Kayaking Sights

Kayaking Sights

Back in March 2017, I posted a blog (with a video) about kayaking monthly, explaining how I make the videos to post on Facebook as a way to stay connected to my family in Ohio and Western New York. Pat R. (jazzytower/thoughts and entanglements) suggested a photo blog showing some of the wildlife and sights that I see. I’ve finally organized my kayaking photos (which meant checking a LOT of folders on my hard drives – I haven’t been as organized as I should be) and here is that blog, fourteen months later!

(Clicking on each photo will open a tab with a larger view.)

I’ll start with a photo from Western New York. Before moving to Missouri, I took one last long paddle upstream on a section of Ellicott Creek that I hadn’t seen before from the water. It passes through the campus of the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) – actually in a suburb, Amherst. I’m glad that I did, because I took one of my favorite photos on that creek – with my cellphone!

Stream Serenity

Since moving to Missouri, I’ve continued to stay mostly in small streams and rivers. If I launch in the Missouri, I would need to make a “round trip,” paddling forever against the current. Paddling alone, I can’t leave one car at the exit point and take my kayak to a launch point upstream. I’ve paddled into the Missouri River and gone upstream a short distance (tough, against the current) to drift/paddle back downstream to the stream I started in, but that’s it. To control the buildup of silt in the Missouri (and to control bank erosion) the Army Corp of Engineers constructs stone wing dams. Sometimes a couple hundred feet long, they angle from the shore to direct the current. Even with these, dredging to maintain a channel is a year-round project.

Wing Dam.jpg

Occasionally, I will paddle on the Osage River. It’s half as wide as the Missouri, and the current is mild enough that I can paddle two to four miles upstream without any problem. I don’t often paddle late in the day, but this sunset on the Osage is one of my favorite photos. The farm field beyond the trees was covered in smoke (which drifted across the river at times) from a controlled burn.

Forest Afire

The Osage River and many of the other rivers and smaller streams have sections that run right next to tall limestone bluffs. Missouri is known for its caves, so it’s not unusual to see small caves in those bluffs.

Bluff Caves

Under Cover

I can count on seeing wildlife on most river paddles. Great blue herons, turtles and turkey vultures are three creatures I see nearly every time (except December on into March for turtles and herons).

Heron Lookout

Terrapin Camo

Embracing the Wind

A green heron is much smaller than a great blue heron, about the size of a crow.

Green Heron

I may not see bald eagles soaring over the smaller streams as often as I do over the Missouri and the Osage, but I’m more likely to see one perched closer to the water of those streams.

Regal Pose.jpg

This juvenile bald eagle (below) sat on a branch twenty-five feet above a stream, and dropped into the water just ahead of me to catch a catfish in shallow water, struggling to get it to shore.



And finally, some creatures that I see while kayaking are a little more fantastic than others.

Thirst Quencher

Ken G.



Here’s an odd occurrence on WordPress: My “Likes” aren’t sticking.

Normally, I prefer and use Firefox as my browser. Since yesterday, I’ve revisited posts I know I’ve Liked, only to see they are not. A good example is the “If Challenge” to which I responded, as well as linked comments I’ve visited. Re-Liking the posts and then reloading showed no Like. Oddly, Liking a post from the brief teaser in my Reader seems to stay when I reload the Reader, but I prefer the appearance of a blogger’s page over the generic feel of the Reader.

So, I’ve used Chrome to revisit some of those posts, clicking Like and reloading them. It seems to be working, so I’m using Chrome for now. I’ll retry Firefox in a few days.

Besides the satisfaction of posting my poetry on WordPress, the greatest appeal of WordPress for me is the community interaction, and the Like button is part of that.

Ken G.

Lichen My Mossy Missouri Hike (photo blog)

Lichen Mossy Hike_1

Autumn maple leaves, Osage Trail/Clark Hill Historic Site, Missouri

Lichen My Mossy Missouri Hike

The vertigo I experienced last week lasted nine days, with Monday and Thursday as the worst. The rest of the time was a little worse than being light-headed – as long as I was careful about standing, turning and sitting too quickly. By noon on Monday, I was feeling fine, so I did some yard work, mostly raking leaves, with no issues. I wanted to be sure I’d be able to go hiking on Tuesday.

I was a little light-headed when I woke on Tuesday, but feeling fine well before noon, so I headed out with my camera. I’ve been jonsin’ to get some fall photos, and it was a great day for it – 54° and partly cloudy – except for the leaves. It doesn’t look like we’ll have much in the way of fall colors this year. Still, it was a nice day for a hike. I could try again in a week, but it will be into November. The oaks will have started turning, but they don’t offer much color.

I started at Clark’s Hill Historic Site – just 13 acres at a point on the Missouri River that was a campsite for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Osage Trail (0.5 mile, one way) has a couple of steep climbs through forest, before it ends at a deck on the bluff, overlooking the former confluence of the Osage and Missouri Rivers (That confluence is now 5 miles away). The only interesting color was from a yellow maple tree. Of the few other maples I saw, half were already brown and the rest hadn’t changed yet. I’ve taken some nice leaf photos here in the past, so it’s worth the short trip.

From there I went to Painted Rock Conservation Area, 1500 acres that includes the Osage Bluff Trail, which weaves on and off bluffs that overlook the Osage River.

Lichen Mossy Hike_4

Osage River & Bloody Island Overlook
Osage Bluff Scenic Trail

There are the remains of a stone Indian burial cairn, and pictographs on one bluff face are visible from the river (not from the trail). There are a few more maples here, but with little color in those that had changed. As it happened, clouds moved in and I had overcast skies by the time I came out to the first overlook – not a great day for photos, so most that I took were of moss, lichen and rock formations.

Lichen Mossy Hike_5

As always, I enjoyed the hike, nearly 2 miles, including some off trail exploring to get my best photo of the day, beneath an overhanging rock formation, looking out on the river – testing my balance just a little bit more than I should.

Lichen Mossy Hike_12

Osage River seen from Painted Rock Conservation Area
(click for larger view)

Ken G.


Will You Still Need Me? Will You Still Feed Me?

Will You Still Need Me

No one told me that when I reached 64 I would be thinking, “Well, I’m in my 65th year.” But, I am.

Big deal, right? I mean, what’s 65? Sure, it used to be the magic number for Social Security, that light at the end of the tunnel for folks longing for the end of a workaday life. But, hell, that’s now 66, and in another three years it will be 67. And, for many, working past that is a necessity to survive. These days, you better not be counting on living on just Social Security. Hopefully you have an IRA, 401(k), etc. – one that has survived the meltdowns of the stock market. And pensions? Those are just as susceptible.

As for 65, I have to go back to my paternal great-grandfather to find a male ancestor who made it to 65. I’ll give credit to my maternal grandfather for making it to 76, but for his father, it was just 49.

Fortunately, it occurred to me to sing “When I’m Sixty-four” to someone just before I reached 64, so I have a lock on the “Will you still need me? Will you still feed me?” aspect of that in my waning years.

I know that decades cause panic in some people… 30, 40, 50, 60, etc., but those birthdays never bothered me. I think it was my on 54th birthday that it dawned on me, “Hey! I’m 50!” I know, plus a few years, but you have to stay young in your mind.

So, yeah. I’m in my 65th year, and the fact that I have far fewer years ahead of me than behind me does come to mind now and then, but I’m not ready to start counting down, just yet.

Image source: RoseBakes.com

Meet the Man Who Talks to Himself About the Weather

I started vlogging – video blogging – shortly after I retired in 2006. It gave me an opportunity to connect with people across the country and around the world. Traveling around the country, I went on to meet more than 50 of those vloggers in person, between 2009 and 2014.

Talking to the camera about things that were important to me was a way to sort through my thoughts, but it became a sort of hobby, and my vlogs included video poems and collaborations with other vloggers on videos about recent events in the news, as well as creative projects. Many of my vlogs were recorded as I sat, walked, biked and kayaked along the Niagara River, which led to a change of my screen name to rivrvlogr in 2008. At the height of my obsession with vlogging, 2010-2011, I made more than 540 videos in 24 months.

My production of videos diminished gradually, until I was making just two vlogs per month, and then tapered right off, so that I usually upload one a month. Those are my kayak vlogs. I share them with a small community, but the main reason I make them is to share with my family on Facebook.

My name is Ken, and I’m a (recovered) vlogger.

Kayak Moment

Floating against the bank,
out of the current

Paddle resting
on shaded water

Kingfisher cocks his head,
peers at me, then darts away

Heron on opposite shore
steps forward, takes flight

Calls of both birds
ring for a brief moment

Stillness of the morning air
returns, another reward

This poem first appeared her in April 2014.


Unrelated news items that pulled me in:

A kiss can be the most intimate of expressions – its true intent known only to those in the exchange, yet interpreted by all who witness it.  Unfortunately, too often the reaction to that exchange, and to the relationship, by others outside of it is not one of acceptance.  Where does this end?

Passion is not limited to relationships.  Sometimes it’s expressed as the pursuit of, and love for, an activity.  Sadly, tragedy can bring an end to that passion in its last moments.


reaction to a simple kiss by
religion of terrorism
to proclaim an ideology

passion for great heights
and the open air
swept away in a moment

following news with shields down
remind self that weight of sadness
greatest for families devastated

Over the years, I’ve learned to reserve my emotions when reading or viewing tragic news.  I don’t turn them off, so I suppose I compartmentalize them.  I didn’t do that today.  First, in following the news about the mass shooting in Orlando; and then, reading about a hot air balloon tender who fell to his death when winds swept the balloon away after the riders disembarked.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that my sadness is incidental.

Not So Carefree Write

At times, I can be so anal. Of course, the perfection I seek resides only in my mind. Writing poetry might be a whole lot easier if I could just ignore the compulsion to tweak a verse, a line or just a word. Sometimes, it doesn’t really matter. I might be more pleased with a revision, but the original version holds up fine under the light.

That happened to me yesterday. Driving down the highway, my mind was flooded with a memory from my childhood. I had three-quarters of a poem in my head in the remaining twenty-five mile drive home. I spent another hour “finishing” it and decided to post it on my blog.

In going back and forth between my document and the page editor in WordPress, I decided I wanted my original document on one page. When I formatted it for two equal columns, a line of thought was interrupted by one verse. If I wanted to shift the right column up by one verse, I would need two more verses, thus balancing the poem on the page. See what I mean? Anal.

So, I went back to the poem and worked on it for another hour. In my edit, I combined two verses in the first half. They were too wordy and needed the edit. The urge to balance my columns actually proved useful. I followed the revised verse with a new one, to maintain the equal columns and column break where I wanted it, then wrote two new verses to complete the second column. I was very pleased with the results. So, not so anal, it would seem.

Now, back to WordPress, formatted in one column. I added the completed second half of the poem and finished by combining those two earlier verses already in the page editor. That’s right, I never inserted the additional verse that followed. But, you know what? I looked at it a couple of times after posting and never noticed that it was missing a verse. Carefree Ride is just fine, the way it is.

Ah, but now my need for “perfection.” Checking into WordPress this morning, I saw that the verse is missing. So, here it is (in bold italics)…

His right arm was extended,
Pall Mall between his fingers,
his wrist resting casually on
that giant steering wheel.

It was a dark green ’55 Buick,
with peach side-body panels.
It broke his heart
when my uncle totaled it.

That same scene,
the casual stance behind the wheel,
would be a common sight
over the years.

A window in time, ’55 to ’65,
one that normally takes
a backseat to my teen years,
opened before me, today.

Maybe the poem stands up fine without the verse, thinning it out a bit, but the added verse works great for my two column format, and my mind has a hard time seeing the poem without it.

Except… and here we go again… now that I look at it this way, the verse about the ’55 Buick now interrupts a line of thought. But, that car meant so much to my father (the subject of the poem), and it practically defines 1958 for me. How could I delete it? Solution… don’t. Forget the inserted verse. Screw the need for equal columns on the page.

And so, I just spent the last hour writing this and re-analyzing the poem. Anal? This time, I like to think that finding my WordPress omission led me to an analysis that was just a part of my editing process and showed me the poem as it should be.

Yeah, that’s it.

Ken G. / rivrvlogr