This was a camping trip to Reed Bingham State Park near Adel, Georgia. I found out that they will be draining their (imaginatively named) lake on December 9th (to get rid of the “invasive vegetation,” which is indeed taking over the shoreline) and it will stay low until the end of January. So I decided to move this trip up to the top of the list.
It was very overcast almost all the time during the three days I was there; however, it only actually rained at night. Nonetheless, having to watch the sky and be aware of the distance back to the boat ramp can put a crimp on paddling. I will be returning to this park when their lake is refilled and there is a more favorable weather forecast.
I wanted to get a picture of the lake from the boat ramp and thought it would be very scenic in sunlight, perhaps with some blue sky reflecting in it. That was clearly not going to happen this trip, so I took one in the existing conditions. This is facing the place where the lake narrows down to be New River.
I paddled on Tuesday after setting up camp, and again on Wednesday. Shortly after leaving the boat ramp on Tuesday, I came to a belted kingfisher in a tree. The thing I like about this picture is that it is the first reasonably clear picture I have gotten of a male—every other picture has been of a female. Another thing I like is that it is recognizable despite my having only the 200mm lens with me instead of the 300mm (I try not to think of how it would have appeared had I had the stronger lens along…).
I paddled around the edge of the lake; I was the only boat on the water. When I reached the beginning of the river, I decided to take a chance that the rain would hold off and explore it a bit. This decision was helped by seeing this sign—are these words not a joy to every paddler?
As with those on the corresponding camping blog entry, all of the pictures from this trip are a bit darker than usual due to the lack of sunshine.
The lake was fun to paddle and had an interesting shoreline but the river was beautiful. There are many islands in it, and the shoreline is woodsy, with some cypress trees and live oaks in some parts and small trees and lots of shrubbery in others. It was very quiet in there.
This great blue heron was hanging out at the edge and was not at all disturbed by my presence.
The river winds for a fairly long way. I passed a man fishing and asked how far it went and he said it went “all the way” to a bridge I have never heard of, but I got the gist of what he was saying—it goes a long way. However, shortly after passing him I encountered a lot of that invasive vegetation they want to get rid of and decided, given the weather and the lateness in the day, I would turn around and head back.
I passed these turtles sitting on a log. The one in the back doesn’t seem to have a fair share of log.
I went out again the next day, under the same threatening gray clouds. Some coots escorted me for a short distance along the edge of the lake.
I came to another great blue heron, this one hunkered down in the shoreline vegetation, looking a bit different from their usual posture.
I went into the river again. If it’s this pretty on a dark day, I can only imagine what it must be like in sunshine under blue sky (I’ll plan the next trip for such a time).
I passed this egret, who had been preening and scratching and had just fluffed:
I went the same distance on this day as well before turning around. This time I thought I would try to circle the other side of the lake to get back to the boat ramp. I had only just started when I heard a kingfisher. It was another male (or the same one)—despite having the longer lens on this day, the pictures didn’t come out any better. I did get one as he flew away, though (this is my usual view of these birds…)
The gray clouds were getting darker gray and I didn’t think I would make it all the way around the lake this time so, since I was the only boat in the lake area and didn’t have to worry about being invisible to power boaters, I cut straight across. This egret watched me approach the edge.
I will get back here again in February or March. This lake is a popular water-skiing lake in summer, and seeing as it is only 375 acres, paddling it would be impossible then. It’s only an hour from where I live, though, so this could be done as a day trip. However, the camping was excellent, and the park has some very interesting hiking trails. More information on those aspects of the park can be found on the Camping Blog site.
Rain is in our forecast for the next several days so there will be no paddling trips in the immediate future. Stand by.