Saturday, August 10, 2013

Paddling at Hickory Hill (Falls Lake) after nearly a year absence!

 Location: Hickory Hill (Falls Lake), Durham, NC. Temperature: 80F Wind: Light  Conditions: Mostly sunny

Saturday found me with a paddling "itch" and the need to really "scratch" it!  ;-) Rachel was tied up with some work at our house, so it would be a solo adventure for me. I decided to put in at the Hickory Hill boat ramp on Falls Lake. It had been nearly a year since I had last paddled this section of Falls Lake and it was time for a return visit! Click on the photos to enlarge.

I spotted a couple of trucks with trailers in the Hickory Hill parking lot, but I essentially had this area of Falls Lake to myself. Humidity levels were high, but a constant breeze keep me cooled off and was much welcomed!

A short time into my paddle and I spied this lone anhinga or "snake bird" perched on a dead stump.

A short time later, I came across this colony of anhinga, on a small island in Falls Lake. I counted (at least) nine birds in this photo.

A lone heron keeping an eye on a small yellow kayak approaching.  I am always amazed how large fowls are able to cling to the smallest of perches. The diameter of that dead tree is only a few inches.

The remains of a concrete retaining wall or dock? Metal re bar juts out of the broken concrete, that is also splattered with bird droppings.

A serene view overlooking a quiet and still Falls Lake.

The remains of a tree, little more than "skeleton" remains, hollowed out by erosion and insects.

Falls Lake on a summer morning.

The Red Mill Road bridge crossing Falls Lake.

Recent heavy rains have submerged entire rows of trees.

I landed on a small island for a bio break and to stretch my legs.

The small island, no more than 50 feet in diameter, was swampy and water logged.

Small minnows swam in the couple inches of lake water that covered much of the island.

A "no wake" buoy lays discarded among the reeds at the water's edge.

This area of the island was covered with sticky mud that bubbled and "squished" when I walked across it - in my water shoes of course. I also encountered a few swarms of biting flies. Not the most pleasant place to linger. 

However, even here, on this swampy island, I was able to find beauty!

A monarch butterfly in all its glory!

It was a fun and relaxing paddle at the Hickory Hills area of Falls Lake. I am always thankful for my paddles since I am able to see and experience nature up close and personal - something that folks who venture out on our lakes and waterways in motor boats will never see. Until next time!  :-)

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  1. Nice post! I couldn't agree more with your statement about paddling resulting in seeing and experiencing nature up close and personal. More and more I find the slower I paddle, the more I see.

  2. beautiful butterfly and pretty pictures! really enjoyed this!

  3. It's nice to read experiences from other paddlers with the same mind set. Just to just venture out and see what you stumble upon. That's the allure of paddling. Freedom.


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