1st Paddleboard of 2013-4/11/13. The last few days have been unusually warm and have been teasing and tempting me to brave the chilly waters of Deep Creek Lake for the first paddleboard session of the season. It was only a few days ago that the lake was covered in ice and the town was grumbling about the long winter.
As I stare out my Long & Foster office window my mind wanders. Contract sent…Check! Follow up emails and phone calls complete…Check! Check to make sure Betsy and lil’ Griffin are good…Check! So, I text my paddleboard partner to see if he can meet me late afternoon to christen the lake with our first trip out in 2013. He has a new Yolo paddleboard which is supposed to be THE state of the art racing board. We agree to meet at 5pm and I worry the air temps may plummet as the day starts to ease closer to dusk. I bring 3mm booties, under armor, sweat shirts and a beanie as I have no clue what to expect with real time conditions. The light wind gusts of early afternoon seem to calm as we both pull in to park at our go-to put-in area at the lake. A last minute breeze covers the lake with a maze of ripples that blankets McHenry Cove and then bleeds into the pure coveted glass that we have wished for all winter.
The warm afternoon has seduced me into foregoing all the warming gear I have brought with me and decide to go out in a pair of shorts. The docks are out so we wade in to ease our boards into deeper water navigating our fins over the damaging rock and gravel subsurface of the lake. I only get a temporary ping of cold on my feet before hopping to my knees and breaking free of the shoreline in a smooth and quiet glide toward the icy center of the lake. Lonely and empty McHenry Cove welcomes our presence as we slip into a season starting rhythm in deep water parallel to both shorelines. The snowy slopes of Wisp frame up the back drop around us and exhilaration sets in knowing we are the first ones to get on the lake in 2013. We wonder if anyone has paddled this early in the season while there is still snow left on the mountain. The light spring time chatter of bird plays through the cove and a warm glow covers me as we pass the L&F office. My feet are wet but feel very comfortable as I wonder why the water can feel so tolerable when a few days ago it was covered in ice. Adrenaline and fantastic weather numb any feeling of cold.
I look over at my friends new Yolo and the water peels off the bow, streams down the rail line and releases cleanly off the tail which equates to a smooth, fast glide. We make our turn toward home as the sun barely glazes through the clouds descending toward the mountain peaks over Wisp Resort. My mind skips from my family, dinner, and how lucky I am to live in an area so diverse in activities and so light in population. Our shoulder season in between winter and summer can be about as tranquil and peaceful as anytime or any place in this great country. As the trip comes to a finish I already begin to anticipate the many paddles in my future with my family and friends and hope I can put together a paddleboard group to explore beautiful Deep Creek Lake in the early dawn hours when the glass is plentiful and the sunrise is gorgeous.