Late Fall Paddle

David paddles Mark 1

Long Haul makes some distance.

Paddling under the oak leaves.

November: an absolutely beautiful late fall paddle, unusually warm. It also happened to be Veterans’ Day, so we had our own parade. We took the Long Haul folding kayak that Mark Eckhart recently shipped us from Colorado to try for a spin out around our usual promenade. Out the Hay Canal and toward Hog Island.
We wore shorts and long sleeved shirts and neoprene socks, our only concession to the not-at-all cold water paddle for this late in the season.
The Mark 1 is more used to seeing the icebergs of Greenland or the whales of Baja. It has been to some of the wildest places on nearly every continent. Here it only had to cruise through the marshes. But what a pleasure it was. The workmanship is really fine, and it’s nice to be in a canvas and wood cocoon. As Mark says, he’s a wood guy, and is a firm believer that you have a much better chance of putting a wood frame boat back together in the wilderness.
The cockpit is small, ideal for keeping out breaking waves, and high, but your elbows reached below at just the right height. The rudder was a gem, so easy to manage. The boat itself glided along splendidly, just itching to get some serious miles under it.
It was an appropriate boat for Veterans’ Day. Mark makes a double version for the U.S. Special Forces, the Mark II Commando.
The afternoon colors were amazing: gold, yellow, orange. Wildlife seen: two great blue herons still hanging out, a short V of Canada geese, ducks (unIDed) flapping skyward when approached by kayak, the usual comorants, and a raft of 30 skittish buffleheads. Clearly migration is still on. Only one other boater: a fellow in a rowing shell that made quick work of the Hog Island circumnavigation. The paddlers and rowers once again united in owning the waters.