A camping we will go…

Not sure what’s happening in your corner of the world these days, but Covid is raising its ugly head in Ohio with 19 counties on the “red” list, and the potential of more being added next week. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my head around how to live life and still be cautious in this pandemic.

Our most recent effort involved taking a camper, canoe and hiking boots and heading to Alum Creek State Park. We could be self-contained with minimal exposure to others, while still enjoying the outdoors safely away from other people – and make us feel like we’re on vacation (or at least think we are). It’s not Michigan or Colorado, but it’s still pretty beautiful when you’re out paddling.

North of the state park is an area of low horsepower and no wake – a good thing if you’re in a canoe and don’t want ski boats to swamp you. It’s pretty peaceful there early in the morning with few boats of any kind. Native wildlife is always about. Like this turtle, which I believe is a Map turtle though I’m no turtle expert. It’s not a great photo, but I liked the reflection in the water.

Our paddle on our first day out took us near an Osprey nesting area, though we had to be content with taking photos from a great distance. Ospreys are in the hawk family and can live 15 to 20 years.

Most of the nests in the area seemed to have osprey on or near them. The ospreys were vocal but we were far enough away to not cause them concern. There’s a young chick just visible in the photo below.

Herons also abounded. Many times we had Great Blue Herons flying along with us as we explored the coves. They’re magnificent birds that always amaze me when I see them flying, though they have what I think of as “prehistorical” vocalizations when startled.

We also had two sightings of Green herons, though only one photo opportunity. Green herons are rather stocky-looking birds with yellow legs. They’re well known for hiding in bushes and branches. It was a very pleasant surprise to have one come out and pose.

TheCornellLab All About Birds web site (a great web site!) posted an “Amazing Fact” about Green herons that I hadn’t heard before (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Green_Heron/):

The Green Heron is one of the world’s few tool-using bird species. It often creates fishing lures with bread crusts, insects, and feathers, dropping them on the surface of the water to entice small fish.”

One day we were fortunate to have a couple of very dear friends come paddle with us. We explored a “finger lake” portion of the area that narrowed down quite a bit and challenged my paddling (and ducking of branches) skills. You would never know there is a pandemic when you’re out here. It’s a great escape I highly recommend.

This area is absolutely beautiful. You can take a picnic lunch along and chill out by the water. With nobody in sight. Peaceful. Quiet.

While paddling close to shore, we spotted a Prothonotary warbler as well as some Tree swallows that didn’t mind sharing the area with the “intruders” in the canoe. The warbler was much more interested in finding good things to eat.

Even though most of the creatures seen on this trip were in the bird category, we also saw a number of dragonflies and damselflies. Most were too elusive for photos, though one little Dancer (I think it may be a Blue-fronted dancer) did stick around for a bit. How could you not love a face like this little one has? This guy is less than 1.5 inches long; amazing!

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my “Stern Master” (yes folks, he made that title up when I asked what the guy in the back of the canoe is called) and partner in adventures, my husband. Kudos for handling the canoe as still as possible so my photos weren’t fuzzy and out of focus.

So if you find life a bit too heavy at times, I can recommend a paddle on whatever quiet river or stream might be close to you. It doesn’t have to be somewhere distant or grand. Just a quiet corner where you’re away from others and you can watch nature around you. It’s good for the psyche and can put a smile on your face.

Until next time, keep exploring nature up close. And stay safe.

4 thoughts on “A camping we will go…

  1. Thanks for the canoe trip Teresa. Great photos and narrative. Kind of like all these zoom meetings now-a-days. That stern master looks awesome! Lean, mean, fighting machine. Take care you two.

    Liked by 1 person

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