Back in the Saddle Again (Re-post)

(This post originally published in September 2010)

After 3 months abstinence from kayaking, I made my first, renewed kayak adventure yesterday! I have 2 favorite places nearby where I like to kayak/photograph. One of the areas has extremely low water levels right now and navigating the creek is impossible with camera equipment, due to downed trees in the creek and the very real possibility of capsizing while trying to get around/under them. The other place has a “Trail Closed” sign at the trailhead that leads to the water where I launch the kayak. But it is at this latter place where I kayaked yesterday. Due to recent heavy rains, I am able to launch the kayak at the parking lot, directly into a drainage ditch that leads to the water, thus circumnavigating the trail!

One of the first subjects I encountered were Raccoons (Procyon lotor) of which I found 3 separate critters. This first one was searching for food at the water’s edge when I first saw it … actually, I heard it before I saw it. When I did see it, I lifted my camera up to grab some images. At that same time, the little fellow looked over and saw me:

Raccoon "hiding" behind twigs


Looks like he’s “hiding” behind the plant stalks, doesn’t it? He then turned and scurried away, but not very far. I again spotted him as he headed towards a downed mulberry tree that lies in the water at the water’s edge. As I watched, he quickly climbed to the top of the tree, where he peered down at me in the kayak:

Raccoon watching me from atop a downed tree


Shortly thereafter, he scrambled down the tree and off into the woods. But another noise, further up the bank, caught my attention. Here, I found yet another Raccoon:

Raccoon along water's edge


This one was not quite as timid, but still didn’t stick around very long. This behavior is very different from what I usually find at this location, but I think my 3-month absence has played a key role. Also, the raccoons I saw appeared to be young ones, so they may not have seen me, or any humans, prior to yesterday … but that will change! Also, you can see that the foliage is just beginning to change to fall colors, with yellows and reds evident in some of the leaves … with all the moisture we’ve been getting, this should be an excellent fall for colors.

I’m glad to be be “Back in the Saddle, Again!” I had been having kayak withdrawals for some time, so it sure was fun to be out among the critters again … in fact, as soon as I post this to my blog, guess where I’m headed?!!

Posted in Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak
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