Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Picnic in Paradise

The view upstream from Woodcock Island as the day turns into evening

The air was so hot and heavy today, I was glad to have tasks that kept me at home. But later, as the day wore on, I began to long to immerse myself in the river's sweet cool water and convinced my husband tonight would be a great night for a supper picnic on Woodcock Island. And he agreed. I put together a pasta salad with tuna, green beans, and local tomatoes, iced up a jug of lemonade, and Denis packed up the picnic backpack. Dessert would be fresh apricots and a cooling swim. The Wenonah tandem tied down on the car, off we went to paradise.

Woodcock Island (so-named for the woodcocks I used to find there) lies just a short paddle offshore from the Sherman Island boat launch on Spier Falls Road. As pretty a piece of rock as there is on this planet, the island is shaded by numerous trees (mostly oak) with a small clearing perfect for picnics.

The beautiful lichen- and moss-covered rocks served as our dining table.

There's a little islet just offshore, across a deep channel with a rocky bottom: I call this the swimming pool. You can step off the rocks right into deep water and not have to wade through muck. And the current runs so swiftly through there you can actually swim in place. Mother Nature's own lap pool.

And the water felt like heaven!

After supper and a swim, we paddled a while, enjoying the mountains' reflections in the still water. There was not one other soul on the river, except for a mama Merganser and her two half-grown babies. The light now growing dim, I could not get photos of them. Then, as we turned toward shore to go home, the sky grew very dark, and we heard a distant rumble of thunder. The storm held off until we were well underway in the car, but oh, what incredible clouds we could see as we drove along the river.

I'm one of those peculiar folks who just loves thunderstorms with their dramatic skies and explosive sounds and flashing lightning and drenching rains. So exciting! So this was a perfect end to a perfect evening. And tonight the air is much, much cooler after the storm. Sweet dreams.


suep said...

Sounds like a lovely place to spend an evening out with your husband - no reservations needed!

Jens Zorn said...

Thanks for this evocative description.

Carolyn H said...

Now this is a nice day! The peaches looked yummy, too!

Carolyn H.

Allan Stellar said...

I was reading last night about the lost art of the picnic. Seems that forty years ago this was a weekly treat. Now, that art is mostly gone--with families reporting they take 1/3 less picnics than forty years ago.

Thanks for reminding us of this lost recreational experience...

Allan Stellar said...

Oops, make that 2/3 fewer picnics. Source: Simple Prosperity by David Wann.

Woodswalker said...

Thank you, dear readers, for stopping by. I would love to have taken you all along to enjoy that evening on the river.

Allan, I wonder if fewer families enjoy picnics these days because the kids are so booked with organized activities (sports, lessons, etc.) and both parents are working and don't get home in time to prepare a picnic. Unless sitting at a picnic table outside of McDonald's counts as a picnic.