Truly, in this oppressive heat and humidity, the best place for our canine buddies is home in a cool house. So, I’m not feeling guilty about leaving them all behind…
Morning walks with the dogs need to be taken super early… but that leaves the gang content for the day, pretty much. None of the dogs want to spend much time hanging out in the back field – even up on the wooded hillside (this usually being Annie’s and Lily’s favorite activity – hunting on the hill). They LOVE the cool slate floor on our porch… their very favorite place to hang out these days. In our farmhouse, built c. 1792, central air isn’t available to them. They also love to lie in front of one of our large floor fans that has been running all too much lately. (Tomorrow promises to be cooler.) I’m not complaining, though. My eldest daughter and her family live in Boulder, CO, where the fires are still smoldering in the mountains surrounding them. Lightning is a huge threat there since it’s been 100 degrees for days on end with no rain. I’ll take what we’ve got… and, once again, head to the coolness of the Connecticut River.
My daughter who lives in the Boston area read my post the other day about going kayaking and surprised me by calling and saying she’d like to visit for a long weekend (staring on Thursday!) and go kayaking with me… Yippee! She and I mounted the kayaks early Friday morning and headed for the boat launch in Hatfield, MA. Arriving early helps with a quick launch – no waiting for others ahead of you to unload their large motor boats. Off we went – with the River to ourselves.
As we peacefully guided along, nature provided a spectacular show. On our way up River, we saw two magnificent Blue Herons. I always carry binoculars, so we stopped paddling and handed the binos back and forth between our kayaks to get a good look. It’s amazing how close you can get to them in a kayak… they don’t seem to mind. We continued on up River… approaching the large island, we stopped for a stretch and snack, then decided to start heading back. The current had been running pretty strong – and I, for one, was feeling the extra work involved. We both were looking forward to the fun of being carried by the fast-moving current back down river… but, of course, the current changed and we had but a slight bit of help… nonetheless, we just leaned back, paddles on deck, and let the subtle glide carry us slowly back toward the launch. Just as we left the island, we spotted a striking Egret, its pure white feathering standing out distinctly against the green of the River bank. And then…. my daughter spotted the regal Bald Eagle fly overhead… WHAT A SPECTACULAR SIGHT!
At first, we thought we might be mistaken… but he perched himself up in a high tree in clear view. And, there he stayed on display for us to view with the binoculars. No mistaking… he was the real thing!
By now, it was past noon and the River was getting active… a couple of colorful sailboats (really something like kayaks with sails!), a pontoon boat, and 10 canoes with campers passed us by as we continued to glide our way slowly back…. Nature’s Extravaganza had headed and the River was livening up with pre-weekend activity.
Back home, we were greeted – as always – by our faithful canines who were happy to see us, and definitely content to be left at home.