Friday, September 17, 2010

Morning Paddle at Falls Lake

09/17/2010 - Sandling Beach (Falls Lake), Wake Forest

My boss gave all her employees a "Snow Day" that could be used the Friday prior to Labor Day weekend... or on a date chosen by us. I elected to hold onto my "Snow Day" and use it today for another paddle adventure! Rachel had to work, so she was unable to go with me. I decided to return to Sandling Beach at Falls Lake. Friday morning at 8:00AM the temperature was 73F, partly sunny, light winds, and low humidity... perfect yaking weather!

I arrived at the Sandling Beach park entrance right after 8:00AM and was greeted by this wonderful sign! I got to keep my $6.00 park entry fee and put it to better use... buying lunch!

I drove to shelter #1 and backed into a parking slot close to the paved walkway. Falls Lake is just to the right of the shelter, approximately 200 yards from the parking lot.

Once again, my vehicle was the only one in the parking lot!

Put in area past shelter #1. Thankfully, I remembered to bring my kayak cart... and it was a BIG help in getting the 65lb kayak down to the shoreline!

I launched and immediately encountered a stiff SE breeze that produced some chop and current. It made for a tough paddle on my outward leg. At times, the kayak bow would lift and slam back down on the water. A few times... water went over the bow. The breeze on the open water was much stronger then I expected.

It was partly sunny early into my paddle and the cloud formations were gorgeous.

I spotted this red bogey board with the remains of a tow rope still attached to it.

Always looking to see what is around that next bend!

Boat storage structure, part of the Rollingview Marina.

Saw some nice pleasure boats moored at the marina.

Lots of powered and sail craft docked here.

Maybe not the best name for a sail boat?

As my paddle progressed, the skies became more cloudy and at one point I noted some dark and threatening cloud formations to the west. The increased cloud cover produced some spectacular photos to share on Durhamblogger!



I landed on a small beach opposite shore from the Rollingview Marina to stretch, snack, and take a bio break.

Beach looking SE.

Back on the lake, I noted these tree colors signaling that Fall will be here in a few days... scheduled for September 22nd to be exact!

Approaching one on the many Highway 50 bridges that span Falls Lake.

On the other side of the bridge, I saw this nice boat ramp area.

I landed to stretch and explore. This beach was very rocky and the lake bottom dropped off sharply just 1-2 feet from shore.

Nice buoy and marker display. Hopefully, folks will take time to understand and obey these buoys when they encounter them on Falls Lake.

There were 6 boat ramps located here... one of the largest boat ramp facilities I have seen on Falls Lake.
I love seeing this sign at boat ramps! Unfortunately, many folks never wear PFDs. I never understood that kind of mentality... and every year there are a handful of folks who drown while either boating or swiming in our area lakes. Tragedies that could be avoided or minimized if they would just wear their PFDs!

It is also good to see the state getting more serious about boating safety.

On my return paddle... I was in for a treat! I saw my first bald eagle on Falls Lake! I spotted the bird perched on this tree branch overhanging the water... so I stopped paddling... and tried to float closer. Unfortunately, the wind and current were against me... and as I fumbled with the camera... the water chop caused my kayak to rock in the swell... making it very difficult to steady my camera aim. The bald eagle leaped into the sky... I took the shot... and I was "sure" that I had missed it entirely. However... when I down loaded my photos... I discovered that I had captured this magnificent bird (in a somewhat blurry photo) as it took to flight. (Click on the photo to enlarge) and you will see it in the upper left framed against the tree branch.
Back at my put in / take out area at shelter #1.

A really nice paddle adventure at Falls Lake with the bonus of seeing my first bald eagle! :-)

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