You may be wondering what he is up to now from the title of this blog posting. Well last fall as we were beginning to lay the foundation for Mahanaim Adventures, I had heard about people taking a sunset, moonlight kayaking trips. I had never done this before, so I figured what the heck, it sounds like fun and I want to try that. So one evening I tossed my kayak up on top of my suburban and headed over to Town Creek.
After about a 20 minute drive from my house, I found myself standing at the river launch, watching some fishermen pull their boat onto their trailer. I could only imagine what they were thinking when I carried my kayak to the water and started gathering my gear to head out. By the looks on their faces, I think that they thought I must have a screw loose. That didn’t matter; I knew what I was doing, and what could be wrong with kayaking with a full moon over your shoulder anyway? Sounds romantic I guess. Even if it does sound romantic, I could not talk Diane (my Bride of 28 years) in joining me. However, my goal for this evening was to paddle the 3 miles to a campground on Town Creek and pull out for a little while and wait for the moon to rise. Once the moon was up, I was going get back on the water and find my way back up stream to the launch site by the light of the full moon.
Once out of the Town Creek, the evening was quite nice. The wind had died down and was not blowing as hard as it was earlier that day. The sun was going down behind the large cypress and black gum trees that lined the banks of the creek, casting long shadows on the water. I quickly discovered that I was the only person on the creek that evening, go figure. Yet I was not quite alone. If you have spent any time out in the wilderness, you know that just before dusk the forest comes alive with all kinds of sights and sounds. I discovered it was no different kayaking on a creek.
As I was paddling downstream, I followed a group of three Great Blue Herons. These birds are tall wading birds that can stand as high as 4 feet tall. These 3 birds would take off as I got close to them and fly about 150 to 200 yards down the creek and then land. Once I got back up to them, they would do the same thing once again. This went on for about a mile. These birds are big and surprisingly graceful in flight. I also saw a number of wild ducks and king fisher’s along with a few other egrets on this evening. It is amazing how close some of these birds will let you get to them if you just be still and let the current move you along.
After about an hour of paddling, I was at the campsite and pulled off the creek for a short break. By this time the sun had fully gone down and the forest was really coming alive. I sat on a concrete block that I found next to the landing and pulled out my water bottle and a snack that I had brought along. The evening was cooling off nicely and the mosquitoes were coming out in full force. Just my luck, I had forgotten to put my insect repellent in the dry bag before I left. Darn, I guess I would have to swat some mosquitoes for a while, not the first time I have had to do this.
As I waited on the moon to raise high enough over the creek, I began to hear the sound of an owl. It was not too far off from me by the sound of it. I have always enjoyed listening to the sound of owls at night. The seemingly lonely sounds, echoing through the forest is quite soothing to me. I remember one family camping trip as a kid, my brother Chris and I were asleep in our tent when a screech owl started do what they do best, screeching! It scared my brother and I half to death, it was not funny then, but it is now.
Soon I began to hear a second owl some distance off calling back to the one close by me. It was really cool just to sit back and listen to them calling back and forth. I could only wonder what they were saying to each other.
Soon the moon was up and it was time to head back to the launch site. I have to be a bit honest here, at first it was a bit weird kayaking on the water at night by myself. But I knew where I was at and all the binds in the creek, so I was ok. Besides, there were some lights off in the distance marking the spot where a few cabins were located along this part of the creek. Once I was past those lights, the darkness began to creep in all around me. Yet, I had the moon to light up the way.
I was very surprised how bright it is on the creek when the moon is full and high enough to light the creek. It was bright enough for me to paddle without my head lamp or the bow light that I had on the front of my kayak. What is really interesting was the bats that were flying above the river this evening. There were literally hundreds of bats this evening flying around dining on all the bugs that were flying around. Maybe the bugs were attracted to the lights that I had on the kayak, or maybe it was the open space. No matter the reason, it was cool and some bats were flying really close. Glad they have great navigational skills and could sense that I was there in my boat.
The only thing that scared me this evening was when fish started jumping around me. Consider paddling quietly up the creek, watching all the bats fly by and all of a sudden, you here a unexpected big splash next to you. Then there would be another. As it turns out, it was the fish in the river feeding on the bugs that were landing on the water around me. I got splashed once by a rather large fish. I could not help think that I should have brought a net or at least a fishing pole with me.
It was about 9:00 pm when I made it back to my launch site where I had put in several hours earlier. The moon was high in the sky and the evening had cooled off nicely. This moonlight kayaking trip confirmed my thoughts that this would be a fun trip to offer our customers and would be very enjoyable. It would also be adventurous.
If you are reading this blog and want to find out more about how you can schedule a moonlight kayaking adventure for yourself, let me know. I have several locations that you could enjoy a nice kayaking trip by the moonlight.