Today we launched our new (to us) canoe, purchased off Craigslist this spring. Though Lucy still had a low-grade fever, the girls were stir-crazy indoors, so I decided we’d keep Lucy medicated and hydrated and head out canoeing anyway.
It was also the first trip with our canoe trailer. Why a canoe trailer, you ask? When I was planning the summer, DH thought he would be away for a month. My single experience lifting the canoe up onto the roof of the car, with the help of two other adults, convinced me that this not was an activity Lucy (90 pounds clothed and wet) and I could manage on our own. So I watched canoe trailers on Craigslist, but they were rare, fancy, and very expensive, and I was beginning to despair. Then my friend Mike mentioned that a camp was getting rid of one of its trailer fleet. A rusty, gigantic, old painted trailer built in 1955.
“Don’t look too great but it works fine,” Mike said. “And dirt cheap.”
The magic words. Sold.
The antique trailer rattled and bumped. Of course I was a bit nervous backing in tight spaces but the girls quickly became proficient at calling out directions and we swung perfectly into place to off-load at the landing. Within minutes we were paddling up Upper Cascade Lake.
Our canoe is an elderly Old Town sixteen-footer, heavy, upright, very stable, and very safe. The canoe is designed to right itself if it rolls and swamps. “It wants to take care of us,” I told the girls. “It’s the U.S.S. Grandma.”
The paddling was smooth over the dark water. All the way down the lake we followed the progress of a Belted Kingfisher that swooped ahead of us from tree to tree hanging over the water.
“That would have made Grandma very happy,” I said.
We drifted and ate granola bars at the far end of the lake, peering up at a small waterfall splashing down the side of the mountain (one of the cascades emptying into Cascade Lake). DH had told Lucy about another, larger waterfall at the other end of the lake, so after our hour’s paddle I lashed the canoe back onto the trailer while the girls went exploring.
They rushed back to me in ten minutes. They’d found an unmarked trail! It might lead to the waterfall! We toiled over boulders to hike up the side of the mountain to see.
All morning I kept thinking of my mother. She worked so hard to have the grandchildren know each other, bringing all five sibs and all our children, from all over the country, back together for a family reunion, summer after summer. The girls were only six when she died, but by then they were friends.
We live six hours apart and the girls only see each other a few days a year. But they’re twelve now, and still friends.
Wouldn’t Grandma be pleased?