Winter Solstice Sunrise Paddle

Solstice Sunrise

Last night was the longest night of the year. The Winter Solstice occurred at about 12:30 am. That meant sunrise would also be the latest of the year, and I could paddle out to enjoy it without having to get up too early. It also helped that both my kayak and body of water on which I’d be paddling were only about 100 ft away from my bed.

…but backing up a bit…

We arrived at Amy’s house in Fort Pierce earlier this week. In addition to luggage, my electronic gizmos, and Christmas presents, we had strapped the tandem kayak to the top of the car. While the weather down here is spectacular – hovering in the 80s during the day – paddling conditions have not been ideal. It’s been breezy and very choppy out on the Indian River.

Indian River Panorama

Returning

I tried a couple of solo trips. On one a large sea turtle came up next to me and kept me company for awhile.

Sea Turtle Head

Continue reading “Winter Solstice Sunrise Paddle”

Anniversary at Kissimmee Prairie

Kissimmee Prairie Palmetto Scrub

Monday Laura and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We usually like to get out and travel a bit on our anniversary. It was cold and windy, even in Florida, so a paddling trip or boat ride was out of the question. Instead, we decided to head inland to the Kissimmee Prairie, a 54,000 acre nature preserve north of Okeechobee.

Our directions from Amy were to drive down to Orange Avenue in Fort Pierce, then head west until it ended at Highway 441.  It was 25 miles of the straightest road I think I’ve ever seen on this side of the Mississippi.  It was another 20 miles on 441 through some of the most desolate countryside in the state.  There were large ranches and orange groves dotted with small single-wide trailers.  I couldn’t imagine living out here, especially in summer.

When we got to the Prairie we found a large flat area that alternated between palmetto scrub, grasslands, and wetlands interspersed with palm tree and live oak hammocks.  A couple of dirt roads traversed the area, but for the most part the only way to see the place was on foot. Continue reading “Anniversary at Kissimmee Prairie”

Christmas in Florida

IMAG0324

There were rumors and reports of snow back in Greenville. It wasn’t exactly my definition of a “white Christmas.” To me, a white Christmas is when you wake up and everything is covered in snow. However, I wasn’t going to be picky – snow is snow, and I would have enjoyed it all the same. The simple fact was that I was going to miss it all together. It was a warm 70 degrees down here.

The day began with the Wright family tradition of wrapping everything under the sun and putting it under the tree. They love to wrap/unwrap packages. It’s fun. This year Santa brought me life vests so I could take friends kayaking and a cool remote helicopter with built in camera. Continue reading “Christmas in Florida”

Christmas Paddling

Indian River Sunset

It’s Christmas. That means a trip to Florida to visit Laura’s sister, Amy. Using the new kayak racks Laura gave me for my birthday, I brought down the tandem that we got last summer so that we could paddle it out on the Indian River. After an 11 hour drive, I had to hit the water as soon as I got there.

Amy's Canal

The water was quite calm, and sun was just setting as I paddled out into the channel. Since it was dusk I decided I didn’t want to get out into the main channel, but paddled out far enough so that I could watch the sun set. It was a short paddle, but enough to improve my mood immeasurably.

Indian River Sunset Continue reading “Christmas Paddling”

Jimmy Buffett and the Shoe Event Horizon

In Douglas Adam’s original radio play “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, Arthur Dent eventually lands on the planet Brontitall.  There he discovers a super-evolved race of bird creatures with a painful past. On Brontitall the main industry was the production of shoes.  Eventually the economy reached the “Shoe Event Horizon” where it became economically … Continue reading Jimmy Buffett and the Shoe Event Horizon