fly by

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kayak-9186It’s been awhile. A couple o’ lane changes and a few hijinks, but I think we’ve given them the slip… The reward for running the white-waters of life is eventually alighting in a deep pool below the torrents to bob around a bit and tuck into a backeddy.

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Heavy rains filled Floras Lake and the overflow inundated pasture-lands downstream; allowing me to relive the bygone days riding fences with a new twist…of the paddle. The numerous other small inland lakes along the southern Oregon coast are nearly deserted these days, so it’s nice to now have a partner to paddle with!

IMG_1672In between days of rain and passing storms are the blessed days of sunshine and calm, moderate temperatures even allow for an overnight to an Oregon State Park. Just find one on a lake not too far away from breakfast at a warm diner and life is good.

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Dodging the odd Pineapple Express lends excitement to winters on the Oregon Coast, lash the boat down and head into the wind whenever possible.

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hunker down

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Head on into the wind, brown pelicans sit out yesterdays high wind and waves on a comfy sea-grass bank at Port Orford, Oregon. Occasionally a few individuals would spread wing, instantly levitate straight upwards with nary a beat and head off on a brief reconnoiter of the surf before returning to the company of their fellows.

portpelican 007For the brief time I was able to stand in the horizontal rain and salt spray the pelicans chose to sit tight, only after I got back into the car did they decide to do any more aerobatics. This first really good wind and rain storm of the fall churned up beaches, blew out rivers and clocked 90 mile per hour gusts up on Cape Blanco.

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fishpedition

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After a couple of excursions on the Coquille River estuary at Bandon, Oregon I wearied of big water, big boats and sketchy fish and wandered south to Cape Blanco and the Sixes River. Following a day of long anticipated rain, and expecting more I climbed along the bluff at the Cape to view the mouth of the Sixes where it opens to the ocean. Sure enough the rains had swelled the river channel and breached the sand bar, allowing the salmon to begin their upstream run.

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The lagoon to the right of the beach is the Sixes River, the channel across the sand to the ocean is just visible in the above photos. After an overnight at the state park, it was a short drive the following morning down to the river launch, rains gave way to playing rainbow tag as I paddled down stream.

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By now having had a few trips out, and catching one 8 pound salmon on the open waters of the Coquille River; I’m starting to feel competent about going after some seriously big fish, 15 and 20 pounders seen leaping and being caught by other fisher-persons.

???????????????????????????????The kayak has significant advantages for fishing, the ability to maneuver in shallow water and slip into tight river bends where the fish are. Once hooking into a strong and feisty salmon I’ve got the ability to follow them and/or try to keep them out of the numerous sunken trees along the river banks. The most significant drawback is that there’s no place in such a small boat to put a landed fish other than in the lap. 15 pounds of flopping wet slime still entangled in hook, line and net makes for challenging photography. As far as getting any action shots it’s nearly impossible, there’s way too much going on what with river current, obstacles, fishing rod, paddle and a big fish going up, down and around the boat.

???????????????????????????????Going ashore to get everything squared away and stretch the legs and hey, it’s only 9:30; what the heck, see if I can get another one…

sixessalmon 022That’s it for me, two salmon per day is the limit… time to go home and put them in the freezer!

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Grateful for being able to catch such fine fare; a total of four salmon this season is enough for home use and share a few fillets with others. I’m hanging up the fishing rod and dismantling the kayak for a few months, it needs a good wash and rinse. Salt water has begun to cause minor corrosion on some of the aluminum parts of the kayak frame and there’s a slight rime along the seams of the hull fabric. Oh, and; there’s another customizing project already in the shop…

downside up

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davishosmercanon 265Viewed from below, a water-bird feather floats in a mat of vegetation among the tule reeds of Davis Lake in the Oregon Cascades. Slipping the camera gently underneath the following encounters gave a fish eye view of the world above…

???????????????????????????????Loosed from its branch to alight upon the water an autumn leaf joins moss hair and fine detritus in the surface tension, firmly fixed, unable to rise again into the air. Below, a grasshopper found itself in the same predicament; and salvation in the form of a kayak paddle which deposited it upon the deck, eventually drying out enough to be unceremoniously flipped into the lakeside bushes for another go at whatever grasshoppers tend to in September mountains.

clearmckenzieCanon 236Coming up for a breath met a downy duck feather, sailing downwind from its preening parent and drawn into the lee of the kayak hull; mutual attraction upon the crystal pane of a Clear Lake afternoon.

clearmckenzieCanon 200 - CopyThe wavering image of my watercraft seen from below set me to pondering just how big the trout in the depths of Clear Lake might grow… red and white are popular colors for fishing lures…

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gem of the Cascades

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clearmckenzieCanon 090Below the keel in Clear Lake, the headwaters of the McKenzie River. An astoundingly pristine natural lake formed by a lava flow, I chanced upon this small lake almost by accident as I wandered along the Cascade Lakes Highway. Words can hardly describe my delight to float upon this gem…

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???????????????????????????????A ghostly forest of trees inundated when the lake was filled still remain, their trunks nearly petrified in the cold waters.

clearmckenzieCanon 243Unable to resist mine own baptism, I took the plunge…

clearmckenzieCanon 346Tethered to the kayak by means of a bow line, I managed a few yards in the shockingly cold water, even with a full wetsuit my time immersed in the crystal realm was limited.

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dawn treader

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Wandering north up the east side of the Cascade Range brought me to Hosmer Lake and an early morning launch to see if I can catch some lunch. South Sister Peak was catching the sun’s first rays on glaciers of the 10,358 foot dormant volcano.

davishosmercanon 374Not quite dormant it seems…

???????????????????????????????davishosmerPentax 020A ring-necked duck passed by, showing little concern for my presence and diving for its breakfast; blue-wing teal drowsing in the reeds apparently had already had theirs.

davishosmerPentax 068Passing through a long narrow channel brought me into the upper end of this beautiful gem of a mountain lake, and I found the fish… Very plump and very wary brook trout schooled over gravel bars of an ancient stream bed, disinterestedly moving away from the kayak and the Screaming Sheila streamer I tossed their way.

davishosmerPentax 233Underwater, their grace and flow was even more absorbing and I quickly lost interest in trying to catch any of them. The leisurely school moved away, their forms mirrored in the surface above.

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wet feet

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Davis Lake was naturally formed by a lava flow that blocked water draining into the Deschutes River watershed on the East side of the Oregon Cascades. Water still percolates through the jumbled blocks of porous lava to reach Wickiup Reservoir and the Deschutes River. Other than a half mile or so of rocky lava shoreline, the rest of the lake is bounded by tule [too-lee] reeds; habitat for fish, bugs and birds. Below, a pair of sandhill cranes keep their eye on me as I ease past.

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Out of necessity I desperately needed to come ashore after morning coffee and a couple of hours in the kayak, and was fortunate to find this moderately solid bit of beach and an old steel fence post to moor to.

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The tule reeds are a wilderness all unto their own… abundant large-mouth bass lurk at the edges to wait for passing prey, ready to lunge back under cover when the numerous ospreys and bald eagles cruise by overhead.

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Feeling comfortable now with the boat I began to have some fun with the underwater photography. Using a small Canon D-20 ‘point and shoot’, the best I can do is hold the camera at arms length below the surface and click away, hoping something turns out.

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baptism

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davishosmerPentax 078Daybreak on Davis Lake in the Oregon Cascades, and the long anticipated launch of the dream boat…

???????????????????????????????A nicely stable boat and I’ve got good balance, holding the camera square to the scene will take a bit of practice…

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On an even keel by now, the afternoon breeze picked up and a chance to try out the home design square-rig sail. It worked better than I had hoped for, the ability to actually tack into the wind saves a lot of paddle effort. Not so large a sail area as to be risky without a leeboard, a top speed of 5 knots was achieved crossing the lake with the wind on the beam.

davishosmercanon 349clearmckenzieCanon 230Kayaking the heavens!

macroworld

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hightide 120The same seaweed here borne on a rib bone of black basalt, plastered tight into every crevice and pocket, streaming down it’s face.

hightide 127 What do we see in patterns? What is it we want to see in patterns? What patterns do we  notice, look closer at and plug into, thus becoming the pattern. The plant splashes every summer upon the ocean’s bath tub ring; rimming the stone basin of it’s cradle, arriving early and now leaving so soon.

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Waves and wind are mild, the sun at it’s zenith in the north. Here be a giant of earth, festooned with the Goddesses verdant tress, a favored son for his position of moment.

hightide 126Ascension to her throne of high achievement was by the fortune of a mild winter’s pass along her kingdom’s shore. The countenance of creation seeking the wind and sun; homage to the winged creatures above whose white blessings nurture and sustain, assuming their image and smelling the same. Once slender bubbly lime light threads of glory are now transformed into airy feathers that fluff the soft wind.

Low at her feet lies a last cradle of life for the season, compact and conserving, in service and autonomous at the same time.

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hightide 172A pair of tiny snails in their catch-pocket ark of stone. An agate’s epochal skin grins with the knowledge of far vaster stretches of time, welcoming the polish and beauty of being weathered away to sand, rejoining its brethren mineral elements in a timeless cycle.

Water is the universal solvent, it can in time dissolve anything. The Earth sloshes it’s life blood around in the great catch pockets of oceans, air and sun play over the seas and lift it over rocks, mountains and plains. All life catches water to it’s ability… drinks it, swims in it, grows with it. To be mindful of waters cycle on the planet is a task looming over the human race like a perfect storm. There are seasons we as humans can comprehend, seasons incomprehensibly greater in scope we can’t. Patterns are mirrors large and small, echoing the cosmic dance of particles and pulsars, green seaweed and galaxies.

 

 

microcosmic

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A shallow pool filled with fresh water from rain and springs in the bluffs above is nowadays rimmed with sea moss, a fleeting summer phenomenon along the upper tidal zones of the Pacific Northwest.

hightide 221Not actually a moss, this is the closest I could get to actual identification:  “Chlorophyta (Green Algae) Previous names: Conferva coalita, Spongomorpha coalita, Codiolum petrocelidis”
“Similar species: There are many similar species that are only distinguishable with a microscope, including Acrosiphonia coalita and Acrosiphonia spinescens.”

I’ll just go with ‘sea moss’.

hightide 240Anchored to the bedrock bottom tiny bladders hold delicate fronds suspended in the sun-warmed water of the catch pool, in a side grotto surreal forms are mirrored in the pool’s surface. Tiny air bubbles held underneath by surface tension are now being joined by micro bits of plant debris stirred by the movement of hand and camera in the near stagnant pool.

???????????????????????????????Only in the first few movements can I get photos clear of the drifting detritus. Embracing the inevitable I decided to have some fun with it…

hightide 253Playing with contrast and color, an interesting cosmos emerges. Further travel encountered even stranger sights.

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The same photo inverted…

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