Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Sit the beer down and let your mind relax for just one minute and look at a pretty little brook.
click on photos to enlarge
I decided to give one more try at photographing the otters on Abrams Creek.  I arrived at 8:30AM and promptly launched the Mistral canoe onto murky water.  It's been raining hard the last couple days and the water of Abrams is coffee colored. 

There was no wind when I set out but, it has grown in intensity since I've taken vigil from the left bank of the channel.  I've been here for an hour and still haven't seen an otter.  Actually, I've not seen a living creature since I arrived.

The wind makes the 40 degree temperature feel a lot colder.  I didn't dress for a cold windy day and I'm on the verge of not being comfortable.  I know better too.  It'll not happen again.  The day will warm up eventually.  If this wind keeps up I may find it difficult to get back to the truck.

I planned a camp out on Calderwood Lake tonight but am thinking twice about it.  I've seen the kind of wind that lake draws and I don't care to be in it if the temperatures are near 40 degrees.  The night time in a tent would be no problem but, if the wind was up in the morning and the temps holding cold;  it could be a miserable paddle back to the truck.
Spring is just arriving and there isn't any sense in rushing along too rapidly.  I am dying to camp on Calderwood though.
Wow;  my fingers are getting cold.  That is one cold wind coming across the water!  I'll give it another half hour and then I'm getting out of here.  There are four large fish splashing on top the water.  At first I though it was a beaver smacking his tail on the surface.   Then I saw the first fish rocket out of the water and splash back down.  Judging from their color they are bass.  At least it's something to watch.  There certainly isn't anything else going on in the animal world  that I can see.

This Mistral is definitely more wind sensitive than the Esquif Champlain.  That is due to the Prospector style bow and stern design.  The high ends of the canoe catch more wind than a canoe built with a lower profile front and back.  This boat definitely requires ballast in the front when paddling solo, as I do.  It displaces very little water and the rocker set at 3.5 inches makes it respond to the quick puffs of breeze.  The bow definitely needs to be down in the water.  It's not a big deal, especially with this wind today, but would be something to deal with in high winds for sure.
  You can see by the photo at the left how the surface is rippled by the wind.  Actually, I'm not having any difficulty at this point.  This boat is a great handling craft and responds to corrective paddle stokes immediately.  It is a fast canoe and I should be able to make good time getting back to the truck.

The paddle strokes are warming me up and I can ignore the cold now.  Of course it's later in the morning too.  I like to look along the shoreline for little creeks that flow down the mountain side.  I find the sound of water in such brooks to be comforting.  Such was the little brook I filmed that is the opening movie at the start of this blog entry.
This little brook is more water run-off than a real waterway.  But, it's pretty and has a gentle sound.  I find myself stopping at almost all of these little trickles that I come upon.  There's something magnetic about them. 

I almost feel that I have wasted this precious time out here this morning looking for otters.  I purposefully left Douglas home so as not to disturb any curious otters in the vicinity.  I could have brought him and it wouldn't have mattered.  But then, I didn't know that when I started out.  I will go home and take Douglas and Shade to the forests for a run this afternoon.  I sure miss him and I could see the disappointment in his face when I left him this morning.
I had a difficult time lifting the big canoe over my head to load it on the truck this morning.  My left arm has a muscle ache that just won't go away.  I'm not doing it any good by lifting this 60 pound canoe to my shoulders.  I have to get the thing to the water somehow and the top of the truck is the only way I have of doing it.  I've sure had some aches and pains over the past two months.  I'm not letting a few aches and pains get in the way of paddling.  Funny thing;  my left arm didn't hurt while paddling.  There must be a different set of muscles used for paddling canoes. 
Douglas was delighted to see me pull in the driveway at home.  I went straight to him and said "lets go boy."  He was at the truck door in a flash.  I took him to the old state park where he could swim and chase squirrels.  Douglas likes to search around every bush along the way.  He actually pushes through each bush along the way.  I laughed out loud as rabbit after rabbit would run out the other side.  He finally saw one and gave chase.  I whipped the long lens up and snapped two pictures.  They follow:
 The above shot is a piece of luck for sure.  That cottontail is really moving.  His front feet are projecting between his rear feet which are under the rabbit's head.  He's full throttle away from Douglas.  The following shot isn't really good at all but I thought I'd throw it up here.
Douglas didn't stand a chance of catching that hare.  He's so very funny!
I'ts been a nice day.  I even did a little maintenance on the Kawasaki.  I may take it out tomorrow for a spin.  This day was intended to end at Calderwood Lake in a tent but didn't.  It will happen very soon.  Thanks for looking in.  See you tomorrow.  I'm sure I'll accomplish something worth entering on this blog.