We spent a few days this past week camping, kayaking and exploring, and I must say had great fun doing so! The tropical system sitting atop us kept dumping rain, so we drove in the rain, kayaked in the rain, hiked in the rain and slept in the rain. Thankfully though, there were a few times that the rain stopped and the sun even came out, and we ourselves almost dried out . . . Ha Ha! We’ve kayaked several times in the rain, and actually find it quite peaceful, albeit not a serious downpour.
One of the times whilst kayaking, we had already put on our ponchos and were relaxingly paddling along in the light misty rain, when we could hear and see it coming in the distance, and it was drawing nearer fast! So we quickly paddled over to a large overhanging sandstone cliff, tucking ourselves beneath it’s protective shelter. What a terrific viewpoint it offered, as the rain pounded down, bouncing and dancing across the surface of the water, with the energy of dancer performing a river dance!
The falling rain intensified and was truly amazing to watch and listen to, instantly lulling us into a state of complete relaxation and bliss, making us feel as if we could sit there forever! I filmed a short period of the dancing raindrops with my GoPro, and absolutely love these still shots I grabbed form a couple of frames! Looking closely at the shapes and with a little imagination, one can see a dolphin jumping out of the water, a sea turtle atop the water, a duck with one large wing, as well as numerous other things! So . . . what do you see?
During our first kayak trip, I couldn’t believe when I saw a large mammal swimming towards me. At first I thought it was an otter, but quickly realized it was much too large for that, and knew instantly that it was a beaver! I was thrilled beyond belief, since I’m always hoping to see beavers when we kayak, and here I was just mere feet from this beautiful animal. I sat very still while videoing it, watching its every move, as it swam closer and closer, until it disappeared into the cave, slipping below the water.
The next day while kayaking, we were delighted to come up on this large beaver dam constructed across the narrow stream. Beavers are marvels at engineering and I was super impressed not only with their construction of the dam, but as well as the aesthetics of it and the amazing soothing sound of trickling water in surround sound!
Their pool on the other side of the dam was at least a foot or more higher than the side we were on, and the soft, carefully placed and packed mud along the bottom of the dam, was filled with lots of beaver footprints and scrapings. What an amazing opportunity to be able to witness one of nature’s marvels so up close and personal! Amazingly, we would go on to see at least two more beavers while kayaking, and get to hear one slap it’s tail on the water, creating a sound like a shotgun being fired!
The beavers weren’t the only critters we encountered whilst kayaking, we often found ourselves being visited and surrounded by a couple of Canada geese families, and I was totally in heaven! I absolutely love Canada geese, and being this close to them, and having them swim alongside me was truly amazing, not to mention that the continual “peeps” of the babies were adorable! We spent quite a bit of time removing fishing line from trees along the banks, and at times the geese stayed right with Wes, watching him work, as if they were thanking him for removing this lethal hazard.
We enjoyed several hikes as well, walking in the rain much of the time. It certainly made the abundant moss and lichen extremely soft, and I had to stop often to pat and gently squeeze it, telling Wes “Oh, it feels amazing!” The forest was filled with the pink blossoms of the Mountain Laurels and they were everywhere we looked! At one point I asked Wes to take a photo of me standing amongst a group of them, and just as we started to round the corner, he exclaimed “That’s not gonna happen, as there’s a big black bear right in the middle of the trail!” Since it was a loop, we had no choice but to turn back, and let the bear have it to himself, but Wes managed to snap this photo real quick, before we headed back.
If you’re like me, there are things that you really hope to see in your lifetime. Well, for me seeing glow worms was one of them, so I was thrilled to be given a chance to do just that while camping. Having signed up for the glow worm hike, we showed up at the destination a few minutes early. Within a minute after arriving, a Whippoorwill flew over and landed directly beside us! This is one of my favorite bird calls, so I quickly started recording it, and here it is for you to enjoy as well.
When I found out we were going to get to possibly see the glow worms, I researched about using my GoPro to try and get a photo of them. I learned that I needed to use night lapse, and read up on the best settings for it. Excitedly armed with my camera, off I went using my flashlight with red film over it, like all others on the tour, to lessen the disruption of our vision. Arriving at the cave, the ranger told us all about the glow worms, stating that there’s still so much to yet be learned about these incredible insects! To make sure my camera didn’t put out any blue light from the back screen, I went ahead and started recording, thinking for some reason that it worked like a time lapse video and would keep filming the duration of our visit. So as we moved along and gazed in wonder at the illuminated green dots, I stood as still as a soldier, whilst holding my GoPro up next to my stomach, sure that I was gonna capture some amazing shots. When we went to the back off the cave, I carefully knelt down in the sand and sat my tripod down, while covering the back of the camera with my hand to block out the light. At that point my face was mere inches from some of the worms, and I can’t express what an amazing experience it was! Later on at one point, we were standing on a boardwalk in total darkness, and everywhere you looked were hundreds of green glowing dots! It made me feel as if I was walking amongst the stars in outer space. One log was covered with so many worms that it actually glowed green! It was all so truly incredible that I we could say was “Wow!”
I continued to proudly film as I stood and moved to new spots, knowing that it was gonna be great. Well, when I checked my video later on, I was so disappointed to see that I had obviously done something very wrong and had only captured one two second video and a one second video, and burst out in laughter at what I had captured, and the folly of my entire attempt at capturing these amazing little creatures. Nonetheless, it made for a funny story to share with you and I thought these two still shots I grabbed from the wee videos, actually look pretty cool!
Here’s a link to visit if you’d like to learn more about glow worms, which are actually not worms at all but are indeed maggots! Now that makes it all even more interesting doesn’t it? . . . Glowing maggots . . . Ha Ha! From what I can find, I believe this is one of their silk threads covered in sticky, reflective droplets to attract and capture prey.
We had an awesome time, even in all the rain, and I’m currently working on a video of our experience for you, as there’s just way too much to share in just a few photos on my blog. So be watching for it soon!
See our miniatures in person this week
We are delighted to have our history-making tour on display in this beautiful museum! So if you’re in, or are going to be in the area, plan a visit to see over 60 of our miniature paintings in person, grab a magnifying glass and experience the “wow factor!” And if you fall in love with one . . . well, it can be yours forever, as all paintings in the exhibition are available.
We still have paintings available through these miniature shows listed, so visit their websites linked below to see what can still be yours!
Masterpieces in Miniature
May 2021: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada
The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA
To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com
Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email
Until Next Time ~ Rachelle