There are 14,000 islands in Lake of the Woods. In the distance, they shimmer like a mirage and seem to float across the water as I paddle. Close, they form mazes of channels and bays that twist together to match a hundred places on my map.
Sometimes it feels like an ocean, sometimes a river, sometimes a lake.
Alone, floating in 17 feet of plastic, it is a game of wind and space.
I feel the shadow of islands, the way the water calms behind the broken wind. I feel the space open up and the waves grow tall and sharp. I feel the quiet lulls and first drops of rain. I hide. I rush. I pick my way, rising and falling with the waves.
As the wind shifts, so does the game, but I keep playing, moving across 14,000 islands one-by-one.