Travel only with thy equals or thy betters;
if there are none, travel alone.
if there are none, travel alone.
I was amazed to see a sudden drop in the forecast of overnight temperatures, and so of course I immediately made plans to return to camping, which I have missed. There has been a change in my camping dynamic. I was a tenter for many years but decided to upgrade to a camper. I always enjoyed the coziness of my tent and felt no need for much more space, so I went with a small 13' Scamp. Having a door that closes (with a latch, not a zipper) and a sink and a stove (and lights!) seems like the height of luxury and suits me just fine. However, this created a problem with the kayak on those camping trips that also include paddling. I did not relish the idea of having to wrestle my boat on top of my (tall) Xterra by myself (particularly in the event of a strong wind). The logical solution was to purchase a boat that would fit inside the Xterra, and so that's what I did. I ended up with a 10-foot-long, bathtub-wide Santee 100. This worked out extremely well, although I can't recommend a 10' boat to anyone not faced with serious transport issues. Here's the new gear at the campsite (this is Florida; of course I got the optional screen door for the camper!):
It was too windy to paddle the first day, so I spent that time reading and relaxing. The next day I was able to get out paddling and was out for over 3 hours. I have missed paddling on this lake, though wildlife is usually pretty scarce. I was fairly lucky on this day.
My first bird sighting was an egret, standing in the sunshine.
The birds on this lake are very skittish around paddlers. That one took off right after I got the above photo.
And off he goes.
This anhinga was drying its wings as I approached, but folded them in while I drifted by.
Great blue herons can be very difficult to see when they stand still in front of a gray tree trunk. Time after time I passed close by one and did not see it until it flew off in front of me. I was finally able to get a photo of one of them as it soared by.
I love to watch egrets land. They are so graceful for such large birds with such a wide wingspan. This one flew past me and then landed on the walkway next to the public boat ramp (not the one I launched from, in the campground). The approach:
Landing gear down...
And touch down...
There's a little inlet next to the campground, and coots and moorhens hang out there (their calls are wonderful and eerie in the dead of night). As I was crossing it on my way back to the site, I saw a coot to my right. I had a feeling that it was going to make a mad dash for the safety of the inlet to my left and so I had the camera ready when it did.
It decides that ought to be far enough and puts on the brakes.
And back in the water...
Later that day I hiked for about an hour and then had dinner. After dinner, as the sun was getting lower in the sky, I walked down to the lake and took a few photos.
This one was taken from the boat ramp, which was directly in front of my campsite (#8), so this was basically my view while I was there:
About 20 minutes later I got this one from the same spot, but looking to the right at a larger area of lake:
I have a long list of campgrounds I hope to visit this season, many of which include new paddling spots for me. Hopefully our lower temperatures will hold. Stand by.