March 10th, 2013
by Dawn Pedersen
Lake Natoma is in Gold River, just inside Sacramento County as you head east on Highway 50. It was formed by the building of Nimbus Dam, and it’s a pretty little body of water. Now that the weather is has turned warmer, Vlady suggested we rent a boat and take Theo out onto the lake. This turned out to be a splendid idea on a gorgeous, springlike Sunday in March.
The Sacramento State Aquatic Center is stationed right on the shore of Lake Natoma. In addition to providing aquatic equipment and activities for University students, the center rents out motorless watercraft by the hour. They actually prorate by the quarter-hour, which is an even better deal. We rented a canoe at $14 per hour, but spent about $11 for the 45 minutes we used it. Paddles and life vests were included. The Center also rents out a variety of kayaks, hydro bikes, stand-up paddle boards, pedal boats, and cruiser bicycles.
After our boat ride, we toodled around the shore for a bit. Photos below; click on any one of them for a full-size slideshow.
Getting our first glimpse of the lake, about to ascend the little bridge to the Aquatic Center. On the shore, people are fishing. We find parking just outside the Lake Natoma/Nimbus Flat recreation area, which would have cost $5. This overflow parking area is not large.
Theo enjoys being fitted with a life vest.
Daddy and Theo prepare to enter the canoe as an attendant steadies it.
Theo loves using the giant paddle. Behind Theo and Vlady are racks full of kayaks. That brown stuff under Theo’s lip? He discovered the M&M candy machines in the rental office.
It’s hard work pushing the paddle through the water.
Daddy develops a two-handed paddle method. He wishes for oars that attach to the sides of the canoe through oarlocks.
Daddy and Theo examine a pipe that extends through the levee. Vlady retrieves the big rock inside for Theo, and Theo promptly tosses it in the water. That’s what rocks are for.
Taking a rest. Behind Theo is the Aquatic Center and Nimbus Dam.
Toddler, shore, and water.
Theo prods a dead seagull with a stick.
Theo discovers the fun of swishing your hands through the water. I have a grip on the back of his vest.
Theo shows me his damp paw.
A giant egret glides overhead.
The view of the Aquatic Center from the lake. A man prepares his sailboat.
Upon our return to the docks, we notice hundreds of mud nests under the ledge of the dam walkway. Swallows are soaring all around and flying in and out of the nests.
After the boat ride, Theo cools down with a couple of pull ups on an empty boat rack.
Theo winds up for a rock toss.
Prepared for anything with his bucket and magnifying glass, Theo heads farther upstream.
Gosh, I love springtime.
Theo studies floral botany.
A goose asks Theo what he’s got there. Is it food?
Daddy discovers that the $5 plastic grocery-store-purchased magnifying glass packs a wallop when it comes to focusing the sun’s energy on anything flammable.
Theo climbs and leaps off of a lifeguard tower.
Theo tells us he wants to go in the water, so off come the socks, shoes, and pants.
Chilly but pleasant water for the toes.
On the way back to the car, Daddy guides Theo in burning a hole through a dried leaf.
I am honestly surprised to see how powerful this cheap plastic lens is. Look at that smoke!
Theo shows off the results. Afterward, Vlady spits on the burned edges to prevent a fire.
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