Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene - Stay Away!

Hurricane Irene, a strong Category 2 storm churns toward the North Carolina coast.

No paddling this weekend - thanks to Irene! sad Durham, NC where I live, is approximately 160 miles from the expected landfall of Irene... so on Saturday we are bracing for 30+ mph winds and rainfall amounts of 1-2" So my kayaks are staying secure in my garage... while my thoughts and prayers go out to the folks who will be severely impacted by this dangerous storm. Stay safe!

Hurricane Irene Update (August 27, 2011)

My neighbor across the street lost a large tree to Irene.

And on a personal note... Irene brought us 30+ mph winds and left some yard debris... but my family and I never lost electricity at our home... and it was pretty much a "none event" for us. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the folks who were "more directly" impacted by this hurricane.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Surprise Paddle at Hickory Hill

August 14, 2011 - Hickory Hill - Durham, NC

Well, a few minutes after posting my Still here, but no paddling! Busy with land stuff! post, and not looking forward to a Sunday cooped up in the house while it poured rain outside... my wife Rachel rushed into the room with a gleam in her eye and exclaimed; "Let's do it!" My mind whirled with possibilities... eek wink ...but than she explained that she had checked radar from her smart phone and it looked like there was a "window of opportunity" this morning to get in a paddle! I jumped up and took a look outside. Sure enough, the rain had stopped... it was lighter toward the east... and there were some breaks in the clouds with small patches of blue sky poking through. Not a minute to lose! We sprang into action like a well oiled machine.... and in short order had both our gear and kayak loaded into my truck... and we were heading towards the Hickory Hill boat ramp on Falls Lake! Sunday late morning temperatures were in the mid to upper 80's, high humidity, and moderate to heavy overcast skies.

Put in at the Hickory Hill boat ramp. I spotted this fellow with a "Jettus" - a combination boat platform + jet ski.

The guy explained to me that the "boat part" of the Jettus was useful because his girl friend liked to sun bath and as storage to haul his fishing gear. He also chuckled and stated that when "things got to where he could not stand it anymore," he could always detach the jet ski and take off!... leaving his girlfriend to fend for herself! Good way to either avoid or end arguments! wink

As we put in and headed directly across Falls Lake, we kept a careful eye on the ominous and threatening weather to our east. Thankfully, the rain held off during our paddle and at times the sun broke through the low hanging cloud cover.

Spotted this Osprey mated pair in a tree on the shoreline.

The Redwood road bridge over Falls Lake.

We paddled down a quiet cove and saw this Osprey nesting platform that had toppled down...

... and just a few hundred yards further into the cove the base of the Osprey nesting platform. Apparently, the platform had been toppled by high winds, snapping off at its base, with the larger section of the wreckage drifting with the currents, to lodge on the shoreline.

Close up photo of a wading Egret. Rachel took this nice pic from her kayak front seat as I slowly and quietly paddled to get into position.

Another pair of Osprey, this time in a functional and upright nesting platform.

The next 6 photos are "beauty shots." Enjoy!

I guess the motto... "where there is a will, there is a way" prevailed today! We had a wonderful paddle at Hickory Hill on Falls Lake. I was thankful that Rachel had been vigilant in regards to watching the radar... and that I was vigilant watching for that gleam in her eyes! You never know what kind of adventure is in store for you? wink

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Still here, But no paddling! Busy with land stuff!

Howdy everyone! Just a quick post to let folks know that I am still "here!" Unfortunately, due to a combination of work stuff, bad weather, and moving our oldest son back to college... all this real life stuff has left no time for paddling! :-(

Hopefully, toward the end of August, there will be fewer "excuses" for not getting out?

Stay tuned. More to come!

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Short Morning Paddle at Hickory Hill

August 1, 2011 - Hickory Hill, Durham, NC

Rachel and I were still tired from a week long mission trip to Dulac, Louisiana... so we both wisely took off Monday. I really wanted to get out for an early morning paddle... but was not up for a long one. Rachel wanted to accompany me, but had a dentist appointment in the morning... so we compromised. Isn't that what marriage is about... a series of compromises with a person you love? ;-) We compromised on a short, late morning paddle at Hickory Hill on Falls Lake. Late morning weather saw temperatures in the mid 80's with high humidity, sunny skies, and a light variable breeze.

Preparing to put in at Hickory Hill boat ramp. There was little breeze or current at the start of our adventure that made for easy paddling... but it sure got hot quickly. Both Rachel and I were drenched in sweat after only paddling a 100 yards or so!

We headed NW hugging the lee shore. Here, the shoreline banks rose 10 - 20 feet and showed signs of extensive wind and water erosion.

Spotted this small island that was home to some egrets and other small wader birds.

One of the numerous route I-85 bridges that span Falls Lake.

This fellow's pontoon boat carried all the comforts of home - barbecue grill, TV, and mosquito repellent torch. I was glad to see a nearly full garbage bag tied to the starboard rail... a better option for disposing of litter... instead of dumping trash over the side as some boaters will do.

Spotted this osprey's nest on the far shore...

... but nobody was home.

We spotted numerous egrets and other wader-type birds striding along in the shallow waters, hunting for their next meal. The "walking on water" illusion was interesting!

Rachel and I had a nice and short late morning paddle at Hickory Hill. It was a good way to get our "paddle arms" back into shape... and as Rachel commented.... "to get our groove back!" ;-) Hope to return to Hickory Hill on Falls Lake soon since there is still a lot to discover here!

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