Monday, June 24, 2013

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake

This is gonna be a little photo heavy, fair warning.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Saturday morning, my friend Brian D. picked me up about 5:30am and after hastily downing some breakfast burritos and coffee, we headed south to Bull Shoals Lake for some fishing and exploring in our kayaks. Neither one of us had been to the area and it makes the third lake along the White River chain and maybe the fifth in Missouri that we have put our boats in.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Blue herons and night herons squawked their displeasure at our approach and flew fifty to a hundred yards down the shore from us at a time, before finally getting ruffled enough to fly off altogether.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

We fished here and there. Brian caught some sun perch and a bass, I think. I caught two sun perch and hooked one good-size bass. It ran off some line from my reel before doing a big leap and tossing my lure back at me. He would have been dinner had he not been so wise.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

The water level was up and initially we had a hard time finding an area to haul out for a second breakfast. It was heating up quickly, which called for a lot of water and shedding the drip deck over my kayak's cockpit.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Following a long winding cove to it's end, we came across a wet weather creek and waterfall. Sun perch and crawdads scattered before our shadows and we got out to explore above it. Not without a little drama in the form of a legless reptile in the water ahead of us. Could have been a copperhead or it could have been a harmless northern water snake.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

I tried a little "sailing" at one point. Better in theory than practice. I need to make a real down wind rig, it would certainly look less stupid.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Back at camp, slightly sunburned and very tired. We relaxed and watched as a steady stream of non-campers fed into the conservation area. It was weird. They'd pull up, hang out for 20-40 minutes in their vehicles and then throw something in the dumpster before speeding off. Pretty shady, really.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

One nice aspect of the camp area was all of the wildflowers. Echinacea cone flowers, Queen Anne's lace, daisies, brown-eyed Susans and a bunch of others I don't know names for.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

I had planned to camp out under a tarp stretched over my kayak, using paddles as tent poles. I'd seen pics dating back a century of people doing this with canoes and canvas and it looked practical and nostalgic at the same time. It turned out to not be for me. Certainly not in the buggy summer we're having. After laying there being pestered by ticks, spiders, daddy longlegs and a domestic cat, I opted for my tent without the rain fly. I'll try again under colder circumstances. The campsite rum and cola was a hit, though.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

The full mooned night was filled with the howling of coyotes, with owls and whippoorwills also doing their thing. We had a few other critters come into camp, but I was mostly too tired to care beyond the first encounter. I chased something off with my flashlight and a little noise. Brian said he heard some fairly large footfalls in the woods from the bed of his truck.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

The next morning, after some driving along the Missouri/Arkansas border looking for a place to put in a again, we opted to head into Forsyth and fish the lake there. The water was cooler, being closer to the cold waters emptying from Lake Taneycomo above. Around the bridges hung a cloud of purple martins and Brian saw a couple of musk rats and a mink.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

One of the best things about going to areas out in the middle of nowhere is hitting up mom'n'pop restaurants on the way back. The BBQ at Fat Daddy's in Forsyth was freak'n awesome. They make their own spicy sausage and both of us opted for the same menu item. A sandwich called something like The Big Fat Pig, consisting of homemade sausage and pulled pork on Texas toast, with homemade curly fries and pit beans. Likely horrible for the body, but absolutely wonderful on the soul.

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Kayaking Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Viking Send Off

Giving the ole Elegant Punt a Viking send off.

Yesterday, after a long time contemplating its demise or gifting away, I decided to put the old Bolger Elegant Punt out of her misery. She had been languishing in the garage, against the wall, for a couple of years. I had tried several times to give her away to friends and acquaintances, but no one wanted to commit the time to learn how to handle a small sailboat safely before I could let go in good conscience. Rather than face the liability of their drowning deaths, I opted to give her a Viking funeral.

As a note: a dry plywood boat, once cut into small pieces, will flash fire like a big pile of dead leaves. I only put in one chunk at a time, but it burned hot and fast. It'd have been pretty glorious to have torched it whole, but that might have been against city codes and my general sense of self preservation.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Coracle (Cwrwgl) Model

Last night I finished up the small model of a coracle that I was working on. It's about 3"x5" and fits in the palm of your hand. A tiny version of a tiny boat. I'm leaving it rough and uncanvased. Like most of the models I build, it's complete enough that I could glean info to build a full-size version later, if want should arise.

Coracle model.

Coracles were some of the first boat types to come about. Having been made for thousands of years out of simple materials like willow and animal hides. Later being made with ash laths, calico or duck canvas and tar or bitumen paint to seal them. In Asia they are even made from woven split bamboo or put together with vertical staves like a giant wooden bucket or barrel.

I've been mildly fascinated with coracles for a few years, as well as their longer Irish cousins, the currach. Part of my family came over from Wales and Cornwall in the mid-1800s. When researching aspects of Welsh culture about the time my daughter was born, I discovered these funny little watercraft. I've been wanting to build one since, but there's only so much room in a one car garage and there's three boats in there already.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Family Cycling

First bike to school/daycare

This morning, Gwen and I biked to her preschool. We winded our way through the neighborhood just east of ours, past the small lakes and the swans and Canada geese with their fuzzy young running across the street in front of us. It was a 40 minute round trip. 25 to get there, 15 to get back. I feel like I've gotten a real workout in pulling her 40-45 pounds plus the steal-framed extension trailer up and over a dozen hills, but it's a good feeling.

Biking to a park about a half an hour from our home, down the Galloway Greenway.

We also road to Sequiota Park yesterday evening, down the Galloway Creek Greenway. About 30 minutes there and 30 back. Great trip. The vegetation is really green and lush with all the rain we've been having. I may have eaten a bug, I certainly ended up wearing a few, but that's a small price to pay for an evening of family fun and exercise.

Biking to a park about a half an hour from our home, down the Galloway Greenway.