Sunday, April 19, 2009
Elise and I discovered a village of painted turtles yesterday on our first kayaking and camping trip. Unfortunately, the batteries in my camera died, so I was forced to capture these images with my cell phone. Not the greatest, but for a phone, not bad either.
Elise and I took the kayak out during a gorgeous and unseasonably warm 70 degree day yesterday. After paddling across the lake, Elise pointed in the direction of a tiny cove.
"Go that way, mommy!" I steered the hull in that direction figuring the quiet cove would give Elise a chance to eat her fruit roll-up and me a chance to take a break. I'm fighting a nasty cold after my first week back in a full-time job away from home.
One beauty of kayaking is the opportunity for viewing wildlife via these tiny shallow coves where much of wetland creatures spend their days and where larger boats cannot venture. As we paddled silently up the cove, we spotted a heron (infamous in these coves because they can easily snatch fish out of the shallow water), a Canada goose, and heard the chorus of spring peepers. We navigated past several felled trees and came finally to the end of the cove, where we found five painted turtles in various places of repose: on tree stumps, rocks and along the shore. Soaking up the warm afternoon sun, they were startled when Elise finally broke the silence.
"I love you, turtles!" she said quietly. Several of them jumped in the water with a plop. But one lay still, eyes slightly closed, uber relaxed. We managed to get very close to him before he slid into the murky water. We watched him swim just under the surface, then pop his head up and look at us inquisitively. I paddled quietly toward him, and he dunked himself back under the water, popping up on the other side of the boat. He did this about half a dozen times, each time stopping to study us as he emerged.
The painted turtle who played with us for twenty minutes
We took the camper out for the first time this season too! We can never go for long camping trips, or far, because we need to stay close to home for the dogs. But it was wonderful to get away to the woods, make a fire and sit with the kids in nature.
A pug at the campground
It seems spring has officially sprung!