So yesterday the Cosmic Clan went canoeing. This was something I had personally been looking forward to for a couple of weeks since our weekends and days off have mostly been consumed with getting the new house organized.

I am afraid that I have to admit that the Cosmic Clan is not very good at getting up early in the morning. By the time we got everyone up, got things packed, loaded the canoe and packed our snack bag, it was nearly noon. But I figured that would potentially be OK since this was a four day weekend and most recreational types would probably have been out on the lake since Thursday and would be heading back home by yesterday afternoon.

Now, we used to mostly canoe (and fish) at this idyllic lake west of our old house in the mountains called “Jefferson Lake”. That was a mere 30 minute drive from our house and being reasonably remote, it was rarely crowded, even on busy holiday weekends.

This time we decided to go to the closest local lake, a reservoir called “Chatfield Reservoir.” We have canoed there before, but never on such a busy holiday. However, we were running late and it was the closest large body of water. So off we went.

The previous times we went to Chatfield we went around to the back side of the lake where there aren’t any public beaches or motorboat ramps, but you can put in a canoe pretty easily. From there you can paddle out of a long quiet inlet into the main lake. It’s usually pretty crowded with canoe, kayak and inflatable boat users, as well as people who fish from the bank. Yesterday the parking lot was almost empty.

What good fortune!

Or so we thought.

We unloaded the canoe and stuff from the car, loaded up the canoe and launched into the quiet little inlet. Then we paddled out, lowered the trolling motor and off we went! Into the main lake… into the…

Waitaminute. Why is there land up ahead? What happened to the inlet to the main lake… It took us a few minutes to understand that our canoe was now stuck in a stagnant backwater because the water was so low that there was now a half-mile of land between the little “inlet” we launched in and the main lake. A half-mile of mud, dried mud and sand.

So what to do?

The ever-practical Cosmic Wife suggested heading back, loading the canoe back up and heading to the main lake’s boat launch area.

Pfaugh! What nonsense. It’s a CANOE, not a YACHT. We’ll just portage the canoe to the main lake!

portage

So we sent the Cosmic son back to the car to get the canoe wheels. Yeah, canoe wheels.

canoe wheels

So we soon had the canoe pulled onto the muddy bank and put the wheels on. At about this point the Cosmic Wife volunteered to drive the car to the main lake’s launch area so we didn’t have to haul the canoe across that vast expanse of open terrain TWICE. Also, that meant she didn’t have to help haul the canoe. As I said, she’s the practical one.

The Cosmic Son, Daughter and I forged ahead! Into the mud. Hauling the canoe. For half a mile.

The first thing we learned is that the trolling motor and battery were so heavy that the wheels kept bogging down in the mud. So we pulled them out of the canoe and hauled them separately. By hand. So we’d carry them a couple hundred yards into the muddy wasteland ahead, drop them off and head back to haul the now-much-lighter canoe. That worked great for hauling the canoe. But not so much for hauling the battery and trolling motor. That battery is friggin’ HEAVY.

But onwards we marched!

That’s when it began to rain.

Hard.

Did I mention the mud?

But, luckily for us the mud finally gave way to sand and gravel, which was perhaps .0001% easier to move the canoe through. But that was PROGRESS! Newly invigorated we reached the halfway point in our adventure, and were just getting into the rhythm of the endeavor…

… when the lightning started.

“What would happen if the lightning hit the battery?” The Cosmic Daughter asked.

“Nothing good.” I replied.

But now, exposed on the expanse of what was once the bottom of the lake, we had little choice but to trek onward. So we did.

Roughly 200 yards from the blessed vista of the main lake ahead, we suddenly noticed another canoe in a little group of trees growing on what used to be an island. The canoe was remarkably similar to ours. Including having wheels on it. Yes! We had stumbled upon another tribe of intrepid canoe portagers!

“Hi!” I ventured.
“Uh.” The alpha female replied.
“Didn’t expect to see another group of intrepid canoe portagers here!”
“Uh.” The alpha female replied.
“Which way are you headed?”
“Uh.” The alpha female replied.

So on we pressed.

Finally, with aching hands, shoulders and muddy feet, we reached the main lake and returned to the original goal of canoeing in the actual water! So off we headed to meet the Cosmic Wife on the far side at the boat launch.

“I’m really tired.” Said the Cosmic Son, who had done most of the battery hauling.
“I’m wet and scared of the lightning.” Said the Cosmic Daughter.
“Let’s just go home.” Said the Cosmic Wife when we finally reached the boat launch area.

And thus ended the awesome adventure for the weekend.