Saturday, July 29, 2006


Hague Paddle- RESCHEDULED, originally uploaded by jmharper.

We were rained out of an evening paddle once again, so we are trying next week!

Thursday, August 3rd, 6:15pm, THE HAGUE, in Norfolk. We will meet on
the north side of the Hague, along Mowbray Arch, between the Chrysler Museum
and the footbridge. This is a relaxed, after-work social paddle. We will
explore the Hague, and perhaps venture into the Elizabeth River for a little

Chris Hoyland will host some snacks and beverages afterwards at her place, a
block north of the Chrysler Museum.

Then on Saturday, August 5th, it is the 2nd annual John Schonk party. Among other things, you can paddle the Lafayette River in Norfolk. Bring your boat, or borrow one for a while.

Air Power Park Paddle

Air Power Park Paddle, originally uploaded by jmharper.

On June 24th, four daring mice snuck into Air Power Park to paddle the Back River from a dock located inside the park. Actually, we got permission from park personnel, but had to heave our boats over the fence and drag them about 50 yards to get them to the dock for put-in. Here, Jeff, jeanine and Chris do all the heavy lifting, while Jerry snaps a few pictures.

With the jets and rockets nearby, this was definitely one of the most unique put-ins we have ever used!

On the Back River

On the Back River, originally uploaded by jmharper.

This wasn't the paddle for you if you wanted to get away from it all. we did see herons, muskrats, and surprisingly, orioles! But a look at the top right of this photo will tell you that we were never far away from the rest of the world in Hampton.

The Back River is more of a creek and a drainage channel when you head south from the park. Aside from the roads, there is always a decent buffer of trees and grasses between the water and development.

Scenic Hampton

Scenic Hampton, originally uploaded by jmharper.

On this paddle, you get some interesting views, from the rockets of Air Power Park to the Hampton Coliseum. The lakes of the coliseum are separated from our creek by a spillway, so we couldn't get in there. Perhaps if the tide had been a little higher we might have been able to get a little closer.

Of course, the highways were a constant companion on this paddle, from LaSalle Avenue to the interstates. Road noise was never far away.

Pagoda Lunch

Pagoda Lunch, originally uploaded by jmharper.

If you look hard as you travel on I-64 at the 664 interchange, you just might see this little pagoda on a spit of land in the middle of a lake under the power lines. This was Jerry's goal for the paddle, to figure out what this pagoda was.

Apparently, it was built by a group of friends to be a hangout for beer drinking and other pursuits. We could see a fair amount of beer-related trash nearby. At any rate, it was a nice spot to sit down and have lunch. And just enough beach to pull up our kayaks.

Concrete Nature

Concrete Nature, originally uploaded by jmharper.

If you don't mind a little concrete, and a little noise, Air Power Park is a great place to put in. Next time, we may head the other way, towards Langley Air Force Base and the York River.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lotus Garden Loop

Lotus Garden Loop, originally uploaded by jmharper.

On Saturday, July 8th, five mice met at Lotus Garden Park for a sunny paddle. The loop has some of the most varied scenery of any of our paddles. We started out with a narrow, tree lined creek up to the Hells Point golf course. after a right turn, we headed down a slowly widening canal for a couple of miles. in this picture, Marcial, Ginny, Jim and Chris have made it almost to the Back Bay.

After a short stretch along the edge of Back Bay, we entered a winding, open creek for the mile and a half paddle back to put-in.

Boats at the Ready

Boats at the Ready, originally uploaded by jmharper.

That's a Scrambler, a Zoar Sport, a pair of Tsunamis, and one of Jim's many boats. They come in many different shapes and lengths. The lime green boat is a sit-on-top model, very stable and easy to get in and out of. It has holes in the bottom, so the boat can self-bail.

The other boats are the conventional sit-in models. The middle three boats are recreational touring kayaks. They are very stable, and quite comfortable, but get through the water more quickly than the sit-on-top. Jim's boat is a little longer and narrower than the others, and is closer to a true sea kayak. You lose a little stability, but gain speed.

Whatever boat you have, you are welcome to join us on a paddle!

Hazardous Put-in

Hazardous Put-in, originally uploaded by jmharper.

The Lotus Garden Loop is just that- a loop. You paddle around in one direction, and return to where you started. Well, almost where you started.

At Lotus Garden Park, Sandbridge Road crosses the creek with a couple of small pipe culverts. Even at low tide, you can't paddle through them. So you have to walk across the road at put-in or take out. Our group decided to cross for the put-in. Of course, Sandbridge Road on a summer Saturday is quite busy, so it took a while to get all five boats across.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle, originally uploaded by jmharper.

During our brief trip into Back bay, we saw one of the coolest things you can see while paddling- a Bald eagle. In this picture, the top of the tree behind sort of muddles the view of it's head, but you can definitely see the head and beak, pointing to the left.

Bald eagles are still somewhat rare, but you can see one in our area if you are lucky. this one seemed kind of non-chalant, flying back a tree or two when we pulled up close. For some of us, it was our first bald eagle sighting!

Follow the Creek

Follow the Creek, originally uploaded by jmharper.

Here Jim and Ginny head through an opening in the reeds, close to the take-out. The final portion of this paddle was a winding creek for about a mile and a half. Reeds and cypress were the predominant scene.

After 2-1/2 hours, we pulled back into the Lotus Garden Park, and called it a day. A beautiful day and a great paddle!


Mice on the Shenandoah!

Mice on the Shenandoah!, originally uploaded by jmharper.

It really isn't a River Mice event, because the water was moving faster than a tidal current, but many mice joined George for Canoe and Steak Day on the Shenandoah River near Luray. He set up a rental house for two nights just up the hill from the river, and set up the paddle with the outfitters. Four kayaks and four canoes made their way down eight miles of the river.

Here Peggy and Jim are lining themselves up to go through a "hole" in a ledge that spans across the river just underneath the water surface. Perhaps they are thinking of the steak dinner awaiting them at the end of the day...

Our Hosts

Our Hosts, originally uploaded by jmharper.

George and Bev are shown here lazily floating down the river. In fact they always look like they are lazily floating down the river, because both are quite experienced paddlers. They were able to pick out the many obstacles in the river, caused by the low water level, and make it through with nary a scratch.

The low water conditions made getting down the river quite a challenge. It really tested your river reading skills to make it through what was normally a class 1 rapid, but instead was a little bit of water and some rocks. It was a lot of fun, as the challenge came without the risks of running rougher whitewater.

It's Shorn and Nancy!

It's Shorn and Nancy!, originally uploaded by jmharper.

Shorn and Nancy braved the campground at the outfitters, rather than staying at the house. They seemed to be none the worse for wear!

Yes, they are Mogul members, and occasional Mice. thankfully for us, they don't paddle like they ski, or they would have finished three hours ahead of us, and would have started over again from the put-in!

Taking a Load Off

Taking a Load Off, originally uploaded by jmharper.

Jerry takes a seat in his canoe, probably resting his feet. He spent quite a bit of time standing in his boat, scouting the river ahead. It takes balance, and experience to stand in a moving canoe!

Even though the water was low, everyone had a great time on the river. Thanks to George for putting it all together!


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tentative July Mice Schedule

Stay tuned for details!

Saturday, July 8th- West Neck Creek.
---This is the paddle that soaked us last year. Rain from start to finish. We will actually try to see something this time!

Thursday, July 13th- The Hague.
---An easy social paddle on the Hague in Ghent, with a possible venture into the Elizabeth River, hosted by Chris. Snacks and beverages afterwards at her place.

Sunday, July 23rd- Lotus Garden Loop.
---We missed this one last year. Put in off of Sandbridge Road, and paddle a five mile loop through some varied scenery. A fun paddle!

All paddles are subject to change- an email will confirm them.

See you on the water!