Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day paddle at Beaver Dam Lake!

 Location: Beaver Dam Lake, Wake County, NC.  Temperature: 72F Wind: Light 5 - 10 mph Conditions: Partly sunny

So, as part of our Memorial Day "double-header" paddling adventures, Rachel and I decided to head to one of our favorite put in areas - Beaver Dam Lake!  Click on the photos to enlarge.

 Mid-morning at Beaver Dam Lake. The waters were still like glass. It made for excellent paddling conditions. We headed north-east to look for the elusive bald eagles that are known to frequent this more quiet and secluded area of the lake.

Since it was Memorial Day, we did encounter lots of folks enjoying themselves in kayaks, canoes, and small electric-motorized water craft.

Close encounter with an anhinga or "snake bird."

Cliff swallow mud pellet nests under the Weaver Dairy Road Bridge.

An abandoned bird observation platform.

The wide open expanse of swampy area located in the north-eastern corner of Beaver Dam Lake.

We took a quick bio break here to stretch our legs and backs on our return paddle.

We were not the first individuals to visit this spot. The remains of a camp fire and spits used to roast the fish over the open flames. We found the carcass of several fish close by the camp site.

A large tandem touring kayak passing our "stretching legs rest stop." Amusing story. Rachel and I eventually caught up and passed this couple from several 100 yards away. We were really stroking it as we passed the slower moving tandem, and the guy in the back seat called out to us. "What kind of motor do you have in your kayak?" I called back. "None. But we have been paddling for 3 years!"

Up close and personal with a butterfly.

Two amazing up close photos of a blue heron stalking...

... and successfully snatching lunch from the lake. There is a large fish hanging from the bird's beak. Click on the photo to enlarge.

And so ends our wonderful "double-header" Memorial Day weekend paddling adventures! No bald eagle sightings. But, fantastic weather and getting to share it with Rachel made it extra special! Looking forward to our next adventure soon!

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

A short and relaxing paddle on the Eno River!

  Location: Eno River, Durham, NC Temperature: 68F Wind: Light Conditions: Sunny

Memorial Day weekend meant an extra day off from work... and more opportunities for paddling! Rachel and I decided to check out the Eno River following church on Sunday.  

We put in at the Eno River boat ramp and paddled west to avoid the fishermen crowd. The Eno River was swollen and very muddy from recent rains. There was little to no current that made for an easy and relaxing paddling adventure! 

We spotted a few turtle sunning themselves on dead trees.

A blue heron relaxing in the shade of a tree. Nice reflection of the bird in the still waters of the Eno River.

A "hitchhiking" butterfly attached itself to Rachel's sun hat.

We made the circuit around Oxbow Island. The water way narrowed at several spots and at times we had no more than 6 inches of water under our keel, but we made it around the island.

Here is Rachel's "Ent man" - this time of year clothed in his summer finery!

Rachel swiveled around in her seat and snapped a photo of yours truly, the Durhamblogger. I was wearing my dazed, sleepy look, just letting the sun and calm river conditions wash over me!  ;-)

It was a beautiful day and a relaxing paddle on the Eno River. Paddling allows me to be reflective, "catch my breath", and just slow down for a few blissful hours. Who can ask for any more than that?

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Monday, May 13, 2013

L. L. Bean displays proper PFD-equipped models in their Summer Outdoors 2013 catalog!

Mike, the Durhamblogger extends two enthusiastic "thumbs up" to L. L. Bean for showing proper PFD-equipped models in their Summer Outdoors 2013 catalog! Even the stand-up paddleboard (SUP) models, who are traditionally photographed in swim trunks and bikinis, have donned PFDS!

Now, if only other major outdoor clothing manufacturers like Eddie Bauer would follow L. L. Bean's lead... we might start a trend here?

I also contacted L. L. Bean directly and received this response from Deborah S. in Customer Service:

"We appreciate you writing in your blog about our models wearing appropriate safety attire in our catalog, Mr. West. L.L.Bean is a strong proponent of  work site and recreational safety. Thank you for noticing and taking the time to write to us today- as well as mentioning it in your personal blog. It is something that should be consistent across all retailers, especially since safety should always come before fashion!  Thank you again for the good press and have a great week!"

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Paddling and enjoying nature at Lake Michie!

 Location: Lake Michie, Bahama, NC Temperature: 52F Wind: Gusting to 14mph Conditions: Cloudy

Saturday was not shaping up to be ideal paddling weather with temperatures in the low 50's F and a stiff breeze blowing. But with no option for paddling the next two weekends, I had to go for it! Rachel decided it was too cold for her, so I embarked on a solo trip to Lake Michie. Click on the photos to enlarge. 

I decided to paddle north into the more sheltered and narrow end of the lake. I wanted to avoid the majority of fishermen and reduce the effects of the cold wind. 

This bobber hangs like a Christmas tree ornament, evidence of a past fishing visit and wayward cast.

The remains of a wooden dock rock gently in the slight current.

Two intrepid "yaker" fishermen casting fishing lines in a quiet cove.

A heron watching my approach from the shallow waters near the shoreline.

A male cardinal perched on a rocky embankment.

A remarkable close-up photo of a goose nesting on a rock shelf. I had nearly paddled by the bird, before I spotted it about 10 - 15 feet up the side of a large rock formation.

This goose may be the mate of  the bird in the previous photo. I saw it swimming approximately 25 - 50 yards from the rock shelf that held the nesting goose.

Two heron (middle left), perched on a rock, looking for a late morning fish meal.

I caught this small fellow in my lens too!

Aside from the many birds I saw, nature was out in full force with her beauty and colors! Here, a dash of red perched on a rock formation at water's edge.

A splash of white, back lit by the sun, stands out against the green foliage. 


Close up pink!

One of many impressive and majestic rock formations that line both banks of Lake Michie.

A heron takes to flight over the rocks and flowing water that marks the most northern extension of Lake Michie.

Another relaxing and fun paddling adventure. Early May, and I am looking forward to (at least) 5 more months of paddling! I can't wait for my next adventure!  :-)

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