Sunday, November 23, 2008

With a resounding *THUD!*

Fall has fallen around here. The change has been both sudden and cruel. Temperatures have dropped nearly 30 degrees.

It had been fairly warm around here until about a week ago. Nice mild temperatures and all. I spent the past few weekends around the house preparing for fall by bringing in the deck furniture, cleaning the windows and pulling in the screens, shutting off the outside water faucets, the sprinkler system and cleaning up the garden beds and leaves. Unfortunately, this cleanup has prevented me from getting in some of my favorite paddling which is fall paddling.

Paddling in the fall has some risks with the cooler water and air temperatures that you have to keep in mind and be prepared for, but if you are, it's really wonderful. I've been paddling when it was cold enough to have a skim of ice on the water under the shade of the pine trees where we put in.

Fall paddling is above all things, quiet. There are very few people out on the water - you usually have the place to yourself. The foliage is out and if you are in the sun on a still day, it is warm. The mosquitoes have vanished for the season and most of the pond weed has died back. Migrating birds and ducks will be your companions.

One of my favorite places is actually a small meandering stream that is there as a result of the beavers building a dam at the bottom of what once was essentially a marsh. The marsh is in a valley that is sheltered from the winds. While not a long paddle - you can maybe go in about 3/4 of a mile or so, it is a pleasant trip with abundant wildlife. The paddling is on a narrow twisting waterway with water that is full of tannins. The dark tannin stained waters provide from some great reflections of the foliage in the water.

Do you have a favorite place and time of year to paddle?

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