Preview: The Influence of Friends Gathering Down at the Lake

April 15, 2012

Bill Thomas

A start in small boats.

I could, if I thought about it, trace my introduction to small boats back to a single person, or more precisely a loose group of conspirators. While I’m not naming names, I will relate the story. I don’t recall exactly how I came to spend time with this eclectic band, but I was in my mid-teens and it was the mid 1970s.

Someone in our group had access to a wooded peninsula on a large inland lake. The property was about 25 miles out of town and on weekends we’d meet there to camp, play with cameras, and play around in small boats. The boats arrived tied to, or towed behind, an assortment of older sports cars. I recall a Triumph TR3, an orange Spitfire, and a collection of Fiats. The rest of us biked out on wildly inappropriate road bikes with sew-up tires. Remember those?

The Bike Ride
I also learned the basics of photography out at the lake. I clearly remember the 30-mile winter evening bike ride I made to pick up my first real camera, an old Canon SLR that I bought from one of the gang. Another of the truly lasting influences of those weekend trips was my introduction to small boats. I paddled my first kayak, a DK13, during one of the outings. It was, as I recall, a nt-too-fancy version of this less-than-stellar design; it being one of the first kayaks intended for home builders. I flipped it over in deep water once but, motivated by embarrassment, managed to climb back in.

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