The sky was overcast and rain was constantly threatening so the wildlife was active while the trails were mostly deserted. Perfect!
Alligators are numerous here but today they were everywhere. This little one was resting on a mud island.
This guy was practically hidden off the trail. The drought has caused the lakes to dry into small pools and the alligators don't have to work as hard to catch fish so they are gorging themselves. This guy must have had quite a lunch!
Can you spot the gar in the picture?Can you spot the gar in this picture?! The gator was right beside the hiking trail but he showed no interest in me as I walked past nor when I stopped to take pictures.
The trails weren't as hot because the sun was behind clouds but I still managed to soak my shirt and shorts and Buff with sweat. I love the large live oaks with Spanish moss swaying in the breeze.
Along some trails you can see where alligators have left their own trails through the mud.
This anhinga was not happy that I was walking so close. He fussed and made noise because he couldn't decide if he really wanted to fly away. In the end he thought I looked like a threat and flew off fussing the whole way.
There were immature green herons throughout the lakes.
Little Blue Heron on a very large lilypad.
Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks getting together for a hen party. Wonder if they'll be having quackers and cheese. (sorry, I can't help myself)
The rain finally did start to come down but it just gave me a chance to try out the rain fly for my backpack. Worked great. In all I got in a bit over 5 miles of hiking. I wish I knew how many calories I burned. I have my bodybugg but I haven't renewed my online subscription. I'd like to find something that counts calories that doesn't require an online paid subscription.
Got home and took a shower. It wasn't long before it was time for us to go to a meetup for a full moon paddle on Oyster Creek in Sugar Land.
We got there a little late because on accident on Hwy 59 backed up traffic. By the time we get to the boat house, the other paddlers are already gone. Chuck and I guess which direction they've gone and get to paddling.
There was a light breeze and the temperature had dropped. Just a wonderful evening. Gar, which were resting near the top of the water, splashed the boat as we came upon them. We really couldn't see them because of the darkness.
There were ducks from time to time swimming. Then we bumped into an alligator (!!!!) that made a huge splash and swam away. I screamed and almost wet myself. After that, every duck and clump of weeds looked like an alligator to me. Gar that splashed the boat were greeted with a little squeal from me each time. Talk about getting your heart rate up! Chuck shined his flashlight towards the shore and saw several red eyes reflected back to him. *shiver*
We finally came upon the other boaters. I think we had a total of 13 paddlers there that night.
I didn't think Oyster Creek had alligators but the event organizer told me they saw a bunch of babies last time they were paddling out there.
The full moon finally came out from behind the clouds.
The frogs were so loud that Chuck and I had to yell at each other to hold a conversation. It was interesting listening to the different rhythms the frogs would make with their croaks and chirps.
As the frogs croaked their songs, a man in the paddling party started singing "Froggie Went a Courtin" as we paddled under the full moon and the lights of the boats swayed across the water. It was a nice moment.
Chuck and I ended up paddling in the front and the water was so peaceful and calm.
Coming up to the Hwy 59 bridge. It was creepy paddling under the long, low bridge in complete darkness.
Each boat needed some sort of light on it per law. I used the blinkie light from my bike. Worked like a charm.
Heading back to the boat house. The ripple off the boat was so pretty in the light that I tried to get a picture of it.
We traveled nearly 6 miles on the water. So in all I got in a little over 11 miles. I think it was 11.35?
The paddle was over at 11:30pm. By that time Chuck and I were both starving so we stopped at a Waffle House where we had breakfast and laughed over our adventures of the day.
It really was a perfect day and made me feel so alive. Only bad thing? It really made me work up an appetite!!
I can't imagine a better way to get exercise than by having fun. Really, I could do this every day minus the scary alligator part. I felt like a kid out there playing. And the kids didn't want to go!!! It reminds me of a commercial for Toyota that I am loving so much:
Poor us. We need a life.
Would you ever go for a paddle at night?
(I would do it again. As soon as I can, as a matter of fact.)