Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Boating on Portage Lakes

Photo by OHventures

Portage Lakes State Park
5031 Manchester Road
Akron, Ohio 44319

Traditions are part of what make life so meaningful. Traditions give us both something to look back on and something to look forward to at the same time. They link us spiritually and physically together with people in our lives who are most important to us. No matter if traditions are daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly, they remain strong in our hearts and minds and, if taken seriously, are not optional, but rather necessary!

One of my favorite yearly traditions was started 3 years ago with some great friends of mine that live on Portage Lakes in Summit County. Every July, we find a weekend in which we all get together and go boating. We have a hearty breakfast, slather on sunscreen, pack the boat full of awesome summer foods like fruit salad and pasta salad, and head out onto the beautiful Portage Lakes. This includes 8 lakes that encompass over 2,000 acres!

We stop the boat in swim zones to hop out and cool down; we clench ourselves onto an innertube and go tubing in designated speed zones, watch the boat parade, gaze at the fireworks, and gawk at the majestic houses that line the lake. But most importantly, and most fun of all, we lay back and soak up each other's company; we soak up the sun, and we soak up the tradition.

To be able to go boating every year is a blessing and privilege. It's not exactly the easiest thing to tackle on the Bucket List, because you must know someone who owns a boat! My friends Dave and Dana are one of a kind in that they invite us out every year. It's so great of them to provide this experience for us, as there is quite a lot that goes into boating.

Not only do you have to own a boat, but you must become familiar with all of the rules that go along with boating, and all of the necessary steps needed to become properly licensed. All of this information is available on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft web site. If you do not happen to know anyone with a boat, you can also rent boats at many locations throughout the state, which we will cover in a future post!

Boating can be a pretty broad term - even canoes and kayaks have to be registered in Ohio. But the type of boat I am referring to on my tradition on Portage Lakes is a motor boat (sail boats are a whole different story). Motor boats allow you to add water skiing, parasailing, and inner tubing in the mix if you have the right equipment. But even without those things, you can still enjoy the wind blowing, the sun shining and the water splashing. Pontoon boats are also great, for things like fishing, swimming, picnicking, and just relaxing!

Remember that the most important thing for boating - or any OHventure - is to bring along like-minded people who also have a thirst for adventure and appreciation for the great outdoors. Often times it doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing, it's who you're with! Who knows? Perhaps you too will turn boating into an annual tradition amongst friends?

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