A vital part of student life is finding new things to do, places to see and people to meet. The nocturnal aspect of the college experience, for most of us, is the most thrilling, and often we find these adventures through friends and media.
However, my last unforgettable nighttime excursion came about in a completely different way: through a class lecture. Matt Knifton, owner of The Texas Rowing Center in Austin, came to speak to one of my classes about different aspects of business and the benefits of rowing.
I haven’t been in any kind of watercraft that wasn’t inflatable since living in San Marcos, but he started talking about an event called “the moonlight float” and it peaked my interest.
The moonlight float is a monthly trip taken by canoe or kayak. It begins in Austin on Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) and participants paddle out to Congress Street Bridge to watch the bats fly out at sunset and then paddle back in the moonlight. Out of pure curiosity, I called to make a reservation and join the moonlight float last Saturday.
The trip began at 6 p.m. with a potluck dinner and everyone who signed up brought something to eat. The spread had everything from fried and roast chicken to pizza and vegetables.
Afterward, people started taking to the water and rowing out to the bridge. The rowing center’s guide informed me it was about a two and a half mile journey round trip.
The scenery was very tranquil, but the most amazing perspective was seeing downtown Austin from a new angle. Looking at the skyscrapers and lights from the middle of a park was a humbling experience.
Halfway to our destination we passed a concert in the park and Sugarhill Gang was performing “Rapper’s Delight.”
Once we got to the bridge, a man who had brought his clarinet with him began playing extremely intricate jazz music. The ambience couldn’t have been more fitting because once the bats began to fly out of their niches it was it was amazing to watch.
When the show was over and everyone started to row back, the sun had gone down and the only remaining light was from the moon, the neon from buildings and the glow-in-the-dark bracelets around our arms.
The concert was still going on as I rowed by but this time the performers were a blast from my pop culture infatuated past – Boyz II Men.
The sounds of junior high nostalgia followed me the remainder of the journey.
Overall, it was a memorable night and the moonlight float is an experience I would recommend to anyone. I guess attending class can lead to fun.