~Big River & Big Winds!

I’ve dipped my paddle into Big River twice.  And, both times our return paddle has been against very strong winds.  Big River is about 2 miles North of Van Damme State Park, our home base for a long weekend of paddling, camp fires, good food and really good wine!

Parking is free and you can drive right down and launch directly on the beach.  Be sure to check incoming tides as they can certainly help move you along, or move against you and make you work for it.  We arrived at 9am and the wind was blowing towards us and out to the ocean.  Oddly enough, just as we launched, the wind flattened out a bit.


Once again I’m taking up the lead as I enjoy the peaceful morning.  My fellow paddlers are quite a ways in front of me.  But, that’s ok.  Sometimes being in the back has its rewards.


Like this harbor seal.  He’s busy watching the other paddlers as I approach from the side and zoom in to capture this shot.  I’m very well aware that we must respect all wildlife.  I was at least 100 feet away, on the other side of the river.


Teri is looking good in her Pungo 120.  Since this is our first paddle of the weekend, her kayak is pretty clean.  That will change later 😉


This is a nice capture of Mike with his buddy Duke.  Duke’s become a regular.



JC is cruising along..I don’t see him again until lunch.  Nice and sleek kayak JC!

Big River will take you back for at least 7 miles before the water gets too shallow to go much farther. There are many twists and turns as the dense forest gets closer to the water line.

The reflections of trees and golden grasses are pretty.  More evidence that Fall has arrived.


I love the feathery look of this Lichen dripping from the trees.  I recently read that Lichen is a good indicator of pollution.  Studies have taken place in the surrounding Los Angeles area that have shown a dramatic decrease in the amount of Lichen, due to pollution.  Another reminder we should do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint.


One thing I love taking pictures of are stumps that look like something from the deep lagoons.   This creature is coming up out of the water with one gleaming eye, ready to pounce!


While this reminds me of a couple of frolicking cobras.  Wait, do cobras frolic?  In my imagination they do, and the reflection is proof!


What does this one remind you of?


After paddling for about 1.5 hours we find the only suitable place to take out for lunch.  It’s muddy but it will do.  The tide is going out, so we eat with a purpose so we don’t loose our footing as we climb back into our kayaks.  I don’t have a picture of Teri’s boat after lunch, but let’s just say it wasn’t a clean as my earlier picture!

A few of us continue farther upstream while the rest of our group starts to head back.  We don’t make it too far before we make the decision to turn back around as well.

This is probably my favorite picture I took on Big River.  The reflection of Richard in his white kayak it nice.


Here is evidence of an old dock that’s been long since debilitated.  There are several along the way, some shorter and some in better condition.


One final picture of flat water as we head back to the put-in.  The winds will start picking up with each bend I move past.


Big wind?  Yes, big wind.  You need to hunker down and keep moving otherwise you’ll lose any forward progress you’ve made.  There are white caps on the water as I get closer to the sandy beach we started on hours earlier.  My camera is safely tucked away by this time, so you’ll just have to believe me.

You can start earlier, tides permitting, and try to avoid the winds.  Regardless, you’ll most likely be rewarded with a few miles of flat, glass like water, on your way upstream.


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