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Rain.  A cold, dreary, winter rain.  Hmmm…  Really?  Were we honestly going to get up early on a Saturday morning, drive for an hour and paddle in this stuff??  Not that I haven’t done it before (I have; MANY times, thank you), and not that I don’t enjoy it (I actually do), but sometimes ya just want to stay inside in weather like this.  While it seemed more fitting to curl up with a nice, hot cup of tea, and either a good book, a movie, or both we headed out despite the glum.  Am I glad we did!

Monitoring the not-so-thrilling radar patterns and fishing reports all the way down to Carters Lake, we decided to duck into the local Denny’s to wait out the worst of the rain.  Over coffee and breakfast, we delved more deeply into both the weather and fishing reports.  Our wait paid off, and by the time we reached the put in, we had some solid conditions (for paddling, at least – the fishing, not so much…)

Carters Lake is one of my favorites, and I always revel in the opportunity to share it.  The difference this time being that I was with a fisherman, and a fisherwoman I am not.  The last time I was this close to a fishing pole or someone who actually knew what they were doing with one was when I was a kid on my dad’s boat.  I didn’t have the first iota of a clue as to what I was doing then in regards to fishing, and lemme tell ya what: things haven’t changed much on that front!  I was certainly intrigued by the assortment of gear and tackle, and more than a little curious about the whole process, so I did keep a close eye on the whole setting up/sorting procedure while Eric was getting set up for a day on the water in the Cuda 14.  I likely drove the poor man insane asking a billion questions throughout the day, but he was a good sport, answered my questions, offered insight, never once complained and had a smile on his face the whole time!  (Rumor has it he very much liked the Cuda 14, too!)

As I’ve said before, each season in the foothills of the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains has it’s own surreal magic, and today did not disappoint.  Glass water; trees and hilltops peeking through low hanging clouds; blankets of fog laying soft on the water, lifting gently throughout the day to reveal ridgelines of the surrounding mountains…  Ever the surreal experience, paddling in the fog seems to be the abiding theme of my winter this year.  The difference today was that deep in a cove we found a draw with stream meandering it’s way through to the lake.

Solemn yet not somber, the hills beckoned and we ventured…  Walking along the stream and into the woods, it was easy to slip into reverie, imagining a time past and what life must have once been like.   Squirrel, geese, heron and woodpecker could all be heard.  Luxuriously, though, we only rarely heard the sounds of humans.


Lunch also seemed apropos.  Pleasant discovery on my part (and likely only a touring boater would take this perspective!): the Cuda makes a great picnic table!

The lake began to get crowded after lunch (HA!) so we packed up and moved on.

With eyes open for new sights, Eric and the Cuda 14 went one direction, I Journeyed in the opposite.

Eventually we wound up back together, and headed off to investigate other sections of the lake, specifically near the dam proper.  Another quick excursion to stretch our legs, then it was back to the takeout.

On the way home, we stopped by the reregulation dam, and cast a line down there as well (again, to no avail, but it’s not always about catching fish, is it?)

Though certainly not a fruitful day of fishing, being on the water always makes for a successful day!  On the way back, we both were getting excited about the next venture on the water: me looking forward to a new river; him to more time on the water in the Cuda 14 and more fish; both of us to warmer weather!!

Safe, happy and warm boating to you and yours!