As I dipped my paddle into the Noyo River for the first time, the fog was drifting through the air above me. It was a little chilly to start but I was excited to be here. There wasn’t a bit of wind stirring and the tide would be moving in our favor; upstream.
The water was like glass and there were several sea lions churning the water as they each took turns keeping a watchful eye. Before our journey upstream, we would head to the mouth of the harbor first. The thought of doing this later in the day, when winds typically blow, was my main reason for doing this first. As we paddled, there were several Black Crowned Night Herons flying out of a nearby tree. I spotted adults and juveniles, but didn’t get my camera out in time to catch them in flight.
As we rounded the first bend the fog was already starting to burn off. Seeing the bridge over the flat water was a nice site. This bridge is Hwy 1, just as you enter Fort Bragg.
One of my paddling companions saw a dog sleeping under the dock. I looked but never saw him. I did see several fish carcasses laying on the dock and at that same time caught a whiff of them too. Time to move forward! The next shot was pretty cool! Just beyond this flat glass like water is the pounding surf. There are others with the skill set to paddle those conditions, not me. I like flat water.
As we turn our bows back upstream, I see at least a dozen sea lions. They bob their heads and dive under water. As I paddled by where they disappeared, I catch one swimming just to my right looking up from under the water at me. His big beautiful eyes caught mine and we had a moment. Wow! This is one of the reasons I paddle. To be close to nature.
As we make our way back upstream the Coast Guard is loaded up and ready to head out. I wave hello, they wave back. They’re all so young.
I notice a Gull trying to pull a crab out of the water. He made several attempts but had no luck. Eventually he gave up and flew away. I’m hopeful he came back for another try. It was such a yummy looking crab.
The fog is completely gone now and the air is starting to warm up. As the first paddler I’m lucky to capture this shot with a pretty reflection in the water. The launch is just ahead on the right, where we started in the fog earlier.
The Noyo river winds and turns past old abandoned boats, a campground and a kayak rental place called Liquid Fusion. The farther you paddle away from the ocean, the quieter and more peaceful the river becomes. The trees are closer to the water and and the water becomes a little greener.
After paddling about 3-4 miles, we find a nice gravelly beach to pull out and have lunch. It feels good to stretch the legs. A few crazy paddlers decide to walk up the hill and onto the old abandoned train track.
Capturing the bridge with our kayaks and the reflection of the water is priceless.
I take a walk upstream to see how shallow the water is and just to enjoy the beautiful day. As I start to walk back to my kayak, I capture this pretty shot. The leaves have already fallen off these trees reminding me that Fall has arrived.
We load back up and head downstream. The water level is a little lower as the tide slowly moves out and if you look closely you can see the little round pebbles underneath the water.
The sun is hitting the kayaks with just the right amount of light and the bright colors is pretty.
Winds aren’t much of an issue as we make our way back. Ice Cream is on all our minds, as we’re planning to visit Cowlicks in Fort Bragg. Home made and delicious!
Here’s a shot of the launch after we are done loading up. Parking is listed as $3 per car, but there’s no where to pay, so it’s free and there is plenty of parking. The cement launch is also free of slippery moss which can be common on boat launches.