I took Jimmy Harvey’s Landick one-person canoe out for a test run on Lady Bird Lake today. Photo by Jimmy Harvey

I’m getting back in the boat this week to do some research for an upcoming magazine article.
I’ll be paddling about 26 miles from Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop to Smithville, but it’s been a few months since I’ve spent time in a boat. Also, now’s not the time to paddle a tandem (there’s that whole social distancing deal), so I’m borrowing a solo boat from veteran paddler Jimmy Harvey, who has raced the grueling Texas Water Safari more times than I can wrap my brain around. (I did the race for the first time last year and still can’t believe I survived the 260-mile gauntlet of log jams, alligator gar, mud and mayflies.)

Jimmy Harvey is part of the Arctic Cowboys team of paddlers from Austin, who will be paddling up the Texas coast in a few weeks. Pam LeBlanc photo

I met Jimmy down at Lake Austin today, to take his boat out for a spin. I wondered if the sleek-looking Landick racing canoe might toss me like a bucking bronco, but I managed to stay dry. I also discovered that the boat, despite its narrow front half, swells like a curvy woman at the hips, so it can tip really far without dumping its driver (me.)
The boat’s got a rudder, too, which makes it super easy to steer. I made two laps – one with a single blade, another with the dreaded shoulder-busting double. The boat felt nimble and I didn’t run over anyone, so it’s all systems go for Wednesday’s longer run.
I’m packing a lunch, my camera gear, a cowboy hat and lots of energy, and looking forward to seeing a stretch of the Colorado River I’ve never paddled.
Adventure in the time of a pandemic tastes all the sweeter.

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