I’ve been away (a mostly photo essay)

Two days after Christmas, I headed to Southeastern North Carolina. The 29th was my father’s 85th birthday, and my sister had planned a party that I didn’t want to miss.

My sister presents her carrot cake to my father for his birthday

The weather for the first five days were incredible. On New Year’s Eve, my dad and I paddled from Trail’s End to the south end of Masonboro Island. My brother brought everyone else along in his boat, so that we might have lunch on the island. My daughter was introducing Apple, her new dog to the ocean (I even gave Apple a ride in the kayak).

Apple trying out the water (It’s hard to believe that it was warm enough to be in the water on New Year’s Eve!)

Not my typical paddling style. The high brace was to keep from hitting the dog in my lap.

After an early night on New Year’s Eve, Donna and I headed out to the beach for a New Year’s Sunrise before she and Caroline headed back to the mountains (I was going to stay through January 5). The idea was to watch the first sunrise of the new year, but a fog bank offshore disappointed those waiting for the sunrise along the beach.

Sunrise at the Kure Beach pier

On New Year’s Day, the wind picked up, so Dad and I headed inland and did a black water paddle on Rice’s Creek. We paddled upstream several miles, to where the creek becomes just wider than a kayak. I left my sea kayak at home and used a boat of a friend of my dad (that was 12 feet long instead of 18 feet, making it easier to navigate).

Paddling on Rice’s Creek

A poem written on Rice’s Creek (I’m not sure who’s the one with dark eyes)

The whole world appears in the reflection of the dark waters:
Cypress, tupelo, clumps of mistletoe, puffy clouds and blue sky.
Yet, I cannot see the long just underneath the water,
just as your dark eyes reflect the world while hiding much.

I had planned to either go to Cape Lookout or Masonboro Island to camp for a night or two, but the weather turned rough. We had winds approaching fifty miles an hour on Monday, so we stayed home and I read. On Tuesday, my brother and I went down to scout out an area on the Waccamaw River that he wanted to see about paddling. The weather had turned cold and was freezing, but we dressed warm and covered about 13 miles of the river, starting at Conway, South Carolina to Peachtree Landing. When I lived in Whiteville, in the early 1980s, I had paddled on the Waccamaw several times, between Lake Waccamaw and Pireway. I’d never been on the river in South Carolina.

Running along the lower Waccamaw
Conway now has a nice waterfront
An old log hauler (designed to run on light rail track)
I think these are Ibis in this tree (Kingfishers were the most common birds seen along Rice’s Creek and the Waccamaw)

I came back to the mountains on Wednesday, between two winter storms (one was on Monday and the second on Thursday).

Back home, having missed the first snow of the season in the mountains

14 Replies to “I’ve been away (a mostly photo essay)”

    1. Thanks. While I like all kinds of water, there is something special about black water (Water that’s stained from the tannic acid from trees, in this case cypress).

      As for my sister’s decoration, the figures came from our brother’s Christmas tree 🙂

  1. Great photos! I really like how your sister decorated the birthday cake! We get lots of egrets and herons, but I don’t know that we have ibises. We do have kingfishers and I love to see and hear them.

    1. Kingfishers, along with great blue herons, seem to be the most common waterbirds in the eastern 2/3 of the country. It’s fun to watch a kingfisher fly.

  2. Happy Birthday wishes for your father, he looks great and happy! What a fun trip you took and a happy pup to enjoy it all too. I like your descriptions with each photo I was wondering what that machine was in the water. A very Happy and healthy New Year to you and your family as well!

    1. That machine is probably 75 years old or older. The Waccamaw River was a source for cypress shingles back before my day, and Conway was major shingle supplier. Sadly, this means, there are no old growth cypress along the river.

  3. What a wonderful vacation. Between the kayaking, the darling dog, the carrot cake (one of my favorites), the fresh air and cool breeze, I bet you came back rejuvenated. Happy New Year!

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