Canoe Canoe?

DSCN2263.jpgWhen I moved to Austin in the waning days of the Bush (I) administration, UT was kind enough to send me a pamphlet of activities in my soon-to-be new home. Number 114 out of 250 Great Things To Do was “rent a canoe on Town Lake.” Even 13 years later, that pamphlet is no lie.

On a scorching weekend, water-related activities take on new life in Austin as combined entertainment and survival. In defiance of the blazing Saturday afternoon sun, the wife and I took to the cool currents of Town Lake, courtesy of Zilker Park Boat Rentals. For $10 an hour, we paddled and splashed our way around Town Lake, joining an impromptu regatta of like-minded explorers. Once we mastered moving in a straight line, we made easy time East towards I-35.

Along the way, I saw details I’d never noticed before (islands beneath the railroad crossing) along with new perspectives on sites I’d taken for granted (Stevie Ray’s backside). We puttered past the Congress Ave. Bridge and its screeching freetailed denizens until we were within reach of I-35, and turned around at the giant crane that presumably marks the construction site for the Rainey Street Apartments. It’s interesting how easily the new mixes with the old when you view it from the detached perch of old man river.

But time caught back up once I consulted the list for the next Great Thing To Do in Austin. I won’t be watching Willie or any other performers at the long-gone Opera House, and it’s been awhile since Aqua Fest underwhelmed Auditorium Shores. But for each item that’s dropped off this early 90’s itinerary, there are five more events and attractions that have taken its place. And the ones that remain, like canoeing on Town Lake, have certainly stood the test of time.

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