Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kayaking

When I was a young girl, my parents had a boat, and spring, summer and fall, every weekend, we would anchor the boat in some remote location. It was a motor boat, not super big, but big enough for sleeping and eating and it even had a kitchen and a toilet. I spent my weekends and vacations on the water from the time I was a baby until I left the house many moons later.
 
Their first boat was called the Ronoscar, combining the names of my two elder brothers. I have noticed that a lot of boat owners go for combo names like that. When I was born, my father didn't really want to change the name of the boat, so he made sure that my name fit in with the boat. He decided on naming me Karen, so the only change he had to make to the boat name was turning it into Ronoskar. How convenient! I was barely weeks old when I made my first trip on the water .
 
For years they wanted a bigger boat, but money and other issues made it hard to make the decision to upgrade. Eventually they made the jump to a bigger boat (resulting in the only EVER summer vacation I did NOT spend on the water, but instead at a camping on the coast of France, so still close to the water). Their decision making for this new boat had been so hard and had taken so much time and anxiety that they decided to ditch the children's name and call it the 'De Twijfelaar' instead, which is loosely translated as 'The Doubter' or 'The Indecisive'
 
One of the places we liked to go had a blue heron rookery. We usually were anchored reasonably close to it, and we could either row past in a row boat, or hike over land to reach it. I spent many hours observing the rookery, the coming and going of the birds, the incredible noise generated, and just enjoying the specialness of seeing the birth place of so many young herons. Yeah, there wasn't much else to do when our boat was anchored in the middle of nowhere, one can only sit and read for so long till one wants to go out and explore the great outdoors.

When a local park and rec department advertised for a kayaking trip, and included a blue heron rookery in their write up I perked up. So many years have gone by, but I still can distinctly remember the sights and the shrieks and the awesomeness of the high nests. I called my friend and said 'You really want to go on a kayaking trip, right? Great! I found us one!' and we signed up.

Well, the trip was great, but the rookery was a slight disappointment. Look at the next picture and you can kinda see a nest in the top of that tree. Which is a good description of this particular rookery. We saw a bunch of nests, and I could feel the blue heron energy, but I could also see and tell that it had not been used for a while.


 
Our guide told us that the rookery was empty last year, and this year there is no sign of activity either. Too bad! Would have been cool to see a rookery again. Hmmm, maybe I should do some research and find out whether there is an active rookery nearby. In my spare time or so...

Even although there were no herons, I saw another big bird suddenly alight from the trees. Its wing span was huge, and I couldn't identify it immediately , but our guide recognized it as a bald eagle.

Wow! That is at least as cool as a rookery, so I happily peddled over to where the eagle had landed and where it allowed us to make many pictures of it. It is a juvenile, most likely from last year, since it doesn't have the distinctive baldishness yet. I loved seeing it and it just ignored us and pretended we were not there at all.


 
There still were a lot of signs of tropical storm Irene hitting Vermont last year. The shorelines looked pretty ravaged at places and there were containers and other things just stuck in unexpected locations.
 
I spent so many hours on the water as a kid, on motor boats, sail boats, row boats, kayaks, even windsurfing. All the good memories came flooding back by spending a couple of hours on this lake and river. It was a lovely and pleasant afternoon.
 
Today we did another kayaking trip, but this one included rapids, so I didn't want to take my camera with me. You'll have to live vicariously through my description.
 
In the description the rapids weren't very impressive (class 2) and it turned out they indeed were very do-able and way fun. The right amount of action for a bit of a thrill, but never more than a few splashes and you would emerge on the other side of the rapids and go like 'I wish I could do that again!'
 
We got dropped off just upstream of a bunch of rapids and a tiny waterfall, so the action started almost right away. After a few rapids like that, the river got calmer and the rest of the way we enjoyed the current propelling us, occasionally meeting somewhat rougher water and being happy about being out in a kayak on a gorgeous and hot day.
 
We saw a few goose families with gooselings, a duck with ducklings (have to see whether I can figure out which type of duck it was, it had a red head, definitely not a mallard), some crows, a lot of red winged black birds, and many birds I couldn't identify. Maybe I should add birding to my priorities. In my spare time, right.
 
We noticed a Little Tykes toddler slide stuck on one of the banks, and many other signs of Irene.
 
Both kayaking trips were great, and have reconnected me with the water. Now that I know the local kayaking rental place, I might do this more often. I just loved it.
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5 comments:

flyingfisher said...

Thanks for alerting me to your new blog post. nice pix! Good was to remember the day. :-)

I think I'd want someone with good experience to lead if I ever were to go to the Sharon sections with hard rapids, but part of me wants to do that, too.

Amy said...

What a happy and lovely blog entry; thank you for sharing it with us!

NannyOgg said...

Flyingfisher. Sure, let's do the bigger rapids next time, I am always up for a challenge. In our spare time, you know ^^

Thanks Amy! I really enjoyed writing it and reliving all those happy times I had when I was young and spent so much time on the water.

Lynn said...

That looks like so much fun! Glad you discovered it and shared.

NannyOgg said...

Thanks Lynn!
Let's see whether I will be able to find more kayaking opportunities this summer.

Karen