Wake-up call


As I paddle past groggy, grumpy herons, I see an osprey take flight at the entry to Duck Cove. I hopeĀ  this means they’re nesting somewhere in the trees up on Saltpeter Bluff.

It’s a perfect morning. Sunrise is shooing away the fog that settled on the water overnight, and I realize how long it’s been since I’ve been on the water at daybreak. To my mind, it’s without a doubt the best time to paddle. Dorsal fins slice through pollen-stained water. A muskrat swims parallel to me along the shore. Kingfishers, titmice and swallows percolate overhead. To think, I almost opted for another slog on the elliptical instead of going down to the dock and dropping the kayak in the water …

I decide to paddle over to Prater Flats, crossing the main channel of Loudon and hugging the south shore until I reach the entrance to the Flats. From there, I head up to International Harbor Marina (not sure what’s international about it) in Friendsville. I paddle around Prater Flats for a while before deciding to head home. All told, it’s 9.7 miles of bliss. I can’t wait to do it again.

Here’s a GPS/Google Earth image of my route …