Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall Arrives at Lake Raven

While I thoroughly enjoy my summer excursions, there's no denying the heat and humidity that characterize most paddles along the gulf coast in the summer. By the time fall arrives, I'm generally ready for a change.

The temperature was comfortably warm as we headed toward Huntsville on this Saturday afternoon. We exited I-45 just south of town, turned west on the Huntsville State Park access road, and soon disappeared into a sea of pines.

The park was hopping, with the usual compliment of campers and boaters being joined a group of mountain bikers there for a race. We made our way down to the boat ramp, unloaded, and shoved off into the relatively uncrowded waters of Lake Raven.

The first couple of hours of our paddle were lovely as we explored the western lobe of the lake. We hoped to spot an alligator if we could. We couldn't. But with the peace and quite of the lake broken only by the calls of birds from the surrounding woods, it was difficult to be too upset about that or anything else. As we circled the lake, we nosed our way into various little inlets. In many of them we disturbed small gatherings of ducks or other water birds. In one we ran across a huge swarm of hornets that had taken over a wood duck nesting box. By the time we got close enough to tell what they were, they were starting to look agitated. Needless to say, we made a hasty retreat.

As we made our way over to the eastern side of the lake, Fall started taking itself a bit more seriously. The clouds thickened and the wind picked up out of the northwest. Soon the temperature had dropped 10 or 15 degrees and we were paddling into a cold headwind that was raising goosebumps all over us. A short time later we reached a unanimous decision that we'd paddled enough and headed back to the warmth of my car.

I'm glad you're here, Fall, but next time we visit I'm going to dress a bit more warmly!

1 comment:

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