Definition for Kayak :-)

Kayak [] n. 1. an oblong banana shaped boat with a hole in the bottom from which the occupant dangles. Can be propelled the wrong way up by experts. (definition courtesy of Pete Knowles)
(And I've got this one from Chris' Kayak Lexicon)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paddling with a Side of Strawberries and Cream

Greg P., Scott M., Karen A., John H. and Tim U.: well deserved reglycogenation after the paddle.

Seven of us set out in glorious weather at the south side of Lake Calhoun at ..ahem..9.30am to find Calhoun already choppy with some occasional hints of white caps. Blimey! I had forgotten how much muscle it takes to keep my creeker going straight in windy conditions, let alone going anywhere at all! Thinking that it's only going to pick up I formed a plan B in my head to duff back over Calhoun on the way back in John and Wendy's boat. They kept a close eye on the shore line while us kayakers bee lined it to  Lake of the Isles.

Through Cedar Lake we headed for Brownie finding heards of sunbathing turtles EVERYWHERE. Now my point-turn kayak was quite useful not to collide with turtles spotted on lily pads just in time.

The red thing in the front is my boat. Apparently I have overnight become the worlds best turtle stalker. Does look a little huffy though the right one, don't you think?

 Scott M. and Karen A.

 Here with Tim U.

 Lovely! It looks so dreamy because it is filled with water.

 John and daughter Wendy H.

 Greg P. trying to make me believe that turtles make weird grunting sounds.

 Public art.

Ok back through Cedar and Isles we entered a seriously menacing Lake Calhoun that made me start to think of my fellow kayakers as my personal safety boaters. The first couple of waves that completely washed over the full length of my deck to break on my chest and  blind me with spray made me wish I still had a safety whistle on my pfd and that I was closer to shore. My trusty spray skirt turned into my best friend for the next  half hour and the paddle into a lot of fun actually :-) Did get a good work out by the time we had reached the other shore.

 Kayak buffet to celebrate my birthday: Pecan pie, strawberries and cream plus some little crunchy clusters.

Thanks so much for coming out to paddle and  making this a really fun morning!!!

Turns out you can still have a lot of fun, even when you can't leave town for the weekend. Let's do this again, maybe at Lebanon Hills next time :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wild River State Park Rovers Spring Extravaganza

Just came back from Wild River State Park and a really fun weekend with Minnesota Rovers!

Not sure, why it is called Wild River. The paddle was fun, but nothing wild about it at all anywhere near this park...
Should be called Wild Flower State Park! The trillium may have peaked, but we still had some nice species coloring the prairie! 
The prairie is a great metaphor: It may look all drab from the outside, but once you take a step into it the wonder is revealed.

Friday afternoon: 
Poking around in the prairie to find the turkey that had just nearly decapitated Marsha before making off into a tree much higher than we would have expected from this bird.
Galls that house tiny little wasps. One stung me when I unwillingly leaned on it, but I noticed quickly and not much poison got in and the wasp was still reasonably happy too :-)

Hoary puccoon (or is it Carolina puccoon after all?) with a pesky ant.

Mmmh, strawberries!

Saturday: Paddling day.

Tracks of a monster bird - smart money (Mike S.) was on heron. We had seen a lovely heron watching us float down the St. Croix, right on cue after Marsha said that she likes paddling close to shore to see the wildlife. Smart woman!
The cereal bar wasn't garbage left by someone, but my only handy way of giving scale to the prints. What kind of a photographer am I anyway not to bring a quarter with me at all times?!

Yay, otter tracks!
Sunday: After the two big storms
Birding before breakfast: Funny how it is so much easier to get up bright and early for wildlife than it is for work... Mike S. indulged us with spotting and coaxing and I was able to make good use of those binoc's I had borrowed from the park. Using the binocs was a lot more fun than it had been in previous years for various purposes. Getting some good pointers for adjusting and how to use it made a lot of difference. Them birds sure are mighty pretty so close up that you can see them sing! Of course, now I want some binoc's :-)

Mushroom hike after breakfast and break down: Various interesting and pretty distractions.

A perished army caterpillar in it's pearly shroud still hanging on.

Some sort of carnation?

 Lily of the valley.

 Very cool, but couldn't figure out what this might be at all...

 Jen O. found us a morel on our mushroom hike.

 Our money was for fox or young coyote for this fairly fresh scull, but the park folks identified it as racoon and will add it to their collection. Well done Barry!

 Kinda glad now that I decided not to pet that racoon that was close enough for me to just stretch out my hand last summer...Look at those pearly whites...

 A true morel is hollow. The fake one isn't. So there.

 Gall apples.

Now this beauty was only possible because of the rain!

I dare you to tell me that these lupine leaves aren't stunningly beautiful because of their rain perls! Biology and physico-chemistry at their most pretty :-)

 White clover for the Rover.

 British soldiers lichens. The red part is the spore body. These are maybe 3/4 of an inch tall but about 15-20 years old! Tread softly!

 Hmm, not sure. The fungus without the algea? Or something totally different...

A fresh gall apple. If I did't know that it was a bug nursery I would think it looked quite tasty albeit not ripe...

Pity the drum jam and the astronomy bonanza fell into the water, but still a really fun weekend, because after all, Rovers always have fun, no matter the weather!

Love, peace and hugs to all those peeps who make it so!!!