Sunday, September 25, 2011

Paddling Season - Beginning of the End

Friday, September 23 marked the "official" start of Fall on Man's calendar. Someone or some committee decided many years ago, that this date would signal Summer's end and Fall's beginning.

For me, Fall came "officially" on Sunday, September 25... at approximately 8:00 AM... as I sat sipping a steaming cup of coffee and enjoying a good read on my front porch. The neighboorhood was quiet, nobody stirring, and no cars moving down the street. Only a few birds were flittering among the tree branches. Than Fall came... the familar and somewhat mornful honking of two small flights of geese as they passed over head, flying west. I watched their staggered flights until they passed out of sight over the trees...the noise of their passage fading quickly. And than it was silent again... but the moment had come and passed. I knew than, that while I still could enjoy two months of paddling before water temperatures dropped to dangerous levels... the geese passing marked not the end of my kayak season... but the beginning of the end. Fall had arrived for me.
Copyright Durhamblogger. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shout Out and Thanks to PenobscotPaddles!

Just wanted to say a quick "Thanks" biggrin to both Molly and Mark... the duo behind a Maine and Bay area kayak blog called PenobscotPaddles. Why, you may ask? PenobscotPaddles is the all time highest referring URL site for visitors to Durhamblogger! Yea!

And I'll also add this shameless plug for PenobscotPaddles... It's a great kayak blog with interesting narratives and remarkable photographs! There's a reason I list PenobscotPaddles on my Blog Roll! Be sure to check it out! cool

Thanks again Molly and Mark! I always look forward to reading about your next kayak adventure!

And Molly (one half of PenobscotPaddles) replies...

"Thank you Mike! We appreciate your dedication to safety and your enthusiasm for paddling! We learn from your ideas too; I plan to get a business card with our blogsite on it. (Maybe you could write an article with some tips for a good design???) "

Copyright Durhamblogger. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Solo Paddle at Lake Holt

September 18, 2011 - Lake Holt, Butner, NC

Sunday afternoon was cool, with unseasonable temperatures in the upper 60's, stiff breeze blowing at 10 - 15 mph, and mostly cloudy. Rachel declined my invite to paddle. She does not like to be cold when paddling, so she remained at home. While I enjoy my wife's company on paddle adventures, there are times when I prefer to paddle solo. I find these "alone times" a great opportunity to better connect with nature and myself. I decided for a quick afternoon paddle at Lake Holt, a short 20 minute drive north from our house in Durham.

Put in at the Lake Holt boat ramp.

Ominousness, rain-laden cloud cover greeted me as I launched and headed north on the lake.

Paddling down a quiet cove, I encountered this egret wading along the shore.

Seconds after taking the above photo, the egret took flight and headed directly toward my kayak. I managed to take this slightly blurred photo as the bird passed to starboard of me.

Another cove... another wonderful encounter with nature. This time it was an inquisitive turtle who was keeping a close eye on me as I edged closer to the reptile sunning itself on a dead tree trunk.

Seconds later, it decided I had drifted close enough and tumbled off the tree into the water. I caught this rather cool splash effect as the reptile performed a belly flop! eek

Low water levels and plant roots "searching" for life sustaining water combined to produce these hanging "vines."

The Holt reservoir dam machinery with the spillway in the background.

A beautiful catamaran taking advantage of the stiff breeze over Lake Holt this crisp and fall-like September afternoon.

Three "beauty" photos follow. Enjoy!

A peaceful and relaxing afternoon paddle at Lake Holt with some wonderful encounters with wildlife and nature! I feel privileged to be able to witness such beauty! For me, this is what makes paddling so special and exciting for me! And you can bet when I paddle... as in life... "I take one stroke at a time!" cool

Copyright Durhamblogger. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kayak "Show and Tell" Day!

Howdy! biggrin My company sponsored a "Show Us Your Specialty Day" today... so, of course... I had to show off my "specialty" wink What fun! I had a friend and coworker help me carry my kayak from the company parking lot... through the various "cube farms"... and than we had to lift the kayak (weight 54 lbs) over a six foot cube dividing wall... so we could maneuver the 13 foot long Aquafusion Liberty into a large conference room where the event was held.

I also received several interesting comments as we walked through the work areas... "I don't think you are going to find any water in here" one person dead panned... "I know the roof leaks, so you must be coming prepared" said another employee... and a third exclaimed "Now I've seen it all."

Best of all, during the 3 hour event, several coworkers expressed a real interest in learning more about kayaking! And of course... I was busy handing out my Durhamblogger blog "business card" to all folks that came up to my booth at "Show Us Your Specialty Day" event! Hopefully, I'll run into some "new converts" on the water soon! cool

Copyright Durhamblogger. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

West Point on the Eno hike with a kayak twist!

Hi everyone! biggrin Well, after our morning paddle at the Highway 50 Boat Ramp, Falls Lake... Rachel and I were not quite ready to say "good-bye" to the great outdoors! We decided since we had exercised our upper bodies in the morning... it was time to exercise our lower bodies in the afternoon eek ... our feet to be exact! wink So, we took a drive over to West Point on the Eno for a short hike with a kayak twist!

The plaque reads the following; "West Point on the Eno. Here Charles Abercrombie built a mill in 1778, about which the West Point community developed. In the mill village were post office, general store, blacksmith shop, cotton gin, saw mill and still house. During April, 1865, Union Calvary under General Judson Kilpatrick camped here. The area was created a park by the City of Durham in 1975."

An operating mill at West Point on the Eno. This is the mill spillway and water wheel. You can view some of the gears just below the hanging chain in this photo.

The mill interior with various gears and shafts.

My good friends at Frog Hollow Outdoors rent kayaks ($8.00 per hour) for folks to paddle in the mill pond at West Point on the Eno. I purchased my Aquafusion Liberty 13 kayak from Banks Dixon, who owns and operates Frog Hollow Outdoors.

Frog Hollow employee prepares to put in the canoe for the young couple on the left. I overheard the guy whining and asking if "I really have to wear this [PFD]?" Don't get me started here! mad

Pedestrian bridge over the Eno River.

Here is an example of dangerous and risky behavior - two kids playing on the dam spillway. One slip and victims will tumble 12 feet down onto the large boulders and rocks at the spillway base. But, never fear... the boys' mother was watching them anxiously from the shoreline... and every few minutes she would caution the boys to be careful! Unfortunately, she never ordered them to stop and return to the shoreline. Example of enlightened parenthood? wink

But, on a more positive note... I spotted this flotilla of "first time yakers" who were having the best time on the Eno River... and the group assured me as they paddled by Rachel and me... they would be back paddling on the water soon!

A beautiful summer afternoon at West Point on the Eno!

Copyright Durhamblogger. All rights reserved.

Highway 50 Boat Ramp Joy - Sort of?

September 10, 2011, Highway 50 Boat Ramp, Falls Lake, NC

Saturday, I decided to try a new paddling area... located about a mile and a half along Highway 50... just past Beaver Dam Lake... and known by the unimaginative name of Highway 50 Boat Ramp! wink Early Saturday morning, the temperatures were in the low 70's, low humidity, sunny skies and a slight breeze... wonderful paddling conditions. <span class= Rachel and I had our kayak and gear quickly loaded in my truck.... and by 9:30 AM we were pulling into the huge Highway 50 Boat Ramp parking lot.

Put in at the Highway 50 Boat Ramp. There are actually 6 boat ramps located on this section of shoreline at Falls Lake.

We are looking at the "back side" of Beaver Dam Lake. We actually paddled on the "gasoline motors allowed" side and had to be on constant lookout for fast moving boats. Our paddling strategy was to keep close to the shoreline, stay vigilant, and than paddle directly into any on coming wakes left by fast moving boats. Many motor boat owners don't understand the need to throttle down and minimize their wakes when passing smaller water craft like kayaks, canoes, and sail boats.

Interesting erosion effects!

A "victim" of wind and water lies toppled over into the shallow waters.

On our return to the boat ramps, spied this couple who were struggling to get their high performance motor to crank and run properly. I, for one... was glad they finally gave up! The decibel level on that motor was incredible and it was difficult to hold a conversation on the dock while they struggled to get the motor to turn over! Wonder how much gasoline that bad boy uses? confused

I was glad we took out when we did. As I was hiking up the boat ramp to get my truck, a convoy of 4 vehicles pulling boat trailers entered the parking lot and drove down to the boat ramps. It was getting really crowded by noon... and with a lot of boats much bigger than our kayak! eek

A couple of "beauty photos!"

Our paddle at the Highway 50 Boat Ramp was a mixed bag. On the plus side... the weather was fantastic... and we got in a good upper body workout. On the negative side... we had to stay vigilant because of the the large numbers of fast moving motor boats... battle numerous wakes... and the motor noise on this section of Falls Lake eliminated any chance of us catching much in the way of wild life. sad Future paddles here will either be done during the week or in the October and November time frames.

Copyright Durhamblogger. All rights reserved.