Feeling Blue in the Canoe
I wanted to go out on a canoe at Harmon Lake. I spent more time in the lake than in the canoe.
It was a warm sunny 80 degree day. This was supposed to be my second trip to Harmon Lake. On my first trip, I missed a turn and ended up in Washburn. So July 17th was my first time at Harmon Lake.
A friend and I chose to rent a canoe for the day. It did not go well. My friend is much bigger and stronger than I am. He sat in the back of the canoe. I am nearly 6 feet tall and weigh 150 lbs. If I didn't have eyes in my sockets, people would think I was a skeleton. I was in the front of the canoe.
I didn't know that this was relevant. It turned out to be very relevant.
We were in the canoe for only 2 minutes before we both realized we had our cell phones with us. We immediately knew this was a bad idea. We wanted to get back to the shore to put our phones in my car. We couldn't do it. We tried and tried to turn the canoe around and we failed miserably.
Instead the wind and the current dragged us to the east side of the lake where there were rocks. We ended up pretty far out into the lake as well.
On our way to the rocks we decided we would just place our phones on the rocks and come back for them later. As we approached the rocks, the canoe tipped a little. My friend opted to try and hang on to the canoe and lost his oar. It floated away and it was gone. We now had just one oar.
We switched off paddling and eventually reached the rocks. Our phones at this point were on the bottom of the canoe. I figured if I got out of the canoe and misjudged the depth of the water, I did not want my phone in my pocket.
I hopped out on the rocks to pull the canoe in and grab the phones. As I did this, I pushed down too hard on the canoe. The lip of the canoe dipped into the water and scooped up quite a bit of it. My phone was submerged. The very thing I was trying to avoid. I quickly scooped up my phone and it appeared to still work. My friend's phone appeared to work as well.
At this point we set our stuff on the rocks and were ready to officially set out on our journey. We were still down an oar of course.
But before we could continue, we had to get the water out of the canoe. My friend and I lifted the canoe, flipped it upside down, and got it back in the water.
As we were about to get back into the canoe, I asked my friend, "where's the cooler?"
We both looked around and noticed it was about 25 yards away, floating peacefully in the lake. My friend went and retrieved it.
Finally, my friend and I, along with the cooler and our one oar were back in the canoe. We were ready to go.
With just one oar, two idiots and a bit of wind, we weren't able to do much. We began drifting towards another part of land. We ended up beaching ourselves but quickly we got away.
Unfortunately, on our way away from this piece of land, I don't know what happened but the canoe all of a sudden tipped, flipped, and we were in the water. A small gathering of other boaters saw this unfold. They began kayaking in our direction making sure we were OK.
One kayaker remarked, "that was cool to watch." Another asked us how the water was while also telling us that at least it was a nice day for it.
As other boaters enjoyed our incompetence, we still had to manage to fix our situation. The canoe was completely filled with water. My friend and I along with our cooler were in the water.
We did not have the strength or the leverage to lift the boat completely out of the water to dump it. We decided we would swim with the boat to land.
I was dragging the canoe in my left hand, while holding the cooler in my right hand. I am not a very strong swimmer to begin with. This proved to be a very difficult task. I looked like a disabled jellyfish. Eventually I told my friend that I am going to go put the cooler on land and then I will come back and help with the canoe.
As I left my friend and the canoe behind and continued my journey with the cooler, the cooler opened. All of our drinks spilled into the lake. I then had to swim around and retrieve all the drinks. The ice was all gone.
Eventually I got back into the water and helped my friend get the canoe to land as well.
More boaters came our way to ask what happened. One kayaker asked us if we wanted him to go back to the shore and retrieve an additional oar for us.
I believe he was just being nice and didn't necessarily want to help. After my friend and I looked at each other for a bit, we accepted his offer. He rolled his eyes and said he would be back in a few minutes.
My friend and I worked on draining the boat. After we drained it, we stood on the shore waiting for the kayaker to return with another oar.
As we waited for our second oar two female kayakers came in our direction. I overheard one say to the other, "I don't think I know how to steer this thing."
"You're doing much better than us," I shouted back as we just stood on the shore line looking dejected.
My friend eventually became impatient and said let's just go. So we left with one oar. We began drifting back towards the rocks where our phones were. The kayaker met up with us there and handed us the second oar.
"Do you guys know how to steer this thing," he asked.
"Yes," we replied with a now false sense of confidence.
We thanked him for bringing us the oar and away we went.
At this point we decided we would try to go back to the main beach to then walk around, retrieve our cell phones, and put them in my car.
Getting back to the beach was not easy. The wind kept turning us and we couldn't stop it. Eventually we determined the only way we could get to shore was by paddling backwards.
This required a ton of effort and took a lot of time. We began singing Christmas songs to help pass the time. We sang the Drifter's version of White Christmas and then I sang Perry Como's version of Home for the Holidays.
As we sang these songs while canoeing backwards, I can only imagine people were wondering why we were out on the lake and not tied up in a straight jacket somewhere.
Eventually after what was probably 45 or so minutes, we made it back to the main beach. We approached the man who rented us our canoe and he informed us that people had told him we were struggling. We then told him we would be walking around to get our phones and would then resume our canoe adventure.
The guy then said, "you guys aren't just going to paddle out there?"
My friend felt this was a shot at his pride and manhood and he told me that we would indeed be paddling out to get our phones.
The man told us that the stronger man needs to be in the front of the canoe and the guy in the back has to act as a rotor.
Using our newfound wisdom, we headed back into the canoe to retrieve our phones.
This turned out to be very successful! We got out to our phones pretty quickly. Unfortunately, mine would not turn on. My friend's worked perfectly.
We took our items and then decided to canoe around the entire lake since we now knew what we were doing.
At one point we decided, let's stop paddling and just relax here in the middle of the lake. This was our intention from the start. After about 3 hours, we finally got to do what we wanted.
The above photo was taken at that moment with my friend's phone.
But as we sat there, we did not notice that this whole time our canoe was slowly drifting backwards. We were sitting there talking when all of a sudden, we felt a bump. Our canoe had drifted backwards and hit a tree sticking out of the middle of the lake.
Fortunately, the canoe stayed afloat and everything stayed dry.
After that we journeyed back to the beach where we were charged $20 for the oar we dropped and never found.
I then bought a bag of rice in an attempt to save my phone. This was not successful.
After a few hours on the lake, $50 for a canoe, $20 for an oar, $3 for rice, and $150 for a new phone, I walked away with a great story to tell at Thanksgiving this year.
It was an absolute blast though. I would definitely do it again.