The many ways to row a boat

The lake and our cabin’s lower deck.

Ah, summertime. What better place to welcome the solstice than lakeside?

I joined my family up in the Cascades at our family cabin on Lake Cle Elum. It has been a special gathering place for my family for twenty years and is the perfect spot to reconnect. We definitely hit our quota of storytelling, bullshitting, and laughing! Something unusual about this gathering: we had a high concentration of new boyfriends in attendance. Three brave men jumped into the family fray, all made it through gracefully.

Before the weekend, I expressed to my plus one, Court, my desire to go out rowboating. He promptly promised to take me. We got our chance on our final morning at the cabin. Throughout the weekend, he had wanted to prepare, “Erin, where’s the rowboat? Should we check it out?” Nah, I replied. It’s downstairs outside, it’ll be fine! Finally, the last morning, we inspected our equipment… Turns out, not only was the boat incredibly jenky, the longtime home of many insects and dustmites, and probably not watertight, but we were also missing oars. Drat.

Court, skeptical of our trusty chariot.

But how can you go wrong with a name like that?!

Discouraged, we went down to the water’s edge anyway. I giggled in delight as I spotted a Yorkie aboard a kayak bow paddling by. “Ahoy!”, we greeted from the shore. Our new friend (the man, not the dog) called back what a beautiful day it was out on the water, so I shared how much I wanted to be out too but woe is us having no paddles. He invited me over two doors down, where his family had some I could borrow. Woohoo! Crisis averted.

Our hero!

I collected the paddles–a two-bladed plastic kayak paddle, but better than nothing!–and the guys brought the boat down to shore. Court gave it an in-water look-over and deemed it ready, despite the fact we were already taking on water. I daintily and precariously stepped into the boat. Off we went.


The launch and inspection #2. Is that water dribbling in already?

Court, second-guessing agreeing to be my escort, not sure we’re going to make it!

Bon voyage!

The first thing to figure out? How the hell to row a boat with those damn kayak oars. Court began in true kayak style, but the boat was just too wide. We quickly split the paddles and began booking it canoe-style, with me paddling backwards at the bow for essentially no reason. When we “rowed” by our neighbors who lent us the paddles, they laughed and supplied us with additional extenders. With that little extra length, we became a two-man crew. Stroke!


Paddling canoe-style, regular and reverse.

Happy summer! Celebrating with boat selfies… and Court laughing at me for taking too many pictures.

But my favorite way to row a rowboat? Kicking back and be spoiled by a gentleman who takes both paddles and does all the work! Court did a great job of good-humorly indulging me all morning. Including taking requests to lose his shirt. 😉 This boat ride just keeps getting better and better…

Happily spoiled.

After a taxing time out on the water, I was in much need of refreshment. Luckily, Dad is on a potato salad kick and bowls of it keep appearing in the fridge. We can’t seem to eat it fast enough. But I was happy to try. Amusing end to a lovely weekend. I’m excited summer is here, and looking forward to many more lazy lake days in the coming months.

Lunch on the porch. Yum!

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