Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Paddle in Big Red

I took the day off on Monday so I could get out on the water. It's been bugging me for weeks that I haven't been kayaking. With the move and settling in, time was passing by. There's a stretch of water nearby called Lake Brittle so that was where I headed. Not the easiest of places to find as it's not sign posted but a friendly local gave me directions and I soon found it. There weren't many others there, just a couple of fishermen in jon boats So I was fine sharing the lake with them!
It felt wonderful to be in a kayak again and I spent the first 15 minutes or so just paddling as fast as I could creating waves over the bow.It was great to release some energy. The lake was alive with dragon flies that darted back and forth or hovered over me. I stopped near some branches that were poking above the surface, a landing platform for the insects to sunbathe.
 There was a pretty water lily patch where golden blooms opened up while the green pads below them collected water that sparkled like frozen ice.
I spotted a green heron on a branch and as I readied my camera for a photo I inadvertently startled a couple of mallard ducks. They in turn made me jump so my photo was blurred. I felt a little bad as in their fright they had shed some feathers. I gathered them up for a shot and then kept the blue one.
I think this bird is a snipe. I haven't seen these before on other lakes so it was nice to see a new species. There were plenty of gooses paddling in the mud too and they all stopped to watch me paddle by.
 A Pearly Crescent-Spot Butterfly landed on my ankle as I had both feet dragging in the water to keep me cool. He visited for about 20 minutes and I could feel little pin pricks on my skin as his proboscis (tongue) prodded for salt or water from my perspiration. A dragonfly also landed for a brief visit so I stopped completely until they left.
A blue heron. I also saw a white egret but was too slow to photograph that.
The sun was unrelenting so I stopped on a shady bank for some respite, enjoying the coolness underneath the trees. I perched on a tree root and read my book for a while.
Back out on the water, I noticed a group of school kids had arrived for a kayaking class. It was time for me to leave but I was fine with that. I'd been out for nearly 3 hours and was ready for some air conditioning. I could also feel that I'd got a little sunburned so I didn't want to bake any further. I'll be out on the water again before too long, I have to explore the water nearer to Front Royal next.

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