Some memories can warm your heart like summer sunshine. And that’s true for my memories of growing up on Lake Cherokee in northeast Texas. I wouldn’t trade the good times spent running trotlines for catfish with my dad, waterskiing with friends, or buzzing across the lake in the boat to my uncle’s house for anything in the world. Growing up, my sisters and cousins and I learned how to swim almost as soon as we learned how to walk, and lakes and beaches still top our list of favorite family gathering spots (spots with RV camping, of course!)
When we planned last year’s Acker Family Reunion on Buchanan, near Austin, however, we realized that with the severe drought came some unanticipated dangers. The water levels were nearing record lows, sandbars appeared where once there had been open ski water, and in many places, submerged trees loomed just beneath the surface.
We found a great place that had RV camping as well as cabins for those who were flying in. But this time, we made a decision to leave the ski, bass, and pontoon boats at home and instead found our fun in canoes, kayaks, and swimming pools. As much as I hated to miss the time on the water, I knew I’d never be able to live with it if someone had an accident during the reunion.
Fortunately, Ackers are a flexible bunch, just happy to enjoy each other’s company whether wading in the mud or splashing in chlorine.
And now, it’s hard to believe that summertime is once again just around the corner. And even though I grew up on the water, it seems like a good time to review the safety basics. That’s what National Safe Boating Week is for, I suppose: to remind us that no amount of fun and sun is worth it if we lapse into a moment of carelessness and lose someone special.
Life jackets are really the big key. I think I’ll go make sure mine haven’t rotted over the winter. And maybe I’ll get a new one. I’ve seen some stylish ones that aren’t anything close to the clunky orange ones we had as kids. The new ones fit great and are comfortable enough to wear all the time in the boat.
I’m happy to say that there’s a bit more water in the lakes now than there was this time last summer. Who knows how long it’ll last, but I’ll enjoy it while we have it! See you on the water!
What are some of your favorite lake camping spots? Let me know!