Don and I have been working hard lately, and yesterday he said, "Let's go on a date. I'll take you canoeing."
Whoo-hoo! It's been three years since we've had a chance to go out in the canoe!
Here's how we came into possession of this vehicle. Older Daughter's elderly piano teacher lost her husband a few years ago. We helped her organize and run an estate sale shortly after his passing. In gratitude, she gave us his canoe. Don made a cradle for it in the barn. But over the years we've only been able to enjoy it a few times. The reason is because summer (about the only time the weather will permit canoeing) is extraordinarily busy for us.
It's no less busy this week, but Don insisted we have a date. And boy did we enjoy ourselves!
It was a beautiful day in the mid-70s (F). We drove to the lake edge and carried the canoe to a public dock...
...then launched into the open water.
Our goal was to skirt the edge of the lake to a place where there are marshes. These marshes have deep-water channels winding among them. It's quiet and peaceful and beautiful there.
Here we're approaching the marshy water.
We passed a beaver lodge.
I kept seeing tall yellow flowers among the grasses and cattails, so we paddled closer for a look. Irises! Yellow irises! Very pretty.
Seeing the scenery from water-level offers a whole new perspective.
This section of the marsh has some extensive walkways built through them so visitors can experience the sights and sounds and smells of this ecosystem. I've been on these walkways quite often and they're wonderful. Today we saw them from the water.
We crossed under a bridge to explore the marshlands on the other side. It looked like an enchanted fairlyland, framed like this.
This area is the mouth of a creek that empties into the lake, and as a result it's broken into channels interspersed with reed islands. We poked around various channels until the water grew too shallow and we had to turn back.
Surprisingly, we didn't see a lot of wildlife, with the exception of great blue herons.
I absolutely love the way this photo turned out, especially considering how it was taken. The canoe is so tippy that I didn't turn around to snap the pic -- I held the camera backward above my head, and Don said, "Angle it lower" or "a little more to the left" and stuff like that -- and this was the result. Not bad!
The way out was almost as pretty as the way in.
As we crossed back under this bridge, a funny thing happened. A truck (that looked vaguely Forest Service-y but perhaps it wasn't) stopped, and a man got out. He started filming us as we paddled our canoe.
He filmed literally until we were out of sight around this bend. Why, I don't know.
We saw a great blue heron perched on a nesting box often used by ospreys.
It flew off as we approached.
That was our canoe date. What a wonderful, tiring, refreshing couple of hours! I would like to have another canoe date in the fall to explore some of the places upriver.
How cool is it to live right where people actually travel to vacation?