One of the singular joys of canoeing in the Twin Cities is the surprising pocket of peace and solitude you can find on all of our lakes, thanks to a longstanding law against most boat motors. Even a busy day on Lake Calhoun is no noisier than the nearest sail that wants trimming. If solitude is the measure of a quality canoeing experience, then make waves for Twin Lake, a smallish drink hidden away in the deep recesses of Theodore Wirth Park. Hemmed in by the golf course, the Courage Center, and a lot of undeveloped private property, Twin Lake has, in recent years, been a safe haven for nudists, naturists, and other clothing-optional activists and pickup artists chased away from Cedar Lake's Hidden Beach. If you find some way to put in while the sun comes up on a clear summer morning, you won't find a quieter, wilder place in the metro. (Canoes can be rented at AARCEE at 2910 Lyndale Ave. S. or Hoigaard's at 3550 S. Highway 100 in St. Louis Park.) In spite of what most maps of the city indicate, don't try to get there by way of Bassett Creek, unless you want an urban Deliverance experience. Which means you get the rarest urban-canoeing pleasure of all: a real portage of about 200 rods! Where to begin? We'll enjoy the solitude while you figure it out.


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