Stowe Lake By Boat

The Saturday I got back from Germany, I took Neil and Kelly to the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Their Saturday children’s art activity was focused on tromp l’oeil, and Neil just loves that art form. He has tromp l’oeil books and his art last summer was making tromp l’oeil projects. After a short lecture about some of the De Young museum’s tromp l’oeil paintings, he went upstairs into the tower with the older children and painted a still life of oranges. Downstairs with me, Kelly made a very real-looking piece of toast with paper and paint and glued it onto a black background which she decorated extensively.

As one last cub scout project, Neil had to complete his aquanauts badge and one of the requirements was steering a rowboat. Well, we’ve been going to Stowe Lake in Golden Gate Park for years: it’s really a delightful place, and we’d always thought about renting a rowboat or paddleboat to take out on the lake. Well, today, we had a firm reason to do so.

Neither Neil or I had ever rowed a boat before, but it’s easy to figure out. And Stowe Lake is so small, you really can’t go wrong. In fact, the biggest trick was learning how to keep the boat travelling at an angle, since Stowe Lake is essentially a circle. After I got the boat started (and had figured out how to do it myself) Neil ably took over. And I found out that being an a boat is a spectacular way to see the lake and Strawberry Island in the middle. Here’s the waterfalls as seen from our boat:


The wind was bad on the far side of the lake, underneath one of the bridges, and it took more strength than Neil had to get the boat going. I took over briefly. Behind us, a pair of guys who looked like they’d taken a break from performing in Hot Hot Heat tried to outsmart the current by canoeing instead of rowing. They had no luck, and went back to rowing like us.

We made it back to the boat house with just a minute to spare before closing, so we could collect our precious $1 deposit. It was a heckuva lot of fun, and I think we’ll be renting boats on Stowe Lake again soon.

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