Kayaking Lake Wanaka

On Monday, four members of the Wanaka Crew spent a couple hours kayaking on Lake Wanaka.  What a blast!  Photo credits go to Alys, Danella, and Joanna as I left my camera and phone on shore.  Information about Lake Wanaka was taken from various online sources.

Lake Wanaka covers an area of 192 km2 (74 sq mi) and is New Zealand’s fourth largest lake.  It is estimated to be more than 300 m (980 ft) deep.  The clarity of the water is remarkable, especially to one who is used to the New River and Claytor Lake, which are full of organic matter.  The name Wanaka is Maori and means ‘The place of Anaka’, a local tribal chief.

At its greatest extent, which is roughly along a north-south axis, the lake is 42 k / 26 miles long. Its widest point, at the southern end, is 10 k / 6 miles.  The lake’s western shore is lined with high peaks rising to over 2000 metres / 6500 ft above sea level.

Wanaka lies in a u-shaped valley formed by glacial erosion during the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago. It is fed by the Matukituki and Makarora Rivers, and is the source of the Clutha River. Nearby Lake Hawea lies in a parallel valley carved by a neighbouring glacier.

We rented the kayaks from Paddle Wanaka, and while they did not provide much instruction or information (thank goodness I am not a novice!), they did encourage us to paddle out to Ruby Island.

Ruby Island – photo credit: Me!

We put in along the beach of Wanaka’s town center and paddled past an area of construction.  This tourist town is rapidly growing as evidenced by several new areas of development.

It took us about an hour to paddle out to the island.  Ruby Island has a boat jetty, a picnic table, and even a toilet (the word restroom is infrequently used here).  Our happy group posed in front of the Ruby Island sign.


Joanna took this great shot looking back out across the lake to our put in.

Other than a slight sunburn, it was a glorious day on the lake!

Morning on the River

Just a couple hours on the water.

That’s all it takes to make me breath deeply and smile big.  It’s similar to how I feel on the bike.

Karen encouraged me to set aside the chores for the morning and get out on the river.

We are so fortunate to live on the New River, and can be on the water within 20 minutes of leaving our homes.  The New River is 360 mi (515 km) long and flows through the states of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The part that runs through my little city has just a few Class 1 rapids, but it is often as smooth as glass, offering stunning reflections.

We saw lots of Great Blue Herons, and the fish were jumping right up out of the water.

The roots of this tree reveal evidence of the rise and fall of the water.

When floating this part of the river, you pass under 3 bridges.  The modern day train trestle, the remains of the historic bridge, and in the distance, the new Memorial Bridge.

I’ve posted images of this trestle in the past.  You may remember it.

Despite the risk, it’s hard not to pull out the camera when floating the river.  I keep the camera in a Scuba bag so as to protect it in case the kayak tips over, but even still, I’m always taking a chance when pulling it out of the water safe bag.

It was a perfect morning, and I feel such gratitude for natural wonders and dear friends.

As you read this scheduled post I am enjoying the annual Girls of August (GOA) get together.  You may remembering me telling you about the women that I attended graduate school with over 20 yrs ago.  The Girls Of August have been spending the first week of August together for over 20 years, and it is one of the highlights of the year for all of us.

See you when I get back!

Sure Looks Like 60 is the New 40

A few weeks ago, we gathered to celebrate the 60th birthday of a friend. This group of women has been celebrating each other’s birthdays for many years, and as the years have gone by, we have turned an evening into a weekend.

A weekend of Incredible sunrises


Lots of time on the water – photo credit Liz Altieri since I’m the one in the cowboy hat


Yummy food and drink


Gifts and Games

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60 Candles and Lots of Sparklers

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A comfortable cabin with lovely views

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It was the perfect way to celebrate 60!


Life. Is. Good.

Not that there aren’t roadblocks and hurdles, but those challenges allow us to appreciate the peaceful, soulful times.

I am a fortunate woman.


First Kayak Float of the Year

The extensive rain and unusually cold temps have made this such a strange spring.  I’m way behind on gardening and some of the weeds in my yard are as tall as I am!  I’ve put fewer miles on the motorcycle than is typical for this time of year and I haven’t even  had to turn on the A/C yet!

Despite all that, the temps are finally starting to rise and today, Karen and I were able to get on the river.  I’ve got the truck; she’s got the kayaks.  We knew that rain was coming but enjoyed the peace that floating the river brings and reached the take out spot right before the storm set in.

Simply lovely!





Nothing Like Water to Improve the Mood

This is a re-blog of one of the very first posts I pusblished.  It is also one of my favorites … but since it was one of my firsts, no one saw it. Maybe someone will this time!

Most of the time I am in a pretty upbeat mood, with no lack of energy or enthusiasm for what the day holds in store.  And then there are other days.  The ones when I seem to be focusing only on the negative instead of all the good in my life.  More accurately when I find myself starting to wallow in self pity.  It would be easy to stay in that world, to drift in that woe is me attitude.  Something has to be done to banish the black clouds and quickly!

Some choose exercise, others music or prayer, assuredly others choose drink.

For me and for many, the soothing balm is water.

Thankfully I have friends with water craft and I now have a truck.  One quick text to Debbie and Sandy I am on the way to pick up a kayak.  Within 20 minutes of getting a “come and get it” reply, I am putting in at the Sportsman, ready to paddle around below the dam.  Just me, and a few other guys fishing.


It is amazing how quickly my mood begins to improve.  The colors of the late afternoon, the coolness of the water, and the lower temperatures of the air all begin to elevate my spirit.

The lushness of the trees .. 


The opportunity to practice photography




Even the bridge over the New River provides a beautiful setting for a photo shoot, and soon I don’t even hear the noise of the tractor trailers going by.


In no time, my heart and soul feel better.



I enjoy the occasional chat with a passing fisherman who asks me if I’m having any luck.  Knowing that after 20 minutes, I finally get what for me is the perfect picture of a Blue Heron, I enthusiastically say that I am!!


As many have said before me, I am reminded again of just how fortunate I am to live in such a gorgeous area of the country and indeed to have friends like Debbie and Sandy who were ready and waiting with kayak, life jacket and paddle to send me on my way without questioning my grumpy mood.  I am grateful.


Friends, water, and a lovely evening: mission accomplished … foul mood gone … peace restored!