Saturday, October 15, 2011

Paddle Report

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Oh, yes, some of you have had snow already…but we’re unashamedly reveling in perfect fall weather.  When I noticed the leaves starting to turn, and read the weather report, I knew I had to get back on the Catawba to see Mother Nature’s dress-up show.

I hope you can stand another post about kayaking at the Whitewater Center.  This one has lots of pictures.  Because I was thinking of you, my bloggy audience.

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They have loads and loads of kayaks there…I suspect they just invested in more.  At the far end of the dock, you can see another new option: 25-foot long canoes for 12 people.  Wow.  I wouldn’t want to try turning one of those around!

There were a few other kayakers around, but not nearly as many as on a hot July afternoon.

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As you can see, my timing wasn’t quite right…either I arrived early to the show, or this isn’t going to be as good as last year’s.  It was still worth being out in the gorgeous weather, at any rate.

And there was still some color lurking about, here and there…

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I even took a little video to share with you, as I slid beneath a colorful display (never mind the grating noise of my sliding over a submerged branch).

Now, here’s a little mystery I solved…as I wound my way back into my favorite creek, I heard what at first I took to be bikers on the trails high above me.  Then I realized the brisk breezes were shaking something out of the trees.  They rattled down through the branches and leaves below them, before shooting into the water with mysterious “ploop!” sounds.

Ooo, what could they be?  The only trees I could identify with the sun shining in my face were poplars, which, as far I knew, weren’t known for their nut production.  As I returned back out of the creek, I spotted one floating on the surface and paddled under the canopy to scoop it up.

They looked like pecans, but I’m not sure what they are.  (The water bottle is for reference.)  (Yes, those are my bare feet on either side.)

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Then I spotted something entirely different, which at first I thought was a small apple.

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I took a sniff, and instead of the sweet smell of fruit, I got the piney, pungent scent of black walnut.  They grow them big down here!

Then I spotted another one floating nearby and decided I should get out from under the trees before the next breeze came by.

Besides the changing of the leaves, the slide into fall was also marked by a distinct absence of turtles.  Normally, every other decent-sized log lounging in the water had a mini-party of reclining reptiles.  Today I saw only two, on two different sections of the stream.

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I also saw the neighborhood great blue heron and osprey.

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It was just a plain ol’ beautiful day to be alive.

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I spent about two hours paddling up and down the river, finding out the cut-through in the island was too low to paddle, and wandering around the south end of the island (oh, there you are, Mr. Heron).  The hardest part of the whole thing is hauling my wet tushie out of the kayak and up the steep hill through the woods.

Once back onto the main grounds of the Whitewater Center, I took a break to watch some of the whitewater kayakers.

That’s what Miss Chef was not even close to being able to do.  You’ve got to respect those skills.

Tomorrow's big adventure is the Carolina Renaissance Festival, which we've gone to for the past 4 or 5 years.  I'll probably take pictures, but it might be awhile before I can post anything here.  (Of course, you could always check out this post from 2009.)

In the meantime, I think I'll go take some shoulder seems to be a bit, er, tired.


  1. Your pictures bring peace into my heart. Ahhhhh! Contentment. Wish I could go there myself!

  2. LOVE the video of you gliding under the trees - I think you could sell it as a meditation video!

    We have been having some lovely fall days here, too - a reprieve from the expected rainy weather. What a gift!

  3. Way cool report, Flartus! Have you and Miss Chef ever been to Nantahala Gorge? I used to drive by the rafters on the way to my Mom's.

    Our first snow is long over, and we have glorious fall weather too.

  4. Beautiful pictures. It looks so peaceful and your fall colors are so much prettier than here. There are a few yellow leaves but that is about it.

  5. Looks like a perfect fall day. I could just smell fall through your pictures. Beautiful! :)

  6. I'm very jealous of ALL your weekend trips! I think the small quartered nut is a hickory BTW. I just picked some up while on a preschool outing. Love all your pretty nature shots and wish I lived a bit further south these days! ;-)


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