Friday, October 30, 2009

Autumn Splendor - Part Three

10/25/09 - Lake Holt, Butner, NC

And here are my final photos from my Lake Holt paddling adventure. It was a memorable trip. Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words!

Holt Dam spill control machinery and structures. Suspended walkway leads to pathway on the earthen dam and spillway.

No words needed here!

Another sign of the low water levels and lack of rainfall. I had to be careful as I followed the shoreline because of debris just below the surface.

Appearances can be deceptive! It "looks" like clear and navigable waters between the island and shoreline. But in fact, because of below normal rainfall amounts, it rapidly bottomed out to only a couple inches of water! I "discovered" this the hard way - got stuck :-(... but with some effort worked myself free and retraced my path to deeper waters. :-)

Boats moored near launch ramp. There is a $3.00 launch fee.

"Rear" view of moored boats. Service road leads to a combo snack bar and station for the attendant who manges this site for the town of Butner.

View of Lake Holt from the attendant station porch. Holt Lake has many picnic areas and benches for taking in this great scenery!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Autumn Splendor - Part Two

10/25/09 - Lake Holt, Butner, NC

Here is my promised "second part" to my Lake Holt posting. More beauty! What a great time of the year to be kayaking! :-)

Following a side creek.

Sun emerged behind the low hanging clouds and reflected off the water.

Trees near the shoreline experience accelerated erosion because of exposure to wind and water action. This one has been dead for a while.
You can clearly see the water level is 2 - 3 feet below normal. Several trees have exposed root structures and will soon suffer the same fate as the above tree.

I don't get tired of taking photos or looking at these scenes!

I tried to paddle between these land masses (upper right), but because of low water levels, did not make it. I ended up paddling around the far left of the large island.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn Splendor - Part One

10/25/09 - Lake Holt, Butner, NC

I branched out to a new paddling area this past weekend - Lake Holt in Butner, NC. It was a gorgeous partly cloudy day with temperatures in the upper 50's F. I put in late morning and paddled into the early afternoon. The autumn leaf colors were spectacular and I took so many pictures that I need to break my Lake Holt paddling adventure into several posts! Here is Part one. Enjoy!

Boat launch ramp area.

One of many beautiful coves found on Lake Holt.

Sunrise services are held here.

Autumn in all its splendor!

Holt Dam and spillway. Boating and fishing is prohibited within 50 feet of these structures. It is a steep drop from the spillway - don't want to experience that "adventure" in my kayak! ;-)

More of autumn's "best"!

A wall of the Holt Dam. Note the water draining from the top and the low water level. It has been a very dry fall in this region.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why I Started a Kayak Blog

I know! This post should have been my first, but wanted to take some time and reflect before posting it. A little about myself. I'm a middle age guy, just shy of the half century mark. :-0 I'm married to a wonderful wife (Rachel) and have two teenage boys, two cats - I promise NOT to blog about them! ;-), a house, a mortgage and live in Durham, North Carolina. I discovered my passion for kayaking following the purchase of our first kayak - a tandem Mainstream Escapade. We purchased the kayak "used" from our church's yard sale held in the summer. We paid only $50.00 for it! I checked both used and new Mainstream Escapade prices on the Web and the prices ranged from $400.00 - $600.00 dollars! We got a bargain!

Currently, my paddling has been limited to Lake Michie, NC. This lake is conveniently located just 12 miles from my house and is just a quick 15 minute drive over some back roads to get to the boat ramp launch area. I plan to "branch out" in the future since there are many great paddling areas close by and just over the border in Virginia.

Since I am an English Major and "frustrated" columnist ;-) (written off and on for a local newspaper)... I decided to "marry" these two passions of mine together and write about what I'm passionate about! Hence, Durhamblogger was born!

Hopefully you will enjoy reading about my kayak adventures. Please leave your comments and let's get a dialog going.

As always, thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned. More to come!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Realities Of Colder Weather

Hey everyone! Well, following my recent kayaking adventure (10/17/09) on Lake Michie (Duke Women's Rowing Team - A Close Encounter on Lake Michie), the realities of cold weather kayaking are being brought to my attention! :-( Temperatures that day were in the upper 40's F to low 50's F and at times there was a stiff breeze coming out of the west. Also, I went through a few spotty rain showers. It made for some hard stroking to keep my kayak pointed in the right direction. It also made for colder conditions. Thankfully, my new Kokatat paddling pants kept me warmer then cotton material. Water beaded off the pants like rain off a just waxed car! In addition, my NRS Hydroskin socks (worn under water shoes) kept my feet both warm and dry - even when I went ankle deep into a muddy lake shore. Paddling vigorously keep the old blood pumping too! :-)

But, I also know when temperatures drop another 10 degrees to around to the 30's F range, I'm going to have to start thinking about putting my kayak in storage for the winter months. :-(

That will be too cold!

Guess I'll need to start posting more kayak surfing videos and start dreaming about the warmer weather that's just around the corner!

What's the coldest temperatures you have paddled in?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Duke Women's Rowing Team - A Close Encounter on Lake Michie!

10/17/09 - Lake Michie, NC

Yes indeed! I had a close encounter with the Duke Women's Rowing Team Saturday morning on Lake Michie! (10/17/09). Actually, the young ladies startled me on my return leg to the boat ramp! I was stroking hard against both a stiff breeze and current, when I hear voices coming up behind me. I threw a glance over my left shoulder and saw two sweep boats passing on the port side... and quickly looking over my right shoulder, another sweep boat bearing down on my starboard side! Looks like I had just joined the Duke women's flotilla! :-) I quickly turned starboard and stroked hard to get out of the young ladies' way. Thankfully, they too were on their final leg and were slowing down and resting their oars. We exchanged "good mornings" and being the good marketer I am ;-) ... I explained that I kept a kayak blog and would be posting their photos shortly. They got pretty excited about the prospect of seeing their photos on the Web. Hopefully some of them will remember my blog's URL and will leave their comments!

And now, for the rest of my kayak adventures that Saturday morning! It was pretty cool with temperatures in the upper 40's F to low 50's F. Again, I'll let my photos do most of the "talking." ;-)
Paddling west up the Flat River
Crossing under Bahama Road bridge

Remains of a dock

Large granite rock formationsA bend in the river
Another massive rock formation
Trees starting to show their fall colors
Flat River starting to narrow quickly

Getting a little "tight" ;-)

Almost like jungle here

You bet my paddle is striking bottom here!

Wisely deciding to turn around

Sun trying to break through cloud cover

Mid morning on Lake Michie
Did run through a couple rain showers

Getting out to a wider waterway

Made a landing - need to stretch!

Super dense forest here

Quick snack and water break

More beauty on the lake

Close encounter with a fisherman. Actually there was a bass tournament being held and there were lots of boating traffic I had to avoid

Friday, October 16, 2009

Time For Another Kayak Adventure!

Well guys. It looks like I have a "green" light for more kayaking fun and adventures this Saturday!
How about another trip to Lake Michie! Weather forecast is calling for partly cloudy conditions and a high of 58F. A good "excuse" to wear my new Kokatat paddling pants! This time I may paddle west up the Flat River and see what lies in that direction. I'll pack my digital camera so I can share the adventure here on my blog. Look for my trip notes and pictures next week!
Do you have any kayak adventures to share?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Another Lake Michie Adventure!

10/10/09 - Lake Michie, NC

Hi gang! I thought that Satterwhite Point, NC was to be my next paddling trip, but it did not work out that way. Instead, I settled on another trip to Lake Michie (See Lake Michie, NC - Our First Kayak Adventure and Return to Lake Michie for more details on Lake Michie). But it almost did not happen! Saturday morning (10/10/09) dawned overcast with dark clouds, breezy conditions, and a 50% chance of rain. However, being the brave and optimistic soul that I am, I loaded up my kayak (solo trip this time) into my truck, threw in my gear, some lunch and water bottles... and got on the road to Lake Michie, approximately 12 miles away from the house. I kept anxiously glancing at the threatening skies as I drove along some secondary roads to the lake. Yep, sure enough! The little blue patches I had seen earlier through the cloud bank disappeared and it started to "spit" rain. I bravely drove through a few rain patches thinking it would let up and when it did not, I reluctantly turned around and headed back to the house. My wife tried to consul me, but my mind was made up. If I could not paddle today, by gosh, I was going to go shop for some kayak gear! :-) My wife tagged along with me to my favorite outdoor provision store (REI) with the excuse she wanted to "look around," But knew she wanted to keep an eye on my spending! ;-)

Anyhow, I purchased a kayak dolly (See my post Kayak Dollies Or Pulling Your Own Weight for buying tips) and some water resistant paddling pants and thermal socks. I plan to do some paddling in the colder months too.

Got back to the house and checked the radar for more precipitation. Seeing little rain I decided not to waste a Saturday afternoon hanging around the house... and headed back to Lake Michie. This time the rain did hold off and it cleared up some once I arrived at the boat launch ramp.

I'll let my photos do the rest of my "talking." :-)

Heading east under rain swollen clouds. Note my rain gear lashed to the bow!

Turning north toward Monk Creek One of many side creeks along the way
"Caught" a Blue Heron in my lens!
Another shot of my friend
Discovered an island - I call it Mike's Island! ;-)
First landing on Mike's Island
Quick snack and water break at Mike's Island
Nice view - looking north on the island
Folks have been here before - an abandoned fire pit
Gorgeous view - again looking north
Another landing - shoreline near Mike's Island
Walking in land through the forest
Back home again! Ready for another kayak adventure soon! :-)

Tell us about your recent kayak adventure!