The three-day Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer season. Kick it off early at the coast with a paddle down the Black River; kick it off with a rare, on-the-water look at a millpond; kick it off with three days of adventure kicks in Asheville. All are guaranteed to make it a memorable weekend.
Last Thursday on a trip down east was my first day on the water and it put me of a mind to spend more time paddling. The quiet, save for the birdsong and the occasional gal-lump of a turtle inelegantly abandoning sunny log for murky water. The wildlife, including an alligator that was even more distracted by the sun and warmth. The emergence of spring, with the pastel buds of green, white and crimson giving the world a soft focus field. The unique calm that only paddling flat water can offer.
This weekend: Go fly a kite (or watch someone who really knows how), paddle through 2,000-year-old trees, take a hike on top of the state.
This weekend, Saturday and Sunday, it’s the Kitty Hawk Kites Annual Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition. This is competitive kite flying at its best, on the Eastern League Circuit (were you aware there was an Eastern League Circuit for sport kite flying?) and sanctioned by the American Kiting Association (ditto?). While the spectating promises to be swell, amateur kite flyers can get in on workshops, demonstrations and kite making for kids. Stuff to watch for: kite ballet competitions set to music and fast-paced team flying that blend a both kite control and speed.
For several months I’d been ruing the fact I hadn’t been in a kayak for, well, several months. I made up for my lapse over the weekend.
Saturday, Marcy and I went for a hike on the wild side of Lake Johnson. (That would be the nearly two miles of unpaved trail on the Raleigh lake’s west side.) As we crossed the footbridge toward the boathouse we took note of the $5-an-hour rental sit-on-top kayaks on the adjoining beach. A little hot right now — it was in the mid-90s at mid-afternoon — but an ideal way to spend the evening. Which we did, returning around 6:30 and taking out a tandem for an hour or so. We paddled west, checking out where we’d hiked earlier in the day. We paddled east down to the dam. We stopped occasionally, pulled our paddles and floated, watching the sky change from an oppressive haze-blue, to a muted yellow to blazing pink.