Racing Ducks at Echo Park

paddle1.jpgIt took a year of nagging, but last Sunday my girlfriend finally convinced me to go ride a paddle boat around Echo Park Lake. I’ve been resisting because, to be honest, I think Echo Park is pretty gross. I’m probably spoiled by growing up with Denver’s great public parks system, but I’ve tried jogging there a few times and it’s just not a relaxing place for me to be. I’m a neat freak, and the combination of unpleasant smells and detritus that collects in some spots around the park really turns me off. Plus, parks are supposed to be wide open spaces and the fact that it’s always so crowded somehow makes me feel claustrophobic. It’s not as bad as MacArthur Park, and honestly it’s really all in my head, but I still don’t want to go hang out there if I don’t have to. So, how surprised was I to discover that getting out on the water in a paddle boat is totally fun?

paddle2.jpgUnfortunately, fun does not exactly equal cheap. It’s not crazy expensive, but it did cost a surprising $7 per 30 minutes, or $10 per hour. I was expecting something along the lines of $5. Also, 30 minutes flies by once you’re out on the water. I don’t think you need a full hour, but if you’ve got the extra dough you might cough up another $3 just so you don’t feel cramped for time. Once you’re outfitted with a life vest and sent out on your own, there’s not a lot to do but set arbitrary paddling destinations and avoid other boats. They also tell you to avoid the fountain, probably for saftey reasons, and I’m going to second that. Not for safety, but because the spray stinks like fishy lake water and you don’t want to get caught in it. The Significant Other was thankfully fixated on reaching the farthest part of the lake away from the fountain at full speed, so we cranked our paddling up to full volume and discovered that powering a paddle boat is quite a cardio workout. Duh. Once that got old, we started racing ducks. They pay no mind to the boats, so it’s pretty easy to get up next to one and see how you compare. I’ll let you know in advance, the answer to that is “poorly.” You might be surprised how much work it takes to outmatch a duck on the water. After wearing ourselves out, we headed for the most central part of the lake, away from traffic noise, and just floated around for a bit and relaxed in the sun. As my mom’s small-town paper would report, “A good time was had by all.” If you head over on a sunny day, be sure to follow up with an icy raspado for a whopping $0.75 from one of the many carts around the park. 30 minutes of paddling and dos raspados will cost you less than $10, and be a much more rewarding experience than sitting through the abominable Stick It, which is how I wasted my Saturday.

4 Replies to “Racing Ducks at Echo Park”

  1. Yay, that sounds totally fun! I’ve gone paddleboating only once, in Long Beach, and it was pretty fun, but it’s definitely not something you’ll want to do all the time. Or is it? Looks like you had a great time–hope to see you at another Kernspiracy soon.

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