Monday, March 18, 2013

Maiden Voyage - Wet

Buddy's debut picture at Lake Watonga.
It was a beautiful afternoon on the lake, and unseasonably warm.  There was a 15 mph breeze with occasional 20 mph gusts out in the open.  I was very happy with the way Buddy handled.  It balanced well even with the wind angling off the bow or stern, accelerated quickly, and tracked well.
A few coots swam away as I paddled across a finger of the lake.
I've gotten very used to the rudder on Ibi, the Superior Expedition solo decked canoe, but Buddy has the identical footrests, only they are static, and not connected to a rudder.  Nevertheless, habit had me constantly trying to push on one peddle or the other whenever a gust of wind hit me. 
The water color varied considerably over the lake, as did the clarity.  The trees had been cut off just inches below the surface.  There was usually about 6-inches of visibility, or just enough to avoid them with some quick maneuvering.  That helped get a feel for Buddy even more.
Much of the surrounding buttes are gypsum, which gives rise to the local mining industry and the U.S. Gypsum plant near here.  Gypsum is a form of alabaster, and comes from a Greek word meaning chalk or plaster, and besides fertilizer, plaster drywall board is indeed one of its most common products.  Since gypsum dissolves in water over time, it gives rise to our unusual tasting water, commonly called gyp-water.
While in the headwaters, I heard the roar of rushing water.  Here I found the largest outlet of Big Spring, where water rushes from an underground cavern and pours out from under this ledge.
Some fellow sunworshippers enjoying the unusually warm day.

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