A Day at the Lake

Good Friday? More like great Friday!

What an adventure. The drive was too long with a toddler in the back seat. I lost count of how many times I asked “how much longer, are we there yet?”.

The old lake was a very sad state of affairs, it has dried up considerably since I last saw it 7 years ago, metres of black silty sludge ringing the lake, the bouys marking the swimming area beached on dry land.

Change of plans.

A kilometer back down the road is another turn off, leading to another lake. One I’d never been to before. After about 30kms of corrugated gravel we arrive. And I must say, wow. This lake is saltwater, so the sand around the outside is like beach sand, just a lot more compact. There is a proper boat ramp to launch from, toilets not far away and lots of space to move.

Ryder has only been to the beach once in his short life, but absolutely loves sand. The second he was out of the car he was sitting down digging and playing with the sand. After a quick hello to our friend with the boat, I grabbed Ryder’s ball out of the car. Well. Didn’t he think that was great. He grabbed his ball and ran. Fast. I chased after him and he threw the ball ahead. I took off and soccer kicked the ball back towards ‘camp’. Ryder squealed with laughter and was off again. Game on. I am astounded by his coordination, for a nearly 16 month old he plays some good soccer!
The adults unpacked and put the boat in the water while Ryder and I tore up the beach.

Everyone else started to arrive and all of a sudden there were kids everywhere. Our soccer match ended so I could introduce Ryder to the adults, turns out one lady knew my parents when I was a toddler! The kids hijacked the ball for their own game of soccer, much to Ryder’s annoyance. He would take off with his arms outstretched saying ‘ball! Ball!’ But the kids would simply move further away. Not impressed.

Once the boat was in the water I left Ryder building sand castles with James while my Dad and I went for a spin on the tubes. It felt like only 7 days had passed, not 7 years. I think I laughed the whole way around the lake. I then sat in the boat as spotter so Dad could have a ski, followed by the two tweenage girls having a go in the tubes. Lunch time was soon upon us and I quickly reverted back to ‘Mum Mode’, making sure Ryder had sunscreen on and was fed and watered. More digging persued. I tried to take the little man for a paddle but the kids soon came splashing over with Ryder’s ball. Of course he tried running after them again, falling over as they disappeared further away. He didn’t want to paddle after that.
Back to playing in the sand while I got to chat to the mums of the group. Apparently motherhood suits me.

Ryder eventually had a nap at about 3pm, after me pacing up and down the ‘beach’, far enough away so he couldn’t see or hear the kids with his ball. Once he was settled in his tent for a snooze it was my turn to have a shot at kneeboarding. I was very apprehensive after not doing it for so many years but I needn’t have worried. The boat took off and so did I, skimming across the water as I held on for dear life. Once I had found the right balance to keep the board from bouncing so much, I was set. Carving across the wake, out onto the undisturbed water of the lake. Back over the wake and down the other side to mirror my actions. I dont know why but it is much easier for me to drop off the left hand side of the wake than the right. Weird. The boat continued towing me around the lake and I was on cloud nine. I could not stop smiling and Im pretty sure I held my breath for way too long. We were nearly back to shore when I hit a chunky patch of water from another boat, making me wipeout. I hooked the ski rope’s handle to the front of the board and laid down while I was towed the short distance back to shore.

I walked out of the water with the board under my arm, a triumphant smile on my face. I was shaking and struggling to catch my breath, the adrenaline pumping through my body making me feel giddy. There was no time to savour the moment though, it was time to get dry and dressed for the drive home. I was still shaking when Dad came in from his final lap on the skis. Serious face Alicia, its time to go.

I dried myself as best I could and put my dry clothes on. They were full of sand but I didn’t care. James had packed the car while I was out on the water so all that was left was Ryder and the tent. We said our farewells and clambered back into the Liberty when I realised something was missing. Ryder’s ball. The ball that was the centre of attention all day, so much fun as to steal from a toddler, had blown 500 meters away and was bobbing in the water against the boat ramp. Two of the youngest kids ran off to collect it, James followed them in the car to give them a ride back.

Another round of farewells, thank-you-so-muchs and promises to return next season. Then we were back in the car and heading home. We inadvertently took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up shaving a good 50kms from our trip. Score. Ryder, my Dad and I myself all fell asleep, only waking when we were stopped by a booze bus 5 minutes from home. Dad went home and Ryder and I were straight in the shower. A quick dinner of leftovers and we were in bed by 8pm. Well and truly spent after a totally awesome day.

That ball, in case you were wondering, cost $3 from Kmart. Bring your own next time!

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