Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cool Rivers

This week the heat is sizzling and I am sure many, many, too many for me, people are at the beach. Call me odd, but lying under a hot sun at the seashore along with hoards of other people is the last place I want to be when it is really hot. You come away sunburned, sticky from the salt, bitten by huge greenhead flies, cranky from the traffic, and not really cooled off. Okay, the surfing looks fun.

During the dog days of summer I seek cool, inland rivers and lakes. I've always preferred freshwater for recreating. Maybe it stems from our family camping trips to Moosehead Lake in Maine, Hapgood Pond in Vermont, and that I learned (sort of) to swim in a lake near our home. We never made family trips to the beach. Instead we camped, canoed, hiked, looked for moose and loons, and generally splashed around in cool, fresh water. And is there a better place on earth than the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota?!

Although the tides are interesting and create neat habitats, I can't be bothered about tying up boats so they aren't left high and dry when the tide goes out. And there is the not so small dilemma of sea level rise. As with many places (such as California!) I like to visit on occasion and at certain times of year (the beach in winter), but I prefer not to live too close.

As others were no doubt elbowing for beach space this week, I headed inland to the Isinglass River. With some colleagues and Bella, I walked along the hemlock-shaded cool shoreline watching dragonflies dance above the flowing water and lingered by the brilliant cardinal flowers.

By the time we finished our walk along the Isinglass the sun was overhead, but the cool air along the river stayed with me. As we returned to the cars along Pig Lane, an old gravel road, we quenched our thirst and appetite with some sweet-tasting, wild-growing blackberries. I drove home with the windows down and not a bit of traffic to lose my cool.

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