I have been sailing Lake Oahe on the Missouri River in South Dakota for over 20 years. I have seen all kinds of weather and wind. And so you might think I would be jaded, wouldn’t you? But I will tell you that I doubt that I will ever got bored by the amazing scenery and experience this place affords.
Recently, Deb and I were enjoying our last full day of the season on Lake Oahe. We set sail shortly after sunrise and made it upriver to my favorite place, Mission Creek. By afternoon the wind had slackened and though we enjoy the serentity that this place offers when there is little wind, we decided to go motoring.
At one point the wind died completely and I stopped the boat in the middle of the reservoir to enjoy the beautiful clouds, sky and water. The silence was absolute and I was reminded of the simple magic of that keeps drawing me back to Oahe: on this day we weren’t looking at a mirror; we were in the mirror.
Wandering Star is back in our driveway and will be put into storage soon. I put over 800 miles under her keel this summer, which is equivalent to going east to west across South Dakota and then back again. At about 5 miles an hour. A waste of time? An expensive hobby?
“Yes” is a simple answer to those questions. But for me sailing Oahe is an important part of who I am and how I live. For me (and many others I know) it is a truly uncommon place.