Friday, June 29, 2012

On a date

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?


  1. Thanks for taking me along on your date. Very beautiful indeed. JB

  2. Absolutely stunning pictures. Fabulous date! What a lucky gal!

  3. Cool indeed. And I've never seen yellow irises either. Miss Georgia

  4. That different perspective is why I always enjoyed my trips in a touring kayak. There is nothing like enjoying a day on the water, just you, the boat and a paddle!


  5. great pictures-I love canoeing, kayaking, rafting. have beeen on several lakes and approximately 300 miles of rivers and streams. what a way to see the world. peace, shadowfaxhound

  6. You missed another calling, Patrice. You should be working for some nature magazine as a photographer! We really enjoyed your pix, as always. Both of us spent a lot of time camping outdoors with our families as we grew up, boating, fishing, hiking, etc. They were wonderful times! You're right about living where people actually travel to vacation. We used to travel to where we now live, visiting friends and dreading going home. Now we ARE home, out in the boonies 22 miles east of Kingman, AZ, on 20 beautiful acres. We are so blessed! --Fred & Deb in AZ

  7. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)June 30, 2012 at 6:47 AM

    The pic going under the bridge would make a great jigsaw puzzle! Glad you two had a good time - dates are fun!

  8. Awesome. Due to our lack of rain in southern Missouri our rivers are getting to low to properly do any canoeing. I bet that video footage of you guys canoeing will end up as advertisement in the park website.

  9. Oh one else has said this yet:

    This is both "Awww"-inspiring and Awe-inspiring.

    Just Me

  10. Those pictures were breathtaking!!!! I'm also a fan of canoeing. I wish we could do it more. I haven't been in over 13 yrs.

  11. every now and then it is a good thing to just take the time, the precious time, and enjoy it doing what you like, as you like. being that the time is rare and precious, it is appreciated so much more than any other.

  12. The best dates are always free! I hope you packed a lunch for a nice picnic!

  13. Absolutely beautiful! So glad you took the time to enjoy it :D

    Julie G

  14. Patrice,

    There is nothing better than enjoying the great outdoors in a canoe and spending it with your soul mate. Beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing a part of your life.

  15. Simply lovely. What a great date! Came over from Getting Your Life in Order.

  16. What beautiful pictures! It definitely makes me yearn for home, now that I live in the city & not the country where I grew up. I'm sure it was an awesome date too. I haven't been canoeing with my husband for at least 3-4 years.