American Holly

American Holly
American Holly

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Corpus Christi Weekend

 Note:  This is a very long blog.  Be sure your coffee cup is full.

 Natalie and I both decided to spend last weekend with many of our friends camping out in Nueces County Park in Port Aransas, Texas.  That is the site of the annual paddling festival held each year by that paddling guru, Ken Johnson.  (I'm still trying to grow up to be just like him but have LOTS more work to do.)

THE MAN - Ken Johnson
 Natalie, her daughter, Ellen, and I packed up and took off with dog, Zootie in  Natalie's little HHR.  We had a tandem canoe and a storage box on top and barely shoehorned in.

HHR held 3 adults, 1 dog, 1 tandem canoe, 1  storage box, 2 tents, gear and food

 We got to Port Aransas just in time to get Natalie to her surfboarding class.  Ellen, Zootie and I hoped to have an exciting time watching her, but she put on a real boring show - never fell in once!

Queen of the surfboard
Friday night, I  invited several friends to join us at our camp site to share Vegetarian Quinoa Chilli and good conversation. That was fun in the warm, clear evening.  We did have a lots of un-invited mosquitoes but they finally went to sleep before we did.

Winnie's picture of us visiting at my camp

But  during the early hours of Saturday morning, a big wind moved into the area.  We woke to at least a 15 mph wind with gusts up to 30 mph. Zootie and I get in a beautiful walk before eating breakfast and meeting up for the morning events.

Zootie looking for shorebirds

Beach birds

Sun rising over a freighter
The  classes went on in a  protected area but all the tours were canceled.  Fortuately, Natalie and I were also very happy to just go birdwatching.  (These area has several wonderful spots to bird.)We met a couple of other friends with the same idea and spent the morning with them  looking for birds in the blowing branches of the trees, as well as along shores, and marches. After coming back to camp for lunch and a rest we went back out birding until it was time to come back for a catered supper.

Just-married friends Tracy and Dutch looking for birds

Osprey on the hunt

Small flock of ruddy ducks

A few avocets had already arrived

A few of the hundreds - thousands of redheads

Horned Lark
Dune buggy rally - a little lunch-time lagniappe

Sunday was pretty darn  perfect, with cool enough weather that I needed a jacket early on for my walk with Zootie. I thought I would have time for a really long walk, but my phone clock said it was time to get back for breakfast and then a trip. But about the time we got back to camp, my phone FINALLY decided, that indeed, time should move backwards one hour.  So when Natalie and I decided to leave after a paddling trip, I had plenty of time to pack up my stuff.

Then it was on to the paddle.  We chose to do a short trip because Natalie had surgery scheduled on her rotator cuff on Tuesday and was paddling Ellen and Zootie in the tamdem.  I have a known tear in my left rotator cuff that has me slightly crippled in that arm,  and  a suspected tear in my right one, together with pinched nerves in my neck.  So it felt miraculous to be paddling at all, much less with a doubleblade. Another wonderful thing happened - my friend Donovan,  a paddler from Louisiana who works tirelessly to preserve bayou waterways there, was on my trip which was also led by Ken.  So I got to spend a little more time visiting with them.

Donovan helping Natalie load up

And they're off
Natalie's last paddle before surgery and several months of rehab

Ken's picture of me in the kayak he loaned me



A small part of a long line of pelicans resting on and island

White ibis


Coming through a area that was draining out and making a current




Happy Paddler

Long-billed curlew and willet feeding together
Break spot

Last view of Mustang Island beach - our lunch spot
We were tired but still happy campers when we arrived back in Galveston at bedtime.

When this publishes, I'll be on the way to Louisiana to spend a few days with my friend, Hulin.  I'll probably not have time to post again until I get to Okefenokee NWR.  Stay tuned.  I'll be there next Tuesday.