When I drove across the Taneycomo Bridge yesterday, I noticed that Goose Island was visible and inhabited with about 100 geese and a few ducks. Before anyone points it out, I know that Goose Island really isn’t an island, but a peninsula or probably even more accurately, a sandbar. Goose Island just has a better ring to it. I had missed “the island” where I would often sit or recline and stretch after a run on a large piece of driftwood poking out of lake. Sometimes I would do balancing yoga poses on the log, which may not have been that smart, but nothing bad ever came of it.
Interestingly, it is also a place where my special Pipevine Swallowtail comes to visit, straight from the heavens. Today was no exception.
But, my thoughts turned to paddle boarding and I realized I could easily launch into the lake from the island. The mornings are often beautifully foggy, so I wanted that to be part of the fun. It is often foggy here in the morning especially by the lakes. As a kid in Joplin, fog that came all the way to the ground didn’t seem to happen very often and when it did, it seemed magical to be inside a cloud. I consider the fog one of the beautiful things here in Branson. I also thought morning would be best to avoid the pesky pop-up storms that often plague summer afternoons.
I had never paddled on this part of Taneycomo favoring the calm waters at Empire Park mostly away from boats zipping by and invading my space with their rocking wake, that admittedly makes me a little nervous (okay, a lot nervous). And the water here is 45-50*, so falling off the board, even with my life jacket, has an additional challenge.
As I was unloading my gear in the parking lot and inflating my board, a security guard I know stopped to chat. “You’re going to take that (gesturing to my board) on that lake?” “Yep!” I responded. “You know that water is always about 50*?” he asked. “Yep. And that is why I plan to stay on my board.” He laughed and said, “Good luck!”
I finished getting everything ready and took a few photos before I really got serious. I looked at the bridge in the distance and set my goal to stand-up paddle all the way there and back. I actually did it a couple of times and then spent the rest of the time relaxing on the board in various positions observing the lake world.
After I got on the lake, but before I stood up, I realized I was going to have to pay attention to the occasional boats headed by, especially the speed boats. They were a little ways away outside of the no-wake area, but that didn’t stop the wake they created from traveling all the way to shore. I decided another goal for today was to be at peace with the wake. I know what to do. Lower my center of gravity and turn the nose towards the wake. Face the fear head on. Or, if I don’t turn the board and it rocks from side-to-side, be flexible and go with it.
Finally there were no moving boats nearby, so I stood up and paddled towards the bridge. There was a large contingent of geese about halfway there, but I figured they wouldn’t pay much attention to me like when they are all over the sidewalk and I go running through them. They’re pretty tame. A few of the geese began to swim towards the bridge and I found myself following in their wake. I found this entertaining for some reason that I could actually feel their wake through my board.
Presently I noticed that the local news was doing a story related to emergency services with two emergency vehicles staged and the lake in the background. I paddled across where this was taking place, so if you watch KY3 tonight you might see me in the background.
Watching the geese, observing the thunderheads bubbling up in the far distance to the south, listening to my tunes and making peace with the wake was the rest of the time, until I thought I heard a rumble of thunder in the distance. I wasn’t sure, but I’d been here about an hour and a half, so it was time for a break anyway. I checked the weather and storms were headed our way in the next hour or two.
I decided to take a few more photos and engage in a little goose yoga before packing up for the day. I resisted the urge to hit Taco Tuesday at the nearest restaurant and headed home to a delicious kale salad with quinoa and chickpeas. The sky has grayed and the lightened up several times, but hasn’t cut loose. Yet.