It’s the middle of October and when you live in The Land of Lakes that means its Last Gasp time again. Why is it that my best boat rides always seem to be in October? Don’t get me wrong, I love Summer. And those boat rides in April and May, ideally just hours after the ice out are wonderful. But October? That’s perfection.
First, the obvious: The color. The last two weekends at my cabin on Balsam Lake, Wisconsin, have been spectacular. I’ve always believed any view on the lake is better when framed in mahogany. But when those orange leaves, practically blend right into the varnish, that’s a picture that should be framed and hung over the fireplace. Second, the crowds. As in, there are none. Our lake is primarily a pontoon and wake boat lake. Nine out of ten docks, have a pontoon. The wake boats have largely hung it up by now, but on my two-hour cruise last weekend, I saw just a handful of other boats on the water. I love to turn around and watch the ensign fly, with nothing but water (and those leaves) as a background. And the sound. When all you can hear is the music from that flathead six, does it get any better?
But the thing that makes October boat rides so amazing is that every day is like a bonus. Every day is a free day… a gift. At least in The North. I get weeks more boating than the “pull the docks in, it’s football season” crowd. Think about that as the countdown to Dora begins. Did you get the most out of last season? Over the last two weekends I took four two-hour cruises. And that was on a relatively small 2,000-acre lake. I just couldn’t stop.
On Sunday, after those long days of perfect October boating, I finally did it. I winterized Rabbit in my boathouse for her long winter sleep. I would’ve waited another week or two, as the boathouse gives me a cushion against freezing temps here in the north. But my wife has been away for a few weeks caring for a family member, and after so long away from home she’ll want to be at our home, in Minneapolis. Otherwise, I might have gone another week or two, again, thanks to the boathouse.
May, June, July, August, and September: I really, really like you. But October, I love