Friday, October 02, 2009

Back to Lake Seminole From Three Rivers State Park

Travel only with thy equals or thy betters;
if there are none, travel alone.
~The Dhammapada

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.

Running hard:

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.


Alan said...

Thanks for posting about the camper. My wife and I camp in my 81 VW camper. I feel like a wuss sometimes other than when I'm sleeping on a cushioned mattress with an air conditioner blowing soundly.

Beverly said...

That little camper looks like just the trick. I never tire of seeing your photos of egrets and herons taking off and landing.

Happy camping! and kayaking.

Sue said...

That's a cute camper.
Don't you normally put your kayak on the Xterra? Do you have some rollers to move it on from behind?

Sandra said...

Peggy, glad you are safely home and once again with wonderful pictures. the view from you camper (it is adorable) is so peaceful and quiet. the walk on water Coot is my favorite. Love those action shots. and of course the birds all look like they are dancing for you.

Peggy said...

Thanks for the comments!

Sue, I usually use a kayak trailer to transport my boat, pulling it behind the car. I love the trailer, easy-on, easy-off! But can't do that when there's a camper behind the car... So the short boat was the simplest way for me to go (I'm only 5'2, Xterras are mighty tall, particularly when you add cradles to the roof rack!).

Kimberlee said...

That camper is SO sharp looking! I know you are going to have a blast with it. That whole camp site photo looks fun to me...everything you need, just within reach. :)

Crayons said...

Hi Peggy,
I'm back after two months without computer and Internet connection.

I feel so at home in your blog. A friend asked me how I can look at so many photos of my favorite bird (snowy egret) and my dad's totem (great blue heron). I thought about it and realized that you are doing what Claude Monet did: the same haystacks year after year, all of them worth viewing.

I like this new development of photos of your own presence. Very cool camping get-up.

Mike said...

Hi Peggy!

Incredible photos! How did you get so "brave" to venture on the waters with (what must be?) an expensive camera??!! I've tried my hand at some kayaking photos... view them at

"Taking life one stroke at a time"

I'm adding your blog to my favorites! :-)

Joanne said...

What a neat camper! I know you will enjoy that.

Rikostan said...

Awesome pics! I think the camper would be just the thing we need. My wife just won't sleep on the ground anymore, so our camping trips have been greatly curtailed.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Someday I'd love to get up there to Lake Seminole, especially to see Woodruff Dam. Excellent quote at the front too.

Mike said...

Hi Peggy!

Are you taking a break from blogging? It's been nearly a month since your last post? Any paddling trips in the planning stages?

Peggy said...

Hi Mike,

This is the longest I have ever gone between paddling trips! I finally surrendered to the heat--it's really no fun to paddle when it's that hot. And then it cooled down a bit....just in time for my fall week in NC (not paddling). Now I am back, and this is our third consecutive day of rain. Just can't get a break! I'll get out eventually!

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