Fun With Friends, Ducks and Kayaks!
By Rachelle Siegrist
One of the lovely waterfalls along the path
Last Monday, we enjoyed the beautiful scenic drive through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park with friends Fred and Barb, as we headed over to Cashiers, NC. There we met friends Peggy and Tommy for lunch at a restaurant called Cornucopia, where we all enjoyed great conversation, laughs and food! We arrived later that afternoon at our dear friend, Don’s house in Brevard, NC. Trying to beat the coming rain, I headed out for a walk along a nearby trail. The winding trail leads through a dense forest of Rhododendrons, their branches covered in thick, rubbery leaves, curving above the path, creating a tunnel as you go along. A highlight of the wooded path is a collection of several cascades including a lovely waterfall!
I returned home in time to join the others for a delicious dinner at Twin Dragons that evening. After a pleasant breakfast in the sun room the next morning, we headed to downtown Brevard, where we browsed through several stores, including the quaint Ace Hardware. As in years prior, we enjoyed a delicious pizza at Big Mikes for lunch! That afternoon, Wes and I had fun playing with Don’s cat Koko, before we all headed out for dinner at the Square Root that evening.
Mmmmmmmmm . . . which ones do we choose!
Before going to dinner, we made a very important visit to Downtown Chocolates, where we had the terribly hard task of deciding what chocolates we wanted! The scrumptiously fragrant smell of chocolate fills the air as soon as you walk through the door, immediately making your mouth water for a taste of these luscious chocolate confections! A few of my favorites there are the Mexican hot chocolates with their spicy molten chocolate filling, lavender dark chocolate, and the red pepper and cayenne dark chocolate bark! . . . excuse me . . . I have to go eat a piece of chocolate!
Wes, Fred, Don, Barb and me at Square Root
Our dinner at the Square Root was absolutely delicious! As usual, while our taste buds were enjoying themselves, we too were enjoying lots of laughter and great conversation! That evening it was time to help Don eat his birthday cake I made him, which was Chai Spice cake with Vanilla Bean frosting, can you say YUM? After a yummy breakfast of Wes’ banana nut pancakes the next morning, we said our goodbyes and drove the winding two-lane road to Cashiers, where we were stayed a couple of nights with Tommy and Peggy at their beautiful home on Lake Glenville.
Ahhhhhh . . . in heaven again!
Within minutes of being unpacked, I was dragging the kayak to the water’s edge and crawling in! The lake was as beautiful as always, and I was in my element once again! I paddled, following the lake’s wooded shore for a couple of hours, while watching several Belted Kingfishers patiently search for fish in the shallow water. Occasionally they would drop from a tree limb above, diving into the water at high speed, appearing as if a small torpedo had been shot into the water! Seconds later, up they’d pop, with a fish in their beak and off they would fly to enjoy their tasty catch from a treetop perch!
From there I paddled over into a small finger of the lake, where a beautiful waterfall is located, and the resident ducks usually hang out. So I immediately started feeding them and managed to convince several of them to follow me back to the house. On the way back, a light, gentle rain started to fall, and thousands of tiny raindrops danced atop the water’s surface, causing a soft hush to fall across the misty lake. I stopped paddling, and sat there a few minutes, while enjoying the immensely peaceful setting! Once back, I announced to the others up on the deck that “I was bringing the ducks home!”
Wes, Fred, Barb and Tommy on their deck overlooking the lake
That evening we were treated to Tommy’s delicious homemade lasagna for supper. Afterwards, I walked back down to the lake to see if there were any ducks. While standing on the dock, a hummingbird flew out of seemingly nowhere and stopped mere inches from my face! There it just hovered for a minute, while it checked me out, and then disappeared into the tree tops as quickly as it appeared! Although there were no ducks, it was worth navigating the numerous steps just for that amazing encounter! The next morning the group loaded onto the pontoon boat, and enjoyed a delightful boat ride. The partly cloudy skies kept everyone nice and cool as we cruised around the lake, while admiring the beautiful surroundings. Of course we had to feed the ducks a couple of times as well!
Having returned home and eaten lunch, I headed back down to the lake to spend the afternoon kayaking and swimming! With mostly clear blue skies above, the emerald green lake glistened in the sun, and I was delighted to be able to enjoy it from the perspective of the kayak. For much of my trip I was accompanied by one of my duck friends, who floated right along beside me, stopping when I stopped and swimming, when I paddled. Needless to say, we had quite a conversation, mostly one sided however.
My precious little friend
From there I paddled in the direction of the waterfall, and noticing a bass boat parked in front of the waterfall, I stopped short. Withing seconds the ducks were all there waiting for more treats. The air was filled with a variety of quacks, as they ate and then contentedly preened. Then I happened to notice something large and dark, which looked like a flopping rubber hose on the lake’s surface, and quickly realized that it was a very large Banded Water Snake, one of the biggest I had ever seen! It quickly swam through the middle of the onlooking ducks, to the edge where it crawled out onto the warm rocks and disappeared!
The ducks checking out this interesting swimmer
Noticing the bass boat had left and no one was at the waterfall, I paddled over to it and parked the kayak at the edge of a submerged sandbar. I crawled out and waded waist deep into the clear, cold water, and happily fed my duck friends until I had ran out of food. With swimming at the base of a waterfall being on my “bucket list”, I decided that this was my chance! So in I went, and thankfully within a couple of minutes it no longer felt quite so cold!
Swimming in the clear, emerald water at the base of the waterfall and surrounded by ducks, I was full of unmitigated joy! I floated and paddled about while listening to the sound of rushing water and occasional quacks. A few of the ducks stayed close by, and I felt as if I was a true part of their world seeing them from that splendid vantage point. I noticed several Bluegill and Bream swimming about and then going down to check out my pink toenails, to see what exactly those bright things were. Completely mesmerized and relaxed, I peered down through the amazingly clear water, watching as the fish gently nibbled on my toes and legs, and as I have many times before, I felt so very blessed to be able to enjoy such a wondrous experience!
A ducks eye view of . . . ducks!
I could’ve easily stayed there with the falls, ducks and fish forever, but the clouds were moving in, and I knew that would bring cooler temperatures. So also knowing I had a good distance to paddle back, I reluctantly got out of the water and crawled back into my kayak. I said my last goodbye to the glorious setting, and to the ducks who wouldn’t be following me back to our friends’ dock. That evening we were treated to Peggy’s delicious enchiladas and cole slaw, and enjoyed it with lots of great conversation and much laughter. The next morning it was time for the four of us to head back home, so I made one last trip down the stairs leading to the dock, where I fed several of my duck friends for the last time, before telling them and beautiful Lake Glenville goodbye. Then goodbyes and thank-you’s were said and hugs passed around before we were heading down the road leading to home.
One last view of the lake
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Until next time . . .