Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Wacissa From Goose Pasture

Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready
to have somebody click the shutter.
~Ansel Adams

I had been curtailing my paddling outings due to the hot weather, but when DH suggested a paddling trip, it sounded like a good idea. We decided to try a new route to get to Goose Pasture (at the lower end of the Wacissa River) that supposedly cut about 20 miles off the trip.

And it probably did, but since it is mostly dirt roads with no traffic and no cell service I doubt I will be taking it alone. At any rate, we arrived at the river at about 2 pm and paddled upstream.

It's been a long time since I have paddled this river from this end. It's like being on the upper Wacissa...but not exactly. For one thing, the water is nearly warm, which is just plain bizarre for this river. I guess there aren't many springs at this end, and of course it is a shallow river. The shoreline is similar to that at the top, yet different. It was almost like paddling in a new place, which I haven't done for a long time.

There are fewer birds, and they are far shyer than those at the top. Of course there are egrets, which show up like beacons along the edges.

We think the same egret kept flying off when we got close, landing a short distance ahead of us and then taking off again when we approached.

We only saw one very small gator. I was very pleased to spot an otter swimming by the shoreline!

While we were paddling upstream, I made a comment about wishing we could see some baby moorhens. I peered into all the reeds and tussocks as we paddled by.

This part of the river has a lot of islands, both dense surface vegetation ones and those with soil and trees on them. There was a lot of surface growth and the water level seemed low, so there were portions that were extremely narrow. As we passed through those, we often had tall rushes and other flowering plants towering over us on either side. It was very pretty.

We only saw a few little blue herons, which is quite different from the top part of this river. This one flew off as we paddled by. Kind of an odd photo, but I decided to include it.

In a fairly short time we reached what seemed to be nearly a dead end--the river narrowed to about a foot wide, with only grass tussocks ahead. People often float the length of this river so there probably would have been a way to continue on upstream, but since the sky was darkening and we had been hearing distant thunder, we decided to turn around and drift downstream.

We passed this anhinga that was perched high in a tree. This is one of those photos that I get once in a while--I'm not sure which is more interesting, the bird or the tree.

And then I heard that distinctive peeping sound. Two adult moorhens were leading a group of babies around. Those little fuzzy ones are just so cute!

Another bird that you will nearly always see on this river, no matter where you are, is a limpkin. Today was no exception.

As we neared the boat ramp we passed a snowy egret posing near a moorhen.

Because of the increasing thunder we decided not to explore the Slave Canal on this trip. It was a great paddling day with sublime scenery. We want to get back to this part of the river more often when the weather cools. This was mid-day on a Saturday on the Wacissa and we saw a total of one power boat the entire time we were on the water! An air boat left the ramp as we were loading up our kayaks to head home (good timing!). I doubt the upper portion of the river was as uncrowded. I look forward to returning to this spot.

I'll be back. Stand by.


Sandcastle Momma said...

Your photos are stunning as always! I love the tree the anhinga is standing on. Looks like a fun day.

Island Rider said...

Oh, I just love the picture of the otter. Thanks for sharing.

Stacie said...

Awsome! My poor kayak has only been in water *ONCE* this whole season thus far. Once. it's heartbreaking really. I miss it so much. I live vicariously through yours...