November 13, continued: My stopping place, after a relatively short driving day, was about half way across the southern part of Louisiana. Uncle Dick Davis Park is a small parish (county) RV park along Butte LaRose Bay, which looks more like a small river. There’s a boat launch, and that’s where I headed first when I arrived at about 3:15. By 3:30 I was on the water, enjoying the late afternoon sun. One side is very built up, with small houses; the other is mostly wild. There was a lot of bird life – many egrets, a few herons, several kingfishers, some cormorants.
And this cat was watching that second heron:
Paddling back into the setting sun made it hard to spot wildlife – or see much of anything, for that matter! But after a couple of hours on the water, and running out of daylight, it was time to get off the water and park the Roadtrek in a slot for the night. This place gets points for quiet; there was little road traffic after about 10PM. And level, with paved pads for the vehicles. There was more light than I like, but I recognize that not everyone likes total darkness, and some feel safer with a well-lit campground! And having a boat launch was a distinct bonus.
Saturday, September 25: A friend and I met at the Hoyt’s Landing boat launch, Springfield, Vermont on this glorious fall day. As soon as I got in the boat, I peeled off the long sleeves – it was warm in the sun! We chose to go up the Black River; the launch is where it joins the Connecticut River. It is the season when leaves are beginning to turn, and the asters are blooming.
We saw several ducks:
and went up as far as the rapids below the waterfalls, where I grounded out and decided that was far enough! I might have gone a little further, but with the skeg on, I was concerned about getting hung up in the shallows.
Back under the old bridge:
and home again. As we returned, it was clear that Old Fort #4 was having some kind of reenactment – the cannons and guns were sounding like fireworks! We could see the smoke from their fields as we approached the landing. This is not a quiet place to paddle; with the interstate and two state highways, there is constant traffic. The munitions just added to it – and made the dog, left in the car in the shade, extremely nervous!
Monday, September 6 (Labor Day): One of my New Hampshire friends and I spent a wonderful afternoon on the Merrimack River just north of Concord, New Hampshire. It was perfect weather when we launched, not too warm, mostly sunny. We stopped for lunch on one of the many sandy shores:
There was even a perfectly situated dead tree to sit on! But it was clouding up fast, and it was sprinkling by the time we finished eating – and really raining, with strong winds (enough to try to carry my kayak away – but I had my hands on it and we hauled it up and tied it to that log!) and stinging rain. But it didn’t last long, and the sun was out again.
We enjoyed the flora
We watched that not very shy Little Green Heron for quite a while. There were also Great Blue Herons, but none of the photos came out well.
With all of those sandbars, this is one of the few that is accessible from the road. It is well populated on most nice days during the summer; after that storm rolled through, there was no one left. From there it wasn’t far to the take out just around the corner, on the Contoocook River.
Monday, August 10: yes, this was a while ago – but I used the back up camera and forgot to download photos! It was late afternoon, and a friend and I just had to get out on the water. This is relatively close; unfortunately it has developed bluegreen algae, so a swim was not an option!
Monday, August 17: After failing for the second time to get the windshield replaced in the camper (once again, it came in broken), I stopped on my way home to kayak here. The falls for which the area is named:
This canoe ran the falls – I think through the chute on the right in the second photo. An inexperienced paddler lucked out – all he broke was the paddle! I saw him start down, but didn’t see him exit – but there was another kayaker at the base of the falls, so I didn’t worry about him. He said his canoe weighs in at 800!! pounds – including solar panel, batteries, and computer. Not my style. But that’s why he opted not to portage.
I paddled down past that gravel bar in the distance, until the water got thin and the current strong – I knew that if I went further there would be no turning back. At least, not without walking – as it was, I had to paddle with all I had to make slow progress upstream. But eddying out meant I could take the time to admire an eagle soaring across the way (no photos good enough to post, though), and this cardinal flower.
Sunday, June 28: The above sign was on the drive down to Springfield, VT, to meet my friend Julie and her rowing scull. One thing about the pace of life under a pandemic is that people have time to notice that the doe and fawns cross here – and warn people!
The day was mostly overcast, with occasional breaks of sun, not too hot, not too windy – although wind threatened, which is why we chose to go up the Black River instead of the Connecticut. Below, some of what we saw:
They did not always have heads up!
If this is flowering rush, it’s invasive – it’s the first time I’ve seen this grass flowering. It gets rocky, and one can paddle no further.
We’ve been off the river for a few hours now – and it’s pouring rain with thunder! I guess we timed that well!
In Morehead City, one of several launch sites: I went upstream/up tide/up wind up Calico Creek. Good exercise! This is very inhabited, although less so once one gets up beyond a small bridge – There were lots – LOTS! – of gulls and terns and cormorants. Not all were practicing social distancing. Most impressive were the egrets, both Great and Snowy: I wonder who dresses his hair?!? I sat and watched him fish for quite a while, although I had to wedge myself between some of those mollusks to not drift rapidly out with the tide. It made photography challenging.
This heron was more shy, keeping its distance.
It’s hard to read – it says “DOCK OF INDECISION” at the head of the dock. And then it was back to the waiting Roadtrek. This is definitely not a ramp in the civilized sense of the term, but made for a great place to launch. I wouldn’t want to do it without shoes, though – lots of sharp shells, and some glass.