Thursday, September 8, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

I was determined to get outside and get moving this weekend, I was long overdue for some physical action so Barb and I met at Chapman Mill to go for a hike. It felt great to be on a trail again and we set off into the woods with an ominous sky overhead but undaunted as rain had only a 30% chance of falling this day and that was expected in the evening.
We plodded round the ruins again and noted how well the paths were being kept, some repairs had been made with new stones laid over the marshy areas. We saw this beautiful fungus growing on a dead tree which I later identified as Chicken of the Woods and it's apparently delicious. I'll be looking out for more of that. We'd heard a couple of rumbles of thunder but ignored them trusting the weather report. That was a big mistake. We'd only got about a mile down the trail when the heavens opened. We tried sheltering under a tree but that was futile. We got soaked to the skin.

We had to turn back and shelter in our cars, steaming up the windows yet hoping that we might be able to resume our hike. But the rain just came down harder so we had no choice but to go home and admit defeat to the storm.
Driving through Marshall I was noticing that NO rain seemed to have fallen in the town and then I spotted this sign outside the IGA. I was eager to investigate but glumly realized I'd look a little strange if I slopped through the store like a drowned rat when it was apparent nobody else had been caught in the rain. I later found out that The Whole Ox is a butcher counter which has only 'free range' meat in stock with no colorings or additives, what a wonderful addition to an already fine shop.
Once I was back home I jumped straight into the shower to avoid a chill and then dressed warmly. It seemed appropriate to then quickly knock up some cookies, which in total took me all of 35 minutes.
Jam Thumbprint Cookies rolled in coconut with a big mug of tea. Yum!
Mum, recognize this? Mum made this tea cozy years and years ago for Gran and I still have it. Did a great job of keeping my pot of Lapsang Souchong tea nice and hot in my teapot. And so the rest of my day was spent curled up at home feeling cozy, dry and warm as I watched the rain come down.
The following morning after I'd spent a couple of hours taking photos of spiders' webs, Barb and I met again at Bull Run Marina with our kayaks. The weather was supposed to be better today and it was starting off well. There weren't too many people sharing the water and once we'd left the marina the wildlife was plentiful.
A majestic blue heron watching us approach.
We kept seeing blue herons and their numbers made us feel like we were in a prehistoric age; they flew over us croaking loudly and slowly flapping their wings like giant pterodactyls.
These beautiful pink and white flowers adorned the river banks, they looked like mallow flowers.
We reached the end of the bay and beached our boats so we could get out and stretch our legs and sit at a small pavilion that overlooked the water. I've got used to handling Big Red, it's a great kayak but I'm still thinking it's maybe a bit too heavy for me to lug around. At 13ft long and 54lbs I have some issues as I battle to get it on top of my car. We got back into the water and I slowly went around the corner and waited for Barb. And waited. I assumed she was taking some photos back there so I just sat and sipped my beer listening to the ripples against the bank and the droning insects.
She finally came into view and I commented on how damp she looked. She'd rolled her boat and got dunked while trying to reach out for her paddle which had escaped her boat and started floating away. At least she'd cooled off nicely! Her boat has now been christened, my time has yet to come...
We saw egrets, green herons and turtles along with some gulls and terns. There were fish jumping all over the place too although the fishermen we saw didn't seem to be having much luck in catching them. 
We had been far more fortunate with the weather this time and after the fog had burnt off the sun was blazing. We'd kayaked about 11 miles in over 4 hours and our arms were tired. I'd also got sunburned and was exhausted by the time I got home and took the boat down from the car. I slept solidly that night and hoped that on Monday I could get on my bicycle and ride a few miles so I could claim a sort of Triathlon weekend. No such luck. The rain returned overnight and kept falling through the day so I felt no guilt at being lazy with just a quick trip to the store for TV snacks. Kota and I did venture out for a short walk and a few photos.
I snapped shots of Kota, our footprints and raindrops along with colorful berries that reminded me that autumn was just around the corner. There's a damp smell I love in the air of leaves and earth that conjure up images of mushrooms, bracken and fire colored trees, wisps of fog curling through the valleys and heavy clouds hanging over the mountains, crisp evenings around a fire pit in the garden or in front of a log fire. I'm looking forward to the Fall.

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