Saturday, August 28, 2010

Late Morning Paddle at Beaver Dam Lake

8/28/2010 - Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC

It had been a stressful week for me... moving our oldest son John to UNC Charlotte... adjusting to one less son at home... and some work-related "challenges"... I was ready for some paddling come this weekend! And what better place... then Beaver Dam Lake... one of my favorite yaking "haunts!" ;-) I was set for an early morning paddle, but Rachel first wanted to go to the Durham Farmers Market since she had a hankering for fresh produce. We finished that chore around mid-morning... and since I had loaded our kayak the night before in my truck... we were able to get back on the road toward Beaver Dam Lake with a minimum of delay. We arrived at the park entrance around 10:45AM... paid the customary $6.00 (too high IMHO)... and drove down toward the two boat ramps. Saturday late morning had some beautiful weather with temperatures in the high 70's, partly cloudy, low humidity, and dead calm - no breeze at all.

A father and son were preparing their small sailboats near the boat ramps while a third fellow was getting ready to put in his kayak. Both sailboats were also pedal-powered... which was fortunate since there was no breeze at all!

Spotted this guy in a scull boat. Rachel chatted with him briefly before we put in and asked him how he knew (or could see) where he was going... since he sat "backwards" as he "sculled along." He replied that he wears a mirror apparatus that attaches to his cap... similar to the ones worn by cyclists... so he can keep an "eye" on his route! Now we know!

Me preparing to put in at one of the boat ramps.

Passed this happy yaker on our outward leg. Note how calm and still was the water surface - like glass!

The dead calm conditions made for ideal paddling!

Rachel, in her customary front seat, took these two wonderful photos of an Anhinga. It is also known as the "Snakebird," and often swims with its body submerged and only its head and long slender neck visible above the water.

We stopped paddling as we approached the Anhinga... and just drifted... getting to within 15-20 feet of it before the bird took to flight. Rachel had her finger on the camera shutter button as we approached... and took this "neat" shot as the bird leaped off its tree stump perch and into the air. It is these kinds of "close encounters" while paddling that are so memorable and special.

Beaver Dam Lake has many bird shelters scattered along the shoreline.

Spotted two turtles sunning themselves on a dead tree branch in a quiet cove.

Beautiful Beaver Dam Lake on a late August morning!


  1. Mike, looks like you had a great paddle! I agree fully with that "dead calm" comment. Smooth as glass water is great to paddle, isn't it? Rachel had great timing for the Anhinga. Very nice shot!
    Did I miss the answers to the cloud questions? We're pretty good at gauging the weather here, but I admit to relying heavily on the internet before we take off for a paddle in the morning! (Not just the forecast-- like to see when a front is approaching and especially like the time-cast type which shows movements of systems over a 24 hour period, etc.) We are hoping for a fairly dry September so that we can get in a few more trips before the snow starts to fall here. (October the past two years we've received snow that has stayed!)

  2. Hi Ang! I am still waiting for someone to take a guess at the cloud formation questions! Maybe you? I also use the Internet to check out daily paddling conditions, but there is always the chance for unexpected weather to move into the area. A typical summer time pattern here in the South are for mid-to-late afternoon thunderstorms that suddenly "brew up" - especially over water regions. I try to "extend" my paddling season as long as possible and can usually paddle through most of December. This season, I WILL stop paddling once the water temperatures get low since I don't own dry suit gear.

  3. Mike,
    Still enjoying your blog and your photos. I would have guessed correctly on 2 of the 4 cloud photos. Thanks for naming them! We have some pop up showers here too, but not many that are unpredictable. We had a humid summer so there were more of those than in most summers recently. We don't have dry suits either, but for us, it's more about the air temp. since the waters hold some warmth in Oct. As I said, we've received snow in October that hasn't gone away, so our season is coming to an end very soon. I envy your ability to kayak into December!

  4. Hi Ang! I figured I better go ahead and name the cloud formations, so folks would know the dangerous (and potentially dangerous)ones! Glad you have resumed your blog posts and look forward to reading more about your paddling adventures in NY.


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