Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Durhamblogger Visitors - Thank You!

Howdy everyone! In just seven months since starting my blog, 1200+ visitors from 28 countries have stopped by Durhamblogger! Wow! :-)

Some of the visitors who stopped by recently were from Bulgaria, Pakistan, Hong Kong, and India!

Visitors - Please leave a comment about yourself... and let everyone know what country you are in! If checking in from the United States... leave a comment about yourself and the state you live in!

I am humbled and grateful for all these wonderful visits... and look forward to welcoming more folks here in 2010!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3rd Annual Yee Haw! River Paddle (April 10, 2010)

The Haw River Trail is sponsoring the 3rd Annual Yee Haw! River Paddle on April 10, 2010!

I plan to register and join in on the festivities that Saturday in Haw River - a short 45 minute drive from my house. I'm going to look for some country back roads since I don't fancy transporting my kayak on the I-40 interstate! Hopefully, Rachel will be able to join me too.

The Yee Haw (don't you just love that name!) River Paddle features a Beginner Class, Day and Family Paddle. Last year, I understand 300 folks showed up.

I'm going to participate in the Family Paddle that has a put in area at Red Slide Park and take out at Swepsonville River Park, a distance of approximately 5.5 miles.

Should be a lot of fun! Look for "full coverage" of this event on Durhamblogger!

Monday, March 15, 2010

And Now... the Rest of the Story

... As the late, great radio broadcaster, Paul Harvey used to say. Back in Dec 2009, in my paddling adventure titled Paddling on the Eno River - Yes! I told of meeting a fellow yaker... also named Mike... who was "escorting" an intoxicated couple down the river to Penny's Bend. And now... the rest of the story. My wife and I were invited to a special "pre" St. Patrick's Day celebration at The Eno River Eatery on Sunday (3/14/10) located just down the road from my house. Shortly after we had arrived, I noticed a tall bearded fellow come in and he sat four seats down from us. It was Mike! I struck up a conversation with him and he filled me in what took place after I had left the small flotilla on that sunny, but chilly day in Dec 2009. Mike told me that 45 minutes into the paddle, the young man went "duck" again... this time wearing his leather jacket! So the fellow ruined his jacket and they had to abort the paddle trip since he had brought only one change of clothes. :-( Mike indicated that by the time they returned to their put in area at the Eno River Boat Ramp, the young man was shivering badly and his lips had turned blue.

Again, this is a "perfect" example of what NOT to do when you go paddling. Enough said.

Mike did bring up the idea of a moonlight paddle as the weather keeps warming and we start to get into the spring months. Hopefully, it will be warm enough then that Rachel will be able to join me too. I agreed with Mike's "plan" and thought that would be a perfect opportunity to test out my Kayalite Deck and Stern Light! :-) See... it all works out in the end? Stay tuned for more paddling adventures.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hoofing at Umstead Park

Howdy everyone! Sunday proved to be another sunny day with temperatures in the low 60's. A great day for paddling... but my wife "reminded" me that it was also a great day to go hiking. ;-) So, we jumped into the car after church and drove 30 minutes on Highway 70 to the William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh. Rachel was really interested in hiking... while I was very interested in hiking and scouting any available put in areas for some future yaking! Unfortunately, upon arrival at Umstead, the visitor attendant informed me that no personal boats were allowed in the park, but they did have rental canoes. :-( Indeed! I had no intention of "renting" a paddle craft when I have a perfectly fine kayak of my own! So, with my spirits slightly dampened, we selected to hike Sal's Branch Trail which is rated "moderate" difficulty and was 2.75 miles distance. It passed by Big Lake in Umstead Park, so I would get a glimpse of an "off limits" paddling area.

The trail head near the visitors' center.

Your's truly striking a dramatic silhouette hiking pose!

The trail twisted and wandered among tall trees, still bare of foliage. This area is still in the grips of winter... but spring is just around the corner.

Sal's Branch Trail was identified by orange circles stapled to signs and trees. Also had helpful legends like the "hiker" and "arrows" to help us stay on trail. Umstead has trails for bikes, horses, and two-legged animals like us!

Lots of hard wood trees. In the distance, we could hear jet passenger aircraft landing and taking off at nearby Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The park even has a trail branch with an airport overlook area.

My lovely bride posed in front of this massive fallen tree. The root stem was over 8 feet high and diameter over 10 feet. That was a big one!

Big Lake - the "off limits" to personal boats lake. :-(

The water looked so inviting... I was itching to get my kayak and go for a paddle. Of course, there were no boaters in the water since the rental boat shop was "closed" for another month. What's up with that?

Discovered this "grandfather" tree with a curious branch structure.

I did learn that nearby Lake Crabtree off of Interstate 40 does allow canoeing and kayaking. I checked the Website... and sure enough, saw this wonderful sign...

Hope springs eternal... stay tuned. :-)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Paddling on Lake Holt

3/6/2010 - Lake Holt, Butner, NC

Back in the kayak cockpit again! :-) Saturday was sunny with temperatures in the mid-50's, and I was not going to waste such a day at home! The morning was filled with "domestic" chores... but right after lunch, I loaded the kayak into the back of my truck and headed 20 minutes up Old Oxford Highway to Lake Holt.

Put in was at the Lake Holt boat ramp. The weatherman had called for light winds of 5-10 mph, but at launch the wind was blowing rather "stiffly." I encountered some light chop as I headed out into the lake.
There were a number of fishermen speeding about, so I kept close to the shoreline and decided to explore some quiet coves off the main waters. Hugging the shore also helped reduce the wind and made paddling easier.

I paddled west down this small cove...

... and discovered these interesting rock formations. The slopes are rather steep in many places and both wind and water erosion have exposed a lot of rock face.

Here is a close up of a 5-6 foot boulder.

Beautiful view looking east from another small cove.

I darted out when there was no boat traffic and crossed over Lake Holt to the eastern shore. I decided to paddle down this inlet.

The waterway quickly narrowed...

... with trees forming a canopy over the water.

The cove narrowed to no more then 20 feet from bank to bank. The water at this point was about 1 foot deep and I could easily see the muddy bottom. I was careful so as not to get stuck!

Another nice view paddling west toward the main lake.

It was a beautiful, sunny day with a vivid blue sky...

... and sunlight reflecting off the water surface.
Another restful and enjoyable paddling adventure!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

At Rest... for a While

Hi everyone! The lousy weather and work schedule have put a "hurtin" on my paddling. :-( So, just to let my readers know... I'll continue to post as I paddle... and have kayak information to share with folks. But I'm NOT going to post just to post! Hopefully quality over quantity? Both the "Reflections" and "One Stroke at a Time" sections will be updated frequently. I am SO READY FOR WARMER WEATHER! Stay tuned. More to come.