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Archive for the ‘kayaking’ Category

This weekend we gathered up a couple of canoes, a couple of kayaks, a grammie, an aunt, a mom and dad, a sister, a couple of cousins, and a partridge in a pear tree and we all headed to Riley Brook, NB for a day of paddling on the Tobique river. 

The river is a wide, slow river that is just perfect for a lazy float.  It was beautiful as always and just rife with wildlife.  Since I had my new camera in hand (thanks, hubby), I snapped a lot of pictures.  I thought I would share them here for a change of pace… there must be a few animal lovers among us, aren’t there? 

First up, this striking bald eagle for my American friends.  While you usually see eagles at the tops of the highest trees, this one was surprisingly sitting in the grass along the shore and just watching us float by. 

He was just begging for a picture so I paddled back and snuck around the corner to get the shot above… zoomed in, of course.  They are big and a little scary-looking, aren’t they?  I mean, look at those eyes!  Suddenly, he started to stir and I thought, “My god, he thinks I’m a cat and is going to wrap those talons around my fully exposed neck”.  I reached for my paddle but, as it turns out, he went flying in the opposite direction.  In my attempt to defend myself, I probably missed the best flying shot but the one below isn’t bad. 

Check out that wing span! 

During the day, we saw several flocks of ducks… mamas with their little ducklings.  Or maybe it was the fathers.  I don’t know.  I shouldn’t assume.  There are more stay-at-home dads than there used to be and that is just fine by me. 

This one is a flock of Merganser ducks.  All together now… Awwww!  Aren’t they cute?  I love there little tufts of unruly hair in the back. 

Next up is a couple of deer that were drinking along the water as we came around a bend in the river.  They didn’t stick around for long but they also didn’t seem to worry too much about us.  Deer sightings are pretty common for this remote area of NB. 

The wildlife highlight of the day… the hinterland who’s who moment, if you will… was another flock of lings.  My mom, sister, 5-year-old cousin and I were lagging behind the rest of the boats.  We had noticed a flock of ducklings quite a bit behind us on the water.  We joked, we laughed, and kept on floating, and then I heard something behind me… the ducklings caught up with us!  They came right up beside the boat and, believe it or not, stuck right there beside us for a full five minutes. 

I snapped multiple pics… here are a few.  It was a great end to our wildlife-a-rific day. 

My five-year-old cousin Matthew was particularly intrigued and wanting to feed them to keep them around. 

Not sure Twizzlers are the answer there, Matt, but I guess it’s worth a try.

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My cousin Joe is in town.  Saturday night we headed to Keith and Tina’s house for a little bonfire and chili by the lake.  It was fun and relaxing but pretty uneventful other than having a couple too many drinks.  But the funniest part of the night came from Keith’s stereo. 

Now, anyone that reads Joe’s blog (linked from my own) knows that he is quite an aficionado when it comes to music, especially the not-so-mainstream stuff that we in Carleton County will never hear on the useless 96.1.  Keith was often skipping through songs that came on (looking for “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper, but this particular story is meant to pick on Joe, not Keith, so I digress…) and, this particular time, a song started that I didn’t recognize.  Joe comments, “Hmm … I like that.  That sounds pretty good.  What is that?”.  It took Keith a moment to remember but then he gleefully responds “Hilary Duff” and a roar of laughter erupts!  I told Joe that it was definitely a blogworthy moment so here it is, Joe… 🙂

On Sunday most of the same crew headed out on the north branch of the Miramichi for another day of paddling.  We had a great day despite the pouring rain that started about halfway through the trip.  Just when we thought it was letting up the sky would open up again.  It was a fairly warm day, though, so we managed to laugh about it in the end.  I think Joe’s virgin kayak trip was fun enough for him although I wonder if the adrenaline junkie in him was hoping for faster water.  I’ll get a few pics up on facebook when I get them from Keith. 

I thought it was a great weekend and loved hanging out with Joe.  For anyone wondering, he is super dedicated to his training program.  Beer/Rum = Unnecessary calories.  I couldn’t imagine floating down the Miramichi without a beer or two … I just didn’t think it was possible!  But he made it … he made it just fine. 

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Brian, Ali, Randy, Dave, Blair and I took off Saturday morning, all in our own kayaks, to tackle the south branch of the Miramichi.

It was a beautiful, sunny day.  The run starts out shallow; we had to get out and drag the kayaks in a couple of spots.  Before long the water rises and it’s clear sailing… er, paddling. 

This part of the Miramichi is quite narrow and really bendy … mucho fun in a kayak, that’s for sure!  We came across one spot in particular that really seemed to be a dead end … beaver dam and everything … but we backtracked just a little and maneouvered our way through a narrow (8 feet tops), alder-filled passageway that opened up again in just a minute or two. 

Let’s see… memorable moments:  Brian’s makeshift kayak paddle (yes, that’s duct tape).  Although I didn’t see it, Randy got caught up in a tree that was laying across the stream and dunked in good style (keep an eye out for that sandal, would you?).  Ali got caught up on a rock that spinned her right around backwards (although she remained upright).  We took a hike to the convenience store in Juniper because we had run out of beer.  Oh and my proudest moment… at the very end of the day (notice this is after getting MORE beer), I reached down to pull someone’s kayak ashore, lost my balance, and ended up face first in muck.  Thankfully it wasn’t rocks. 

It was a great day and we’ve all got the bruises and sunburns to prove it! 

(For those of you keeping score, I didn’t tip … Candice 1 Chi 0)

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Last night Brian and I went kayaking with our buddies Randy, Keith, and Dave.  We put in on the Presque Isle Stream just above the Tracey Mills bridge.  Within 12.46 seconds I was wet.  There is a rock right under the bridge that channels the water directly into one of its posts … at the last moment, I was swept into the post and went over.  The darkest part of the bruise on my ego came from just having given Randy pointers on how to get through it.  It was not a difficult spot to maneuver .  <sigh> 

Presque Isle Stream 1 – Candice 0

 The only other time I’ve upset in fast water was last summer on the Nashwaak.  After 4-5 days of rain we decided to tackle it:  Keith in his kayak and Brian and I in a canoe along with Nelly.  I’ve never been in water so fast or so white.  The Nashwaak has some tough rapids but we put in below the toughest of those so that statement is only indicative of my experience level.  The stretches of rapids were incessant, one after the other, but we were doing well to handle them. 

Halfway through this particular set of rapids, I look ahead to see Keith pulling his kayak to shore.  Just as I informed Brian of Keith’s troubles, we hit a rapid and took in a lot of water on the right side.  Whether or not it made a difference, Nelly picked that exact moment to lean to the same side of the boat and over we went.  Now THAT was fast and cold water, immediately taking my breath away.  I remember grabbing onto the side of the canoe at the same time that Nelly grabbed onto me:  a paw on each of my shoulders, holding on for dear life. 

To complete the story, Nelly swam to shore just fine.  Keith and I ended up on what would have been an island in lower water and managed to empty his kayak standing in a foot of water.  Brian emptied our canoe on the shore and then drug it upriver so he could get to the island and give us a hand. 

As we were composing ourselves and our gear, Keith checked his GPS and said, “Folks, we’ve just passed through Hell’s Gates”, a noteworthy set of rapids and the toughest one on our stretch.  Those seven words managed to take some of the sting out of the kick the river had just planted firmly on our asses. 

Nashwaak 1 – Candice 0

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