Boating on Lake Travis

The Texas Story Project.

The author's family with their fisherman's boat
The author's family with their fisherman's boat

When my sisters and I were young kids, around age five to eleven, my dad was in love with an old handmade fisherman’s boat he had found in Maine. He had resurrected it nearly from scratch, rebuilding the body with mahogany wood, and adding a top front part and 15-horsepower motor.

My dad would take my two sisters and me out on the boat on the greater bodies of water in Travis County in the summertime. I would lie out on my back in the sun, squinting against the water that sprayed against us, as we drifted calmly past elegantly jagged cliffs of stone in the northern regions of Lake Travis or sped beneath the gritty, graffiti-ridden Austin bridges of Lady Bird Lake. Sometimes in the midst of a voyage, we would dock the boat on a muddy edge of land, stopping to swing from cords of rope hanging off a tree branch. Other times, we would drag the boat onto a sandy beach shore and spend what might have been hours playing with the soupy ground of miniature pebbles. I remember gangs of vultures circling our heads hundreds of feet above us. My dad told us the birds were waiting to prey on dead animal carcasses. Though I knew we would soon motor out of that area and I would be back in the company of simple pigeons and doves, the thought of being stranded in the water under the gaze of these strange creatures titillated me with equal parts fear and excitement.

Those days are filled with memories of lying in the warm sun, the cool, dark blue water, and the ease of floating along these beautiful places with people I loved. The boat was stolen from my dad’s driveway years ago, and naturally he was devastated. However the ability to enjoy the strange lands of Texas, in one instant a barren desert, the next green, lush and lakey, is something I will always revel in. Nowadays one of my and my little sister’s favorite ways to do this is to drive far, far north of Austin into territories that aren’t even familiar. The two of us will roll our windows down, greeted by blue skies or dreamsicle sunsets, as we ride past the same brambly scenery, towering cliffs and emerald green trees that bring us back to the days of boating along the Travis County lakes with our dad.

Alex Vasquez was born in Austin, is the editor of Cream Zine, and likes playing guitar and writing about herself.

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