the canoe out of the water.
By the time we arrived, we noticed that our "boat ramp" was taken. A blue chair with a fishing pole was right in our way, so we went out and around to find a better option. Only a rock covered shore with big steep steps seemed to be a possibility, so we went back to the clearly unhappy fishers and apologized as we attempted to bring the canoe in to shore. They complained for awhile, but we were busy, taking everything out of the boat, including the dog, and getting ready for the hike uphill, carrying a canoe. The hike up hill was much more successful than the hike downhill, and by the time we finished, the canoe was next to the car, ready to be lifted back on it, and thunder echoed through the air. It looked like we packed up just in time.
While we lifted the canoe on the top of the car, we saw all the people fishing, including the ones we had disturbed, head for the cars, pack up and drive off.
All in all it was a successful day, and we spent more time on the lake than the last time we tried to attempt a canoe trip.
But this is just my side of the story :)
Here's Dad's: http://www.cosmicconservative.com/weblog/?p=10871