Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving for Good Videos

You will inevitably decide that there’s nothing good on TV. That’s by design. The worse the programming, the more programming packages you will buy in search of something that isn’t there. If you really want something rewarding, here are two videos you should enjoy.

Missouri River Canoe Trip at

And John Sullivan’s Canoe Voyaging Southern Wisconsin at

Both have some beautiful music.  We'll get back to Lake Carl Blackwell tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lake Carl Blackwell, Stillwater, OK

Looking across the lake from a pocket of grass along the shore.
When we left Guthrie Lake on Saturday, we stopped in Guthrie for a few more days of provisioning at WalMart, since it was right on Rt. 77 (Division St.) and easy to get to. We had planned to make a stop at Langston Lake, but no camping was indicated. We knew camping was available at Carl Blackwell, so off we went.

Juvenile yellow crown night heron.  I wish I had gotten a better
picture, but I got one chance and it was gone.
When we arrived, the office staff indicated we had picked the worst weekend of the year to visit. OSU is reputed to have the largest homecoming in the United States, and we had pulled in for homecoming weekend. Of course she also said Oklahoma has more lakes than any other state in the country, and we know that isn’t true. Oklahoma has 177 lakes, which doesn’t start to compare with 11,842 in Minnesota, or 15,291 in Wisconsin, or 64,980 in Michigan, or 3,000,000 in Alaska. Now, if she had said we have the most artificial, man-made lakes of any other state, bingo. Anyhow, in spite of all the hoopla, Oklahoma lost to West Virginia 34-10.

On a related educational topic, a report was recently released naming Oklahoma as having the 49th worst educational standards in the country, losing only to Tennessee. (This number varies with the report being referenced. One placed Oklahoma as high as tenth worst.) Several of the lowest hanging fruit from the Bush of Knowledge had taken up residence in a campsite near us. I’ve never understood why campgrounds seem to increasingly discriminate against tent campers, or forbid them entirely. If this group was representative of tent campers, my inability to comprehend such dislike should be satisfied. Campground literature clearly states “quiet hours are to be observed between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., and the message is repeated with a sign at the entrance to each camping area and in front of about every third campsite, yet these miscreants kept the ruckus up with loud talking, hooting, screeching, and imitating coyotes until 1 a.m.

Finally able to lay its beak down for awhile, a pelican
pauses for a rest.
They began raiding every campsite looking for firewood by pulling into sites and scanning with their high-beam headlights, and then gathering anything they could carry. One log they picked up was 8-inches across at the small end and about six feet long. It was heavy enough it took three guys to carry it. This was the “kindling” with which they planned to start their bonfire. One of the girls yelled, “You’re on your own. I’m not going to help. I’m not going to jail for arsenic. Ew! It’s got ants all over it!” Apparently enough beers make arson and arsenic the same thing. The biggest shocker, however, came in the morning. One of the guys took a plastic bag and walked around their campsite picking up their beer cans. Giving credit where credit is due, I erased a black mark from their camping score. Then they made breakfast and threw egg shells on the ground all around their fire ring. Oh well. Here’s your black mark back. So close and yet so far.

The paddle down the lake will follow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Many of you would argue, with some sound reasoning, that it's January rather than November, but happy thanksgiving just the same.  Here's a wreath for the season that Jean and the granddaughters put together.  Several wild turkey feathers were used that we gathered during a walk through the woods.  I won't say where, since I don't want them all shot.  Their discarded tail feathers make a nice colorful addition for decorating.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Travels With A Kayak

Credit: Author's website
Travels With A Kayak by Whit Deschner (pub. by Eddie Tern Press, 1997, 251pp)

This is an unusual book, but one that you would enjoy. As far as the paddling is concerned, the author writes about his whitewater trips around the world. The locations span 30 years of international paddling and sound like at least a semester of geography---Nepal, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Great Britain, Alaska, the Everglades, and on and on. The writing style is back-handed, tongue-in-cheek, humorous. He strikes me as someone with a life-long subscription to Mad Magazine and with Saturday Night Live programmed on DVR. His facts are humorous, his humor is---ah, nope, the reverse won’t work. He has imaginary conversations with people long dead, and some with people that never lived. In short, the author could keep you simultaneously enlightened and entertained around a campfire anywhere. The book will do the same thing without you having to spend years dragging bags through airports.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sawbill Journey

The above link is for My Sawbill Journey by Jerry Vandiver.  The music is as wonderful as always, and the photography by Paul Sundberg is stupendous.  You'll love this.  Please check it out.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Sad Season

Credit: Alex Comb, Solo Canoe
The last couple weeks have been a rush to beat the early crush of winter. Last week I was scraping, priming, and painting door frames during the Fairview Air Show. It was the 63rd Fairview Fly-In, the oldest free air show in the country. I rubber-necked to watch the planes making their final approach to the airport while I painted. Then it was the RV that needed to be cleaned and winterized before being put in storage. This weekend marks the end of the NASCAR season at Homestead, FL. And, I see Steve Earley (Log of Spartina) lamenting the end of his sailing season due to fog, cold, and launching ramps being closed with huge blocks of concrete making access impossible. It’s all just too depressing to think that such beautiful scenes as that above may be months away. Keep paddling becomes keep warm. Sad!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Guthrie Lake

With the lake area so developed, I was able to
get a picture of only a heron.
Guthrie Lake is also located south of Guthrie, OK, and to the east of Liberty Lake. Guthrie Lake was built in 1919 as a 205-acre recreational lake for the city. It can be found on the DeLorme Oklahoma Atlas and Gazetteer on P. 32, Grid I-3, or Page 89 of the Lakes of Oklahoma map book prepared by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. Like Liberty, Guthrie also has a 5-mile shoreline, and also has its boat ramp closed due to about a 6-ft fall in lake levels, and the fishing dock is high and dry.

While Liberty was in a pastoral setting, Guthrie Lake looks like it is much closer to the city. Except for the headwaters, the shoreline is developed most of the way around. The Lakes of Oklahoma map book shows primitive camping across from the public area between Coltrane and Lake Roads. We never found a campground, couldn’t see it on Google Earth, and a local resident fishing there also said he didn’t know of a campground. We weren’t planning on staying there, but if that is your plans include camping, dig deeper, as the campground isn’t obvious. Perhaps using the contact number of (405)282-0496 would be recommended before making the trip. Even with our problems at Liberty Lake, for an enjoyable camping environment, I’d give the tip of the hat to Liberty over Guthrie.