Outdoorsy

Jun. 18th, 2012 11:38 am
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - Spring)
Thanks to all for the birthday wishes yesterday. :) We actually had gorgeous weather here, so I took the opportunity to do something I've been meaning to do for a while, which was get out kayaking again. It surprises me to realize that I probably hadn't been out for 2 years, and as soon as I got back out on the water, I remembered how much I just plain enjoy it. The river is lovely and the feel of kayaking is lovely.

This time, I was excited to get out on a stretch of the Charles River that I'd never been on before. Charles River Canoe & Kayak has several rental spots, all of which I've been to, but I didn't know they'd opened up a new one upriver at Nahanton Park in Newton, on a 12 mile stretch of the river unbroken by any dams!

In a sense, this was my downfall; so was going by myself. Because whenever I go out to do things by myself, I always wind up being over-ambitious. Previously, I think I have not done paddles much longer than about 6 miles round trip. This time, I took advantage of a little canal that cut across a big loop of the river -- at the end of which, I had to actually get out and walk through a waterfall over rocks (in flip-flops, because I'm dumb), dragging the kayak under a bridge to get back to the river and go back the long way, downstream. In my head, this made sense, because paddling downstream is always easier, and I'd noticed on the way out that the wind ought to be mostly at my back on the return. But I sort of didn't do the math in my head to estimate how long a trip that would really be. When kayaking, I tend to manage about 3-3.5 miles per hour. I paddled 2 miles to get to the half-mile short-cut. That brought me back to the river 8 miles upstream, which I then had to paddle all the way back to the rental site. And while I was indeed going with the current on the way back, the current isn't so strong that it carries you at any speed. So, yeah. That was about 3 and a half hours' worth of constant paddling, more than I'd ever done before, and the river was twisty enough that I still had stretches where I had to paddle against the wind.

But it was great, even if my arms are kind of limp noodles today.

I don't have any pictures of any of that, because I don't tend to try to mess around with electronics in a kayak, since it's all so wet. Instead, have some pictures from a few weeks ago, when Diane and Katie and I took a day-trip up to the White Mountains in NH. I was the instigator of this plan, because it has seemed for a while now, to me, that it is ridiculous that I have lived up here for over 20 years and never been up there, and never driven up Mt. Washington.

IMG_2163

Many more pictures below the cut, half of cool animals and half of scenic mountain vistas: this way... )

Conclusion: the White Mountains are really pretty. And I want to see more waterfalls.
eregyrn: (Default)
This is for local folks -- though, obviously, anyone who wished to fly in for the occasion would be more than welcome! but it seems unlikely...

On Sunday morning, [livejournal.com profile] my_tallest and I are taking [livejournal.com profile] ultra_lilac out canoeing on the Charles River (the stretch nearer downtown). The two of them will be in a canoe, anyway, and I'll probably be in a single kayak. We're going to be meeting at the rental place on Soldier's Field Road at 11am. It's doubtful that we will spend *more* than 2 hours or so out on the river.

If you would like to meet up with us to create a flotilla, let us know!

Feel free to repost this or point to this post (in, say, [livejournal.com profile] walthertown, and so on).

http://www.ski-paddle.com

That's the rental place, Charles River Canoe & Kayak. It really isn't easily accessible by T, I'm afraid, so if you need transport, that will have to be arranged somehow. (And I'm full-up on who I can drive, at the moment.)
eregyrn: (Default)
This weekend so far has consisted of going out and experiencing a lot of Nature.

Kayaking. )

Walking. )

So that was gorgeous weather, and a whole variety of nature, and lots of physical exercise. A very good holiday weekend.

Tomorrow: Pirates!
eregyrn: (Default)
Yay, for nice days! (After the "second-gloomiest May on record", according to the Boston Globe.) I went out kayaking for a couple of hours, paddled up to the Wellesley dam (about 2.6 miles each way), and got some light sunburn on my arms, too.

Not much wildlife visible, except for scads of red-winged blackbirds, and grackles; and very loud frogs, which I could not see. There was one point where I almost got fucked up by a pair of swans who had about 7 little cygnets. So cute! Mom (or Dad) was sufficiently wary of me to get all the little babies to get up on her/his back. Eeeeee! I got out of that inlet before they fucked me up, then wound up going within about 6 feet of them all on the other side of the little island of grasses, which they'd decided to climb up on. Both Mom and Dad flapped their very big wings at me, as if to say, "you know one of these could break your arm, right?", and I replied, "yes, I know, but I have a paddle". They didn't charge me, though.

The river was at least a foot higher than usual, and in the upper reaches, the current was stronger than I'd experienced before. I got a hell of a workout on one half-mile stretch, right before getting to the dam, which was the closest I've gotten so far to being in anything like "white water". (And that was "not *very* much like white-water", really; just pretty choppy and interesting.) I was right that making it to the top was worth the effort for getting to turn around and virtually coast back along that half-mile.

I was also pleased that when I got to Trader Joe's and the guy said he hoped that I'd been out to enjoy this wonderful day, I could honestly answer that I *had*, virtuously, Been Out and Done Outdoorsy Things. (I think the fact that the jeans I was wearing were soaked to the knee should have tipped him off.)

My new super-lightweight paddle is pretty keen. And today, the muscles in my arms and shoulders don't hurt as much as I thought they would. (They did for a bit last night.) I think I'd better go and moisturize this sunburn some more, though.

Perhaps I shall go out again tomorrow, on Lake Cochituate. If the weather cooperates.
eregyrn: (Default)
Ah, fall! The air is gonna get crisp any day now, I can just feel it! Fall, when a young woman's fancy turns to... okay, no ice hockey season this year. Poop. Fall! When a young woman's fancy turns to... trying to find just the *perfect* PUMPKIN ALE. Yes! Now there's a reason to enjoy the season!

Seriously. Am on the hunt. If anyone has any pumpkin ale recommendations, sing out. Post Road is lovely, of course. Am currently drinking Dogfish Head's version, but although they advertise that it's *made* with brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg, damned if I can taste any of that. (I find this to be true of most of Dogfish Head's brews; they have a very strong-tasting ale and it drowns out other attempts at flavoring. Although -- if you can pick up their Midas Touch Golden Elixir? Do. Because it's beer just like the Phrygians used to make. You know. The Phrygians. Neighbors to the Lydians. In Anatolia. King Midas. Truly. Go thou and drink the ale of antiquity.)

ANYWAY. I think that my ideal pumpkin ale would, indeed, taste like pumpkin pie. I'm all over beer that you can taste spices like nutmeg in. While Post Road is lovely, it's not quite pie-y enough. As I say: recommendations solicited.

Went out kayaking on the perfect Indian summer day this weekend. Warm, but the foliage JUST starting to turn and littering the surface of the river with golden and orange and red leaves. Wildlife count: two blue herons, two painted turtles, one golf ball bouncing off a tree and into the river (fore!), a cormorant, and one very small brown snake swimming across the river, about two feet from me. Awww!

Also, Jack, a USPS mail-truck driver. Here's the thing: I'm as companionable with strangers as the next person. But I kind of like kayaking in solitude. I knew I should have put on that burst of speed, dammit. Jack latched onto me about a third into the outward trip, and stuck with me the ENTIRE way up to the Wellesley dam, and 2/3rds of the way back, too. Think you can't carry on a conversation while kayaking? Think again. We covered many a kayaking topic, yes we did.

One of the things I like best about kayaking is the relationship between personal power and speed. I really love the simple feeling of pulling strongly with my shoulders and arms and that translating into the feeling of gliding ever faster over the water. It's very satisfying.

Do yourselves a favor: go see Shaun of the Dead. That was definitely a two-tissue movie -- as in, I needed at least two tissues to wipe the helpless tears of laughter off my face and out of my eyes so that I could see the screen again.

/weekend report.
eregyrn: (Default)
So I DID go out kayaking again today, because it was just too nice a day not to take advantage of it, and of the fact that I have tomorrow off too. Decided to go out on the lower Charles, down around Harvard and downtown. Did about 7.5 miles in total, from Eliot Bridge down to Harvard Bridge (the really really long one that goes across at MIT). Arms are now like limp spaghetti, because the outward paddle was all against a stiff headwind.

Saw not one but *TWO* grey squirrels, though. SWIMMING across the river. At the wide parts, too. And yes, they were squirrels, not rats, because I could see their fluffy tails, which were floating on the surface rather than waterlogged and slicked-down. And I said, "Go, little dudes", because they were certainly paddling industriously, but -- I had no idea that squirrels were swimmers. Like, at ALL.

Huh.

In other news, I am so desperately missing hockey that I TiVo'ed an ESPN Classic broadcast of the 2001 Stanley Cup game seven, in which the Avs beat the Devils, resulting in former Bruin Ray Borque winning his first Cup in his 22-year NHL career. It was very emotional, and I am not ashamed to say that I cried, even at a game that is more than 3 years old. I really, really want hockey to start up again, clearly. And the thing is, we still don't know if there's going to *BE* a season, or when it's going to start, or what. *whimper*
eregyrn: (Default)
Went kayaking on Lake Cohituate today. Had a cormorant fly across my bow, and land moderately nearby, floating around and giving me suspicious looks. Also saw two separate muskrats, out in the water. Got to within about 2 yards of both of them.

Am now trying to do the math in my head regarding how much I am likely to be able to get out and go kayaking over the next couple of weekends, and how many places I would like to try to go, and wondering how late most of these rental places stay open in the fall, and contemplating what it would be like to kayak in cooler weather since I can't do it without getting quite wet. I want to go out on the Charles further downstream, towards the city, at least once. I want to go out on the Charles near my house, again. I kind of want to check out the Ipswich river, which [livejournal.com profile] my_tallest recommends. And having been out on Lake Cohituate for the first time today, I now want to go again so that I can get farther down into the South Lake.

Hmm. I think perhaps I ought to considering going out again tomorrow, somewhere. Because I'm starting to run out of viable weekends that aren't filled up with other things.
eregyrn: (Default)
CRUD! Nothing like getting midway through typing a long post and then hitting some mysterious key and making it all disappear!

Ahem.

When you have a naturalist as a guest, you get to experience a lot of Nature. This pretty much sums up my weekend.

For those who don't want all the gory, minute details. )

Have just seen Smitty off on the T, to go get a train to D.C., there to frolic amongst the cicadas.

And, while I admit that I'm curious enough that I would like to see/hear them for about 10 minutes, I still say you couldn't get me down there for any length of time, unless a big pile of money was involved.

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eregyrn

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