Winds’re predicted from East Norhteast today. I’m headed for a state park boat ramp, to an area I’ve never paddled. Have a map, have a compass, three quarts of water, and a lunch I’ve just packed. I overate yesterday at a coworker’s farewell lunch, so I’m all carbed-up for the day. Joints are feeling better, but the ancient Klepper backrest I’ve been using for the past year or so blew out last week. Dunno what that’ll do to my forward stroke, much less my aging lower back. Time to find out.
Later: I’m going to have to find some back support. My body today was a Disneyland of neuropathy – numb feet, shooting pains in the palms of my hands, similar pains in the soles of my feet, some numbness in the left hand. Didn’t help that I started off with the Nautiraid Greenlander seat (which replaced the East German rubber tractor seat that shipped with the E68, and worth every penny) a little overinflated. That coupled with some of the lately recurrent shoulder pain, and back pain.
The predicted wind blew, and was alternately a hindrance and a help. I made about 12 to 13 miles, counting the paddle back through the park after completing my original circuit. I’ve walked the trail to Weaver Point dozens of times. Today I was able to paddle the water seen from that path, which has been sort of a goal since I got my first boat in 2005.
I chatted with the Wildlife Resources woman before setting out about 7:20 am (I had farther to drive than last week). A state employee, her job consists of every day driving around the lake in the boat pictured near the top of this post, and talking to every angler she sees in order to determine number of fish caught, their type, and their size, then recording that data for the agency. That’s it. She said that, as with any job you have to do every day, it can get old, but she remembers answering phones for the agency’s revenue division, her previous employment, and said, “I’ve been blessed.” I guess she has.
Plenty of fish were in evidence. All day long I heard the sound of countless cicadas in the trees, listened also to the sound of the wind in the trees, each tree taking a different voice than its neighbor. I snapped a picture of large carplike beast to port in a shallow creek in the park. I saw what I think, because of its slow reflexes and starveling appearance, was a very young great blue heron, and I was able to snap its picture as it moved to take flight. On my way out of the park, saw something to port that I, with hardly a conscious thought, noted and dismissed as the shadow of a ledge, or a submerged stump. And then it moved, swimming toward and behind the boat as I started, then paddled on.
I discovered Kuzilla’s Garden, and Kudzilla himself. Some genius imported this stuff from I don’t know where to slow topsoil erosion, and it grows like a monster vine in Jumanji. At an Alabama barbecue, I recall discussing the plant with a fellow who works for a chemical company that manufactures weedkiller for use on big farms. He said it grows from a sort of potato, and to kill the plant, one must kill the tuber. I remember he also said the Kudzu potato is edible. Heck, it’d be the one crop nothing could kill, that would never fail. Probably tastes awful.