You dont have to boat. You can just walk, too, if you want.
  • You don't have to boat. You can just walk, too, if you want.

Have you seen Boating with Clyde, the wonderful television show where local musician Clyde Petersen rides around in a boat with his musician friends while they answer questions and play songs? It's great—see it here. Or maybe you've already seen it, and maybe you've thought to yourself: "Damn, I want to do that too!" Well, here's your chance! This Saturday, Petersen and the Henry Art Gallery are hosting the Friendship Trail, a two-hour-long journey through the Lake Washington Arboretum, where you will enjoy an afternoon of drifting through the fields of lily pads while getting to hear and see surprise musical guests and also probably turtles.

You can bring your own boat, rent one for a discounted price from the UW, use an inner tube, or, if you'd rather, stay on the ground and walk through some of the trail. Get complete details here. It could be the best thing you do all summer.

And because I just had to know more, I asked Petersen some questions about the event, boating, and summer jams:

Please tell me how this performance came together, because it is a genius idea and I am so glad you’re doing it.

Traditionally, the Friendship Trail has been part of What the Heck Fest in Anacortes every year, on the day before the fest. If you get to town early, the trail would let you walk the town with bands hidden all over it, help you get to know Anacortes, and meet some new buddies. For many years, I have wanted to set up a trail via canoe, and the Henry Art Gallery is hosting a series called Summer Field Studies this year. They are sponsoring the event, which is super sweet.

It looks like there will be musical surprises hidden around the Arboretum—can you give us any hints as to what kind of magic we might find along the trip?

There are 14 bands or performers awaiting you in the Arboretum. I’ve heard rumors of saxophones, but the Friendship Trail in its truest form remains a mystery until you arrive. In Anacortes Trails, there have been Alpen Horns, cowboys playing in boats, bands in the fourth floor of buildings. Anything can happen. That’s the magic.

Is this something that even someone with zero boating experience can do? I haven't been in a row boat since I was a kid!

You can easily rent a boat at the Waterfront Activities Center (WAC!) at the UW next to Husky Stadium. If you mention the trail, it’s a discounted rate of $7 an hour for the boat. You can get three or four people in a canoe, and only a few of you have to paddle. Alternately, many of the bands can be seen by walking the trail from Marsh to Foster Island, though you will miss some of the bands in the middle.

How long will the trip last? And what should people bring? Snacks? Sunscreen? Life jackets? Shark repellant?

I think it will take about two hours. People should bring hats, sunglasses, swimsuits, sunscreen, and towels. If you are going to walk the trail instead of paddle, you need shoes you don’t care about. That trail is MUDDY. Seriously. It’s a MARSH ISLAND. It’s no big deal, just don’t wear shoes you care about.

You've incorporated boats into your art a lot—you have the Boating with Clyde TV show, you had that installation at 4Culture, where you turned the gallery into the Arboretum—have you always loved boats, even as a kid?

I got really into boats in middle school when I took sailing lessons at Green Lake. Then I met some punks in the bayou in Florida by my old house and we built a boat together and that really sealed the deal. Recently I met another person who has similar interests in NYC, and we went boating together in Tacoma.

I know you've spent a lot of time in the Arboretum. What other places in or around Seattle are great for boating?

I spend a lot of time boating in Lake Union and the Arboretum. I recently went out on the Foss Waterway in Tacoma, and that was delightful as well. My boat is very small, so I tend to go places where its calm and reliable, or where I can see the chop before I go out.

And finally, because I consider you somewhat an expert of summer jams, what's your summer jam this year?

I have been searching and searching for my summer jam. I mostly listen to new country, so I have been waiting for the radio to dictate what it’s gonna be, and it just has not arrived. Bummer. I’m trying to enjoy the new Jake Owen song “Beachin,” but it is just not as good as Summer Jam, which is now old.

Mostly in this summer heat, I’ve been listening to this amazing album called Satin Sheets by Jeanne Pruett.

The Friendship Trail starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 26. BYOBoat and meet behind the old MOHAI. Complete details are here. Boating With Clyde will also be at Bumbershoot! Visit the tent outside the Fisher Pavilion on August 29 to September 1 to see live performances (and the boat!) from artists including Corey J. Brewer, Angelo Spencer, Slashed Tires, and more. Bumbershoot tickets are available here.