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15 Things Revisited

Bald Cypress.  (Trap Pond, Laurel, Delaware.)
Bald Cypress. (Trap Pond State Park, Laurel, Delaware.)

To enjoy your goals, think of them as signposts, pointing you in a certain direction.  They give you a focus and help your energy to get moving.  The way you go is up to you; you can get very uptight focusing only on getting to your goal or you can relax and enjoy the entire journey, appreciating every unexpected bend and turn of the road, every new opportunity for learning and feeling

~ Shakti Gawain

Starting out.
Starting out.

Back in January I decided to skip the New Year’s resolutions and instead take up the challenge of doing 15 Things this year, most of them with fun in mind.  I am happy to report that I have completed 5 of my 15 Things.  There are three things I won’t be able to complete this year.  I missed Veg Fest and the blooming of the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., and I’m unable to sign up for the CSA because our CSA is taking this year off.  Maybe I’ll get to those things next year.

In the meantime, I have taken a walk on the boardwalk in Ocean City (more on that soon).  I have gone to a concert and listened to live music.

A calm day.
A calm day.

I have seen (more than one) film at a theater, and I visited Trap Pond State Park in Delaware where I finally went kayaking for the very first time in my life.

Moving right along.
Moving right along.

M and I have had to put off going kayaking due to the weather.  Yesterday we finally lucked into a day in which there were no thunderstorms predicted or hanging around waiting to move in.

Many shades of green.
Many shades of green.

So, we set out early yesterday morning for Trap Pond State Park up in Delaware where we could rent a tandem kayak.  The day was one of those brightly overcast days that are particularly bad for photographing the landscape.  It was also hot and humid although we did find a slight breeze out on the water.

Cloudy yet bright.
Cloudy yet bright.

I took Lulu with me on this trip since she is designed to be everything-proof and I wouldn’t have to worry about getting the camera wet.  There is, of course, the worry that I might drop Lulu into the water, but I fastened her securely to the life vest I was required to wear (and would wear even if I wasn’t required to wear it).

Lush.
Lush.

I was keen to go on my first kayaking trip at Trap Pond State Park for two reasons:  I would be learning to kayak on a pond rather than having to deal with the currents and tides of the creeks and rivers around here, and the Bald Cypress trees.  I have been told, and it appears to be true, that the best way to see the Bald Cypress trees in the swamps and wetlands is by water.  That is my main motivation for learning to kayak.  I want to see the trees.  I also want to see some of the other things I might not otherwise be able to see from land.  Birds, turtles, fish, and whatever else the waterways have to offer.

Ripples.
Ripples.

Some of you might laugh at this, but when I first got in the kayak, I had a mild moment of panic.  I don’t know why.  I am a decent swimmer.  The pond is not that deep.  There were no storms coming.  What could I possibly be afraid of?

Beautiful cypress trees.
Beautiful cypress trees.

It didn’t help matters that the kayak was wobbly and as soon as we pushed off shore the section where I had my feet planted was filling up with water.  Or at least I thought it was filling up with water.  It turns out that the type of kayak we were using, a sit-on-top, is designed with small holes in the bottom.  I’m not sure why.  Something to do with waves and surf kayaking.  At any rate, we weren’t sinking, as the worker at the rental place  informed us after we rowed back to shore within minutes of setting out.  If M could have seen what was going on in the front of the boat where I was sitting, he probably could have reassured me that all was well and as it should be.  He has been kayaking several times.

Learning to weave in and out.
Learning to weave in and out.

I had my moment of panic and turning around, but I didn’t back out.  We set out again and before I knew it, an hour had gone by and we were paddling back to the beach where we started.  It took me a while to get used to the wobbles.  Paddling was awkward at first, but I found a rhythm eventually.  My wrists, arms, shoulders, and upper back all feel well worked out today.  Just a slight soreness to the muscles that lets me know I used them.

Passing through.
Passing through.

According to Wikipedia, Trap Pond is “one of the largest surviving fragments of what was once an extensive wetland” in Sussex County, Delaware, and has the northernmost natural stand of Bald Cypress trees on the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.  There were signs up indicating that swimming is not allowed in Trap Pond.  It wasn’t until later that we saw the warnings regarding blue-green algae and how it might be harmful to humans and other animals.

We did not go swimming and other than a brief walk in the water near shore to get in and out of the kayak, we didn’t have much skin contact with the water.   Nonetheless, we did rinse off our legs and feet when we finished.

Algae stripes and swirls.
Algae stripes and swirls.

We did see quite a few birds and turtles along the way.  There were other folks out on the water in kayaks, canoes, and fishing boats, some of them fishing, some of them just floating along and enjoying the scenery.  There is a pontoon boat tour given by park staff, and I’d like to do that.  I could take the big girl camera on the pontoon without worries it will end up in the water.  Pontoons are pretty stable.

I want to go kayaking again sometime soon.  I still want to avoid currents and tides so I’m on the lookout for more pond or lake kayaking.  The ideal thing would be to go to a clean water source so I can practice falling out and getting back in.  Once I am prepared for what could go wrong, I will be more comfortable in a kayak.

I think the algae is kind of pretty.  I'm not sure if it is blue-green algae or not.  It looks mostly green to me.
I think the algae is kind of pretty. I’m not sure if it is blue-green algae or not. It looks mostly green to me.

I have a lot more photos I could share, and maybe I will someday soon.  I would also like to show you more from the visit with my granddaughters.  We’ll see how it goes this week.  The weather is predicted to be hot and humid, and the garden tractor (riding mower) popped off a wheel and is waiting for parts and repair.  What that means is that this week might be slow in terms of chores, giving me more time for other things.

Thank you for stopping by today, and joining me on my first kayak journey.  It wasn’t a long journey, but it was fun.  Sunset is still at 8:29 PM.  I think it got stuck there around the solstice and hasn’t budged since.  I might go to the Point to watch the show.  It depends on what the clouds are doing.  Thunderstorms are a good possibility.  It might be best to watch from the screened-in porch here at the ranch.

I decided not to straighten this image in Photoshop because this is kind of what it was like on the tandem kayak.
I decided not to straighten this image in Photoshop because this is kind of what it was like on the tandem kayak.  See the turtles on the log?  They are Painted Turtles and you’ll find them all over the place if you go boating on Trap Pond.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Today’s joys:  A swim in the pool after a walk outside and time spent working in the garden; morning meditation; iced mint tea; an omelet made with veggies from our garden; the fun of sorting through photos of my granddaughters.

 

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

34 thoughts on “15 Things Revisited

  1. loved the tranquillity of your kayaking – after the panic had died down! it shows in the wonderful captures you have here – especially the algae stripes. Glad you did not crop out the front of the kayak or straighten

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    1. Thank you, Skip. 🙂 I’ve been canoeing many times, and feel more comfortable in a canoe than a kayak at this point. “…in a peaceful pond,” yes! lol! No whitewater kayaking for me.

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  2. Kayaking is wonderful. I like the oneness with the boat and the view from almost level. Keep it up and you will get comfortable. it gives such opportunities to see water birds and fish and turtles and landscape.

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      1. Also, you need to be comfortable with the boat’s movement AND the paddling technique is not like a canoe, but to push with the arm on the up side of the paddle, rather than pull. This allows you to use upper body strength, rather than just arms. Go in again soon!!!!!

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  3. Looks like you kayaked into the Emerald City of Oz. Sounds like fun – and what a chance to really hear the surroundings and their inhabitants. Very cool!
    (I’d worry about gators here – so many have washed down with the flooding. One of the biggest local wetland parks is still closed to visitors)

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    1. I thought of the Emerald City, too, PhilosopherMouse. Everything was intensely green. Gators…eek! I think I’d want to be in something bigger, higher, and more stable than a kayak if there were gators in our waters.

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    1. Sometimes it’s better not to know what’s there, Pauline. 😉 I prefer clear water, too. You couldn’t see anything in this water. We dragged along a few logs because of that, and it was hard to know how deep the water was without putting a paddle in to measure it.

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  4. Love the cypress trees…and the swirls and stripes too. We have some cypress trees down at the end of the lake slew on Lake Martin in AL where we have a lake house. Last summer I took my brother’s kayak down there and took some pictures. I know what you mean about worrying about the camera…but if you’re in a lake and no one is messing with you and there aren’t waves you should be fine,. Still…I took the ‘waterproof’ camera. I’ll have to go look at those photos again sometime. The trees sure are pretty.

    I’m glad you got to do one of the things on your wish list! It won’t be nearly as scary the next time you go out. Also glad you told me about the water coming in. I haven’t tried one of those sit on top kayaks yet, so that would have freaked me out too.

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    1. Thank you, Dawn. 🙂 That’s true about waves and lakes and cameras. Still, as you imply, better safe than sorry when it comes to carrying a camera. My biggest worry with the waterproof camera was that if I dropped it in the water, I’d never find it again. The water was extremely murky, and it would be hard to find anything dropped in it. Maybe I should put a flotation device of some sort on Lulu for outings like this.

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  5. I went canoeing on one of our local rivers and would love to go kayaking, but with the current you need to set in to the north and have someone drive your vehicle downriver where you can stop. That requires planning and coordination, and so all I do is think about it.

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    1. I know how that is, Carol. Planning and coordination are more work than thinking about it. There are a lot of things I think about. That’s why I decided on a 15 Things list this year. At least this way I have a chance at doing more than think about it. I might not do everything, but at least I’ll do something. 🙂

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  6. Hurray! You went kayaking. So glad you enjoyed it. For what it’s worth, I experienced that first moment of panic, too. I suspect it was just trying out something that new, having stayed on the safe side for so many years as I aged. Personally, I like the stability of the sit-in type of kayak. Mine is a wider sort so quite stable, with far less wobbles. Eric’s is sleek and narrow and I don’t dare try it out… at least not yet. Hope you get to enjoy more floating on the water.
    BTW, they also recommend the sit-in variety in our cold waters because you don’t get wet.

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    1. Thanks, Gunta. 🙂 I think the newness of it had something to do with that moment of panic, too. I would like to try a sit-in kayak, but not until I learn how to use it properly. While it is unlikely I’ll do any kind of rolling, it would still be good to know how to get out of it if I did roll. At least with the sit-on-top I don’t have to worry about getting stuck.

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      1. They give lessons in rolling if you plan to go out in the ocean and such. I plan to stick with calm lakes around here. Learning to roll would take a wetsuit and dealing with water that’s way too cold even in summer. Hard to get stuck even in the sit-in kayak. You just pop right out (or so I’m told!) 😉

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  7. What a great opportunity to take photos of the land from the water, not to mention how relaxing it must have been sailing gently through the calm water, once you got the hang of it. I think the algae looks pretty too. 🙂

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  8. Wow … now that’s a peaceful place, plus you captured it well. Cheers to you for progressing through your list of things to do! … which is a great idea in place of resolutions.

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  9. This spot looks so primeval! Love all the greens. Good for you for trying something new. I tried kayaking back in mid-70s, when they were really wobbly. Flipped over, panicked, got out and have never gone back –LOL. Canoes are more my style. 🙂

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    1. That’s a great word for it, Eliza. Primeval. I think that may be one of the reasons I like bald cypress trees so much. I think if I had flipped, I would not have gone back, either. I’m more comfortable on a canoe, at least at this point. 🙂

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  10. Very nice! Looks relaxing and energizing at the same time if that makes sense! 🙂
    I’m hoping to be going river-tubing for the first time this weekend!

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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