Kayaking the Flint River and a Plantation Visit!
By Rachelle Siegrist
Wes, David and I get ready to head out on our kayaking adventure
Wes and I spent last weekend in lovely Albany, GA, where we attended the closing reception for our touring exhibition of Exquisite Miniatures, at the Albany Museum of Art. Dear friends, artist David Lanier and his wife Cathy, graciously hosted us, entertaining and feeding us well! I must admit that the highlight of the weekend for me, was our kayak trip down the beautiful Flint River!
David and Wes enjoy the “free ride!”
After dropping our van off at the final destination, Cathy dropped me off and I joined Wes and David, where they had been waiting by the dam with our kayaks. While getting into my kayak, stepping into the warm water was a delightful surprise, after being used to our frigid water here in the Smokies! Everyone loaded and ready to go, off we went, thoroughly enjoying the gradual descent of the river, which swept us along, granting us a mostly free ride during the first hour of the trip!
A section of the gorgeous shoreline complete with an Great Blue Heron
The scenery was quite stunning as we drifted along, and we began noticing several birds scattered along the southern shoreline, Egrets, Herons, Osprey and Mississippi Kites, just to name a few. Suddenly, one of the Kites swooped down and caught a Cicada in mid-air, right above our heads! “Wow . . . that was awesome!” could be heard coming from all three, as we realized what an amazing encounter we had just experienced!
Mississippi Kites sitting in treetops nearby
He flew to the top of a nearby tree, and we soon realized that there were several Mississippi Kites flying around and above us, and when they all landed in the same tree, I counted at least five of these feathered beauties! There were several fishermen standing or sitting near the limestone lined shore at places as well, and when we approached one fisherman in particular, I felt as if I had somehow secretly slipped back in time. It was an older black gentleman, sitting on an old, overturned 5-gallon bucket in the middle of a small opening along the shore. Tall, graceful Cypress Trees, lined with Spanish Moss slowly dancing in the gentle morning breeze, surrounded the older gentleman, while columns of sun streaming down through the thick canopy illuminated him and a small section of his fishing line, engulfing the magical setting in warmth! It was truly stunning and immediately I decided I must paint this scene which reminded me of old Florida!
The interesting patterns and shapes of the limestone lining the Flint River
Before long we were paddling under an old railroad trestle, and approaching what I had eagerly waited all morning for, the section of rapids! Wes went down first so he could get photos of David and I as we made our way through the rapids. The closer I got, the more excited I got, and decided this was what my pink kayak was indeed made for!
Oh Boy . . . Oh Boy . . . Here I go!!!
Funny thing was the closer I got, the bigger the rapids appeared, especially from the perspective of being down in the kayak. I laughed and whooped all the way down, immensely enjoying every second of it!
Hmmmmm . . . this part looks the roughest . . . I’ll go this way!
Oh Yea . . . I am totally LOVING this!!!
Thumbs up . . . that was awesome!!!
All too soon the exciting rapid run section was over, and I exclaimed to Wes and David that I wanted to pull my kayak out of the river, carry it back up and do that section all over again! . . . many times over at that! But time didn’t allow it, as we still had quite a ways in our journey to go yet. Totally relaxed, we arrived at the marina where the van was parked a couple of hours later. So we got out, loaded up the kayaks and then met Cathy at a Mexican restaurant for a late lunch, where we shared stories from our fun and adventurous morning of kayaking!
Early the next morning, David took us to a plantation near Albany, where I got to do something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I stood in the middle of the dirt road lined by beautiful, old Live Oaks, whose long branches gracefully curved over, crossing the road above, enveloping it in tree limbs adorned with Spanish Moss!
Another lovely section of oak lined road on the plantation
A highlight of our plantation visit, was making friends with the resident horses who were so friendly and of course gorgeous!
A graceful resident swan enjoying his lovely home
It was truly a great weekend, and it was amazing at how much we packed into it! Many thanks again to The Albany Museum of Art, for hosting the reception and exhibiting Exquisite Miniatures, and to David and Cathy for taking such good care of us and showing us such a great time!
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~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ easels ~
I finished this painting of two “tree skeletons” which remained after Hurricane Charley hit Lovers Key State Park many years ago. During our visit there this past May, Wes and I loved walking along the pristine sandy beach, passing these trees and this gorgeous view! I loved imagining I was back there while painting it in miniature!
Wes finished his miniature painting of a Bison standing against the Tetons, this past week.
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Until next time . . .