Saturday, June 13, 2009

MInneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park

The drums beat louder as we neared the Hidden Beach. The tempo increased and it seemed that the air vibrated with the pounding. Our guide Jenny, sensing my fear flexed her biceps to reaaaure me. Queen Renita rode on her throne seat quiet but firmly in control. We beached the canoe and somewhat nervous, allthough never hearing of canniblism in Minnesota, I approached the drummers with my camera held at the ready.
Pointing at the camera and then at them I used universal sign languge to ask their permisson for a photo. The lead drummer looked at me and asked, "Are you the police?, to which I answered no and he gave his permission. We had passed the test!
Strolling through tattooed covered bodies we found a place to eat lunch and rested from the morning paddling.
We had wanted to canoe for weeks but the weather had been cold and rainy and windy so today was the first day when conditions were right. We called our daughter and she agreed to accompny us on a day of adventure at Chain of Lakes Regional park.
We ran into construction but eventually found a place to launch at Lake of the Isles, a middle lake in the chain.
Not putting on the stabilizers, we paddled uncertain and tenatitve until we found a rythum. Jenny and Renita pointed out bluegills and a good sized largemouth bass. We paddled into open, and deep water, heading uplake.
Gliding under a small bridge a narrow and heavily shaded waterway led us to Cedar Lake. As we reached the lake a boat clearing vegetation worked near the far shore, Jenny pointed out Hidden Beach, our lunch spot, and as we headed there the drums sounded louder. I explained to Renita my thoughts but she simply smirked, I had seen that look before!
Jenny explained that the beach was called Hidden Beach beacuse it used to have trees down to the waters edge, but the authorities had removed them after complaints of 'goings on". There were quite a few people there and one was completely covered with tatoos! Interesting.
After lunch we reimbarked and headed back to Lake of the Isles. A northern pike swirled away as we neared the middle isle. A blue winged teal led her ducklings to an isle and I wondered how many she would lose to the pikes. Signs warned against landing and so we skirted the edge and watched the ducklings follow their mom.
Another bridge opening presented itself and we paseed under, where another short and narrow waterway led us to Lake Calhoun.
There, a flotilla of sailboats were engaged in a melee of sails and tilted hulls. As we watched one overturned. It turned out to be a sailing class for beginners and we rowed away wanting no part of being an unintended target.
Deciding we had had enough adventure for the day we headed back to Lake of the Isles. We were tired and sore from all the paddling, but the day on the water had been exactly what we had needed, and we decided that this was a place to return again. Clear skies.

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