Sunday, March 07, 2010

a little after a long time

Well, it felt like a long time to me! I just spent ten days without kayaking in Edmonton, visiting family and friends. My father-in-law's 80th birthday went very well indeed, as did several visits with my grown children, both fine young people. The visit was also a chance to meet with friends and do some networking.
Contrary to John's urging, there was no opportunity to kayak locally. The North Saskatchewan river was frozen over, with a narrow band of open water that suggested anyone foolhardy enough to try kayaking would soon drown under the ice. The steep ravines down the big riverbanks were not yet running with meltwater for the few wildcat river kayakers who scoot down the wet ice.
So I spent ten loooooong days not kayaking, even if the weather was really good for late winter on the Prairies. It's understandable then, that upon my return I took the first chance available to go paddling. Today, Sunday, was my first day as a volunteer naturalist at the Nature Centre in Elk/Beaver Lake Park -- so my paddle opportunity was in Beaver Lake.
Bernie tossed my inflatable Dragonfly into my mom's car, and when we got to Beaver Lake he carried the kayak to the water for me. It was a short outing, only about 45 minutes, not counting the time spent answering questions about Advanced Elements kayaks and how great they are. Then Bernie drove away to take my gear back to the Beach House and get the car back to my mom.
It was so good to feel the breeze over fresh water, and see the signs of spring along the lakeshore. Willow trees are golden with new leaf buds. Branches of wild rose bushes are all ruddy with new bark. There's grey moss and lichen on the bare branches of birch, silhouetted against the green dark Douglas fir trees that are so thick you could almost believe there was a real, big forest here instead of a thin strip of woods around the lake.
Paddling was good, the Nature Centre was a good place to be today, and the highlight of the afternoon was the appearance of the Victoria Model Shipbuilding Society. They had nearly enough wind for their lovely little ships! Check out their website here.
All in all, a good day at the lake -- and the bus picked me up ten minutes after I finished my shift.

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