Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Extreme Kayaking

Okay not really. But it was extremely hot kayaking.

Team Essence, middle-Tennessee's premier militant sea-kayaking organization, re-traced a route taken way back in May '09, paddling Old Hickory Lake from the Cedar Creek Recreation Area west to the Shute's Branch Recreation Area. We knew we were in for a treat when we stepped in the lake to launch and it felt like tepid bath water. With temperatures in the 90's and humidity at about 174%, paddling was brutal. Heck, movement was brutal. Normal protocol, when faced with such conditions, involves a shade tree, a hammock, and a large glass of iced-tea. Last year, we ran the approximately nine-mile stretch in 2 1/4 hours, but today it took us a half-hour longer. More stops for water. More stops for shade. More time to contemplate baby Jesus as the threat of heat stroke loomed larger.

And people wonder why we tend to do things slower here in the South.

Click pictures to enlarge.
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One positive outcome was that I finally got close enough to see and photograph more clearly the mysterious water birds mentioned in two past posts (here and here). The birds are... drum roll please... double-crested cormorants! How satisfying to finally put that one to bed. Click this sentence for all you'll probably ever want to know about double-crested cormorants. In retrospect, I realize that my past identification difficulties stemmed from searching mainly cranes and herons as keywords.

Speaking of crested birds... we began our paddle alongside a couple of white ducks, and one of them looked like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as played by Tom Hulce. I mean, the dude duck was obviously wearing a piece to impress his lady friend. Turns out though that it was just a crested white duck, bred to have plumage atop its head. Neither Jimmy nor I snagged a close-up pic of the duck, but below is a close approximation taken from Google Images.

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GPS Capture of Old Hickory Paddle, August 11

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