Still Heading Westwardly

July 4, 2017

What happened that was amazing today? First, a storm cleared the air and it was cool this morning. That was amazing. Barb missed it all because we are wearing ear plugs to block the sound of the AC – I could hear the thunder thru my ear plugs, but I think I felt it and B just isn’t that sensitive (heh, heh, heh…).

Second, we walked the whole park in the morning and there were about 6 other sites occupied! Nobody was over at the swimming area or picnic shelters. On the Fourth? I thought the place would be crawling with people hitting the BBQ and the water. Nope.

Third, our camper neighbors Kenny and Kim not only lent us their inflatable kayak but their VERY nice Ford F-150 super-duper (dog hauler) cab, gorgeous new truck to drive to the river to put the kayak in! Now if that is not amazing hospitality and generosity, I don’t know what is…

Fourth, though the kayak isn’t one you’d want to spend all day seriously trying to get somewhere in – it’s a chubby, comfy boat to paddle for a couple hours and enjoy the…

Fifth, all the way up the river we were guided by a Great Blue Heron who would wait for us on a branch and then fly ahead a ways to lure us on. There was a smaller blue tinged bird that we disagreed on it’s species – B said Kingfisher and I said Little Blue Heron – who also led the way. Then…

Sixth, all the way back downriver to the lake we had a different (we’re sure) Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret leading the way. At one point Barb saw a hawk in one of the giant trees that closely bordered the river and we paddled back to watch her soar down from her branch and back into the forest. It was bliss.

Seventh, the lake…. wow! When we left the shelter of the river and went out into the lake there were White Pelicans ahead of us in the waves. Yes! I’m telling you, waves! An inflatable kayak is un-ridgid. It bounces front to back over the waves. A little dizzying and the pelicans seemed nonplused by our presence bouncing over the waves. Pretty funny viewed from shore, I’m sure. We turned right back around to the river and shelter.

Eighth, jeeze… you ever think about how that’s spelled? Should be Eith, right? So we made new friends today and hope to see them down the road. The eith though was the lovely spatchcocked chicken smothered in garlic and rosemary (grilled) and then smeared with  Balsamic butter – oh yeah, it was good.

I have to mention the trees in this park. Some of them have epic burl. (Burls?) I included a photo.

Also to mention is the bright orange roots we saw driving down into the river from trees that overhung. At one point we pulled to the side and picked up the weirdest fruit you can imagine. Kenny said it was a “hedge apple” and Barb looked that up to discover it’s the common name of the Osage Orange. The fruit is good for all kinds of nothing but the Osage Nation used the wood of the Osage Orange tree for bows and war clubs. Those weird green fruits came from the trees with the bright orange roots. Photo included of fruto-weirdicus Osage Orange.