Friday, April 30, 2010

04/30/2010 - Rabbit Creek

Launch: John's (near Rangeline Road)
Destination: Rabbit Creek - a really beautiful creek.

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1) To kayak the upper reaches of Rabbit Creek requires getting over or around this fallen tree. Since it has a dual trunk, it's easy to stand on. Took me 2 minutes to get out, swing the kayak over to the other side, and get back in. Despite windy conditions, hardly a breeze could be detected in upper Rabbit Creek due to dense tree cover. Didn't see many animals on this 6 mile round trip but the flowering plants were interesting.

2) What might first appear to be Titi looks like Virginia Willow (Itea virginica).

3) For those who like to get close to shore, these leaves could cause you trouble (Poison Ivy). Note that the end leaf has a stem and that the two side leaves without a stem are not symmetrical.

4) A sedge flower.

5) Sweet Shrub, Sweet Betsy or Carolina Allspice (Not related to the spice) (Calycanthus floridus). Not a very colorful flower but it is known for its scent. Even though the name is enticing, don't eat this plant (not that you around munching on wild plants...)

6) This tree is an American Snowbell (Styrax americanus) - first one I've ever seen. The flowers hang down so in this photo, you are looking at the bottom of the leaves.

7) Possumhaw or Blackhaw (Viburnum species).

8) A Convict Caterpillar (striped outfit). This caterpillar (of the Spanish Moth) likes to eat spider lilies. Higher than normal tides has this caterpillar in trouble of drowning.

9) Not all the spider lilies had caterpillars on them.

10) This is a Pale Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia alata).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

04/29/2010 - Robinson Bayou

Launch: Dog River Park (Formerly Luscher Park)
Destination: Robinson Bayou which is 1.5 miles to the southeast of Dog River Park.

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1) The Dog River Park area is still trashy as usual.

2) Once you get off the main river, the scenery changes. Today I'm paddling several small channels off Dog River and Robinson Bayou for my first time and it was very rewarding - one of my best paddles this year.

3) Tree house.

4) The deck may be a bit warped and in the middle of nowhere, but it is a good rest site for a kayaker who might want to stretch their legs.

5) First alligator I've ever seen in Dog River Watershed and this one was of respectable size.

6) Big honkers and little honkers.

7) Culvert under Dauphin Island Parkway was neat to paddle through with its cascading vines. Not many power boats go through this area.

8) End of the line near the perimeter of Brookley Airport. The plane just took off.

9) There were occasional concerns about being too close to the banks in some of the narrow man made canals.

10) Robinson Bayou was absolutely beautiful with blossoming spider lilies and blue iris.

11) Supposedly, the pedals of this flower (Magnolia grandiflora) are edible and some people use them to make wine.

12) Last of the sun near Dog River Park.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

04/28/2010 - Perch Creek

Launch: Hoppe's off Dauphin Island Parkway in Mobile, AL
Destination: Perch Creek

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1) It is ironic that the Mobile media has whipped the public up into a frenzy about the Oil Rig leaking oil, yet Mobile urban waterways are as trashy as ever.

2) Which is worse in our water, oil or battery acid? This battery was seen next to a local marina.

3) This vegetation was tired.

4) You just never know what you'll see on a kayaking adventure. Crab traps apparently catch more than crabs. What an awful way to die.

5) As this was my first time paddling the Perch Creek tributaries, I was impressed how clean and beautiful the waterways were.

6) Perch Creek was a lot less residential than I thought it would be.

9) At times it felt like I was in the middle of the deep woods in the Delta. 

8) Other times it was back to society in man made canals.

9) Saw a wide variety of birds today, nutria and a muskrat, but no alligators except for the cement kind.

10) Brown Pelican.

11) While Perch Creek only goes upstream for about 2 miles, with all the side tributaries and canals (about 10 total), it'll take you most of the day to explore them. 

12) Perch Creek is as impressive as some of its displays of spider lilies.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

04/24/2010 - Very Serious Oil Spill

Recent news reports now indicate there is oil escaping from the destroyed oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and that this is a "Very Serious Oil Spill." Click here to view news report. Since kayakers are able to paddle in shallow waters along the shoreline, we especially, need to be keeping careful watch for possible oil contamination along our beautiful coast.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

04/18/2010 - Yazoo River

Launch: Boat ramp next to the Horizon Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi

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1) When traveling to a new area, I like to stay an extra day to go exploring the rivers at a leisurely pace. Got an early start to paddle up the Yazoo River.

2) The Port of Vicksburg was remarkably clean.

3) There were some big barges in the Port of Vicksburg.

4) A few miles up Yazoo River is the tiny Kings Point Ferry.

5) The shoreline of the Yazoo was mostly huge willow trees.

6) Due to the high water levels, it was easy to paddle through the woods in some areas. The willows were dropping pollen and catkins which were coating the surface of the water.

7) Something not seen around Mobile often are Waterlocust or Honeylocust trees. You'll never forget seeing these trees because the thorns are wicked.

8) River dwellings were a rare sight along the Yazoo.

9) Downtown Vicksburg where the BluzCruz race ended.

10) The Horizon Casino which allowed us to use their parking lot as a staging area for the kayak shuttle.