Monday, June 28, 2010

Another Beaver Dam Lake Adventure!

6/28/2010 - Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC

Hi everyone! Rachel and I were both still tired from our week-long mission trip to Dulac, Louisiana... and since we both took Monday off from work to use as a "transition day"... decided to get in a short paddle before the work week officially started for us on Tuesday. We decided to return to Beaver Dam Lake - a favorite paddling area. Monday morning was partly cloudy with temperatures in the low 80's... hot and humid with SW winds at 10 to 15 mph. There was a 30% change of isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Entrance to Beaver Dam recreation area off of Highway 50.

Parking lot was deserted with nobody in sight! Fantastic! ;-)

PFDs are provided (at no cost) to folks using the beach and swimming area at Beaver Dam. Great idea and hopefully will prevent drownings.

Rachel at the put in area.

We launched and headed SW toward the Beaver Dam. Our plan was to cross under the pedestrian bridge and explore Falls Lake. Saw these Loblolly Bay (Gordonia lasianthus) blooming on the side of the dam.

Unfortunately, our way was barred by a mesh fence and gate located under the bridge. The only way across was to portage our kayak over the shore banks... but since neither one of us was anxious to attempt it... we passed.

Approaching the dam spillage controls. Rachel in her customary front seat.

Beaver Dam Lake is located along the approaches to Raleigh-Durham International Airport... so there are numerous low-flying passenger aircraft that pass over the lake. (Click on the photo to enlarge)

Spied this heron perched in a tree near the shoreline. The bird allowed us to glide almost under him before he flew off across the water.

We completed a brief circuit around the SW corner of the lake... about 1.5 hours of paddling... and called it a day. It was good to "stretch out" our paddling muscles again! Looking forward to our next paddling adventure! Stay tuned. More to come!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Back from Dulac!

Hi everyone! Another "non-kayak" post... but an important one of helping others. I just returned from a week-long mission trip. I thank the Lord for a safe and productive mission trip to Dulac, Louisiana! All honor and glory is His!

We divided our group into two work teams to enable us to work in two houses. We hung sheet rock… pulled out sub-flooring… sanded floors… stripped linoleum… installed a bath tub… hung a light/fan unit… constructed closet shelving… repaired fascia board… cleaned and reorganized a tool shed… etc.

Work conditions were challenging. Temperatures in the mid 90’s F… heat indices over 100 degrees F… 80% - 90% humidity levels… wearing nose filters while using belt sanders on a kitchen floor… so much dirt and sweat on your clothes that the material clings to your body like a second skin.

But it was the people of Dulac… the folks we met and helped that I will most remember! The smiles… the thanks… listening to their stories and struggles… these are the thoughts that will remain with me forever!

So… for a brief moment and time… a difference was made in the lives of folks who struggle on a daily basis… and for that, I am extremely honored and grateful to have played a small part in it.

Peace and blessings to the people of Dulac, Louisiana!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Off to Dulac!

Hi everyone! This is a different post then most you will see on Durhamblogger. It has nothing to do with kayaking... but everything to do with helping others in need.

Several years ago, my wife and I were part of a church mission trip to Dulac, Louisiana to help with rebuilding efforts. We were so moved and impacted by these people and their plight... that we have returned every summer to help and fellowship with some remarkable folks.

You can read more details of the Dulac mission trips at my wife's blog Dulacmissiontrip.

So, for the next week, I'll not be paddling North Carolina waterways... but instead will be helping others who were left up the creek without a paddle.

Please pray for our mission team... and we'll talk when I return. Peace all.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Three is the Charm? Back to Beaver Dam Lake!

6/13/2010 - Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC

I was skeptical about getting another paddle in prior to the week of June 13th. After this weekend, both Rachel and I would be tied up with other domestic duties and obligations for the remainder of June. But, my wife suggested a paddle on Sunday morning... and who am I to say "no" to that request! ;-) Sunday morning was mostly sunny, temperatures in the low 70's, humid, and winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%. We returned to Beaver Dam Lake... a favorite haunt of mine.

There was no attendant at the entrance booth... so no park access fee today! Put in was at the Beaver Dam Lake boat ramp. The beach beside the boat ramp was deserted, except for a family of geese, early Sunday morning.

I spied this couple near the boat ramp... using a stand-on-top kayak (surfboard?) and a more traditional sit-in model. I'll pass on the stand-on-top model... too much work for my liking!

Always a welcome sight... Rachel occupying the front seat of our tandem kayak.

We spied this heron perched in a dead tree near the water's edge. He was still there 1.5 hours later when we passed by on our return leg.

We paddled NE. Rachel wanted a "go" at looking for bald eagles. Here we approach the Old Weaver Trail bridge. It was a tough paddle with both wind and current against us. Also, the humidity was high. Sweat was streaming down my face and stinging my eyes. Several times I had to stop paddling to wipe the sweat from my face. I plan to invest in a sweat band and bring extra towels on our next paddle.

Gorgeous photo of sunlight filtering through the trees along the shoreline!

We paddled near the swamp on the far side of the Old Weaver Trail bridge, but did not spot any bald eagles... or much other bird life for that matter. It was getting really hot on the water late morning, especially when the wind died down and we experienced these "dead" calm water conditions!

On our return paddle, we passed several yakers. Rachel and I got in a good workout and had a fun time on the water. And that's what it is all about... having fun and enjoying nature.

Hope to return to paddling soon. Wonder where our next paddling adventure will take us?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Been Taking Life One Stroke at a Time... Sans Water!

Hi everyone! Life "out of the water" has been very busy for me for the past few weeks... and there will be no letting up until July! :-O Oldest son becoming an Eagle Scout and graduating from high school... Two day orientation at UNC-Charlotte (Go 49ers!) for our rising freshman... a week long mission trip to Dulac, Louisiana (more on that later)... planning for a family vacation in July, etc, etc, etc.
But, no worries. My kayak is waiting patiently for my return to the water!
Right now, I'm taking life "one stroke at a time" on land! Stay tuned, more to come.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What's your favorite paddling snack?

Here's a mix that I like to pack and snack when I'm paddling:

Ghirardel bittersweet chocolate bits
Dry roasted peanuts - lightly salted
Seedless raisins
Dried fruit (pineapple, apricot, bananas, etc.)

(Equal measures of each)

This trail mix is healthy... and gives me that needed "energy boost" when paddling. Good stuff! Warning... be sure to consume before it gets too hot during your paddle... or you will have a chocolate "mess" on your hands! ;-)

What do you pack to snack when paddling? Share some of your favorites!