Monday, July 13, 2009

Canoes and Lake Maumelle Don't Mix

Lake Maumelle is one of Central Arkansas most significant drinking water resources and there is no doubt that its excellent quality needs to be preserved. That said, larger drinking water impoundments nearly always serve a double duty with regards to recreation and in many ways lake Maumelle is no different--with some very curious exceptions.

Allow me to quote the big one directly from the rulebook: Rule 8. "Swimming, bathing, wading, and the use of aquaplanes, surfboards, motorized surfboards, wind-powered surfboards, personal water craft, water skis, rafts, kayaks, or other similar devices or vehicles that the Rules and Regulations do not expressly permit are prohibited."

The idea would seem to be that getting nasty humans and their associated toys in the water is a bad thing. Fair enough in theory, I suppose, but the truth of what's allowable is almost stranger than any fiction I could concoct. And rememer, it's prohibited unless expressly permitted.

So what is permitted? Big, gas-powered boats are allowed as long as they are more than 14 foot in length. Sailboats are also acceptable. But canoes and kayaks aren't welcome unless they are operated at the extreme western end of the lake. They cannot legally venture into the lake proper. In fact, they even have nice bridge to server as boundary. "Lake patrons shall restrict canoeing to the Lake Area west of the Arkansas Highway 10 Bridge." The problems is that there is not much lake here folks... this is where the river comes in, so for all intents and purposes canoeing and kayaking are prohibited on the lake.

Maybe I'm slow, or maybe I'm just missing some key point, but this just doesn't make any sense. And apart from the drafters of this plan having a personal bias or vendetta against human powered watercraft, it is a difficult position to understand. On the one hand I get how allowing swimming opens up a whole can of worms that becomes rather difficult to contain. First their are simple rafts and inner tubes, then simply powered navigation with things like windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing, and from there it just escalates with personal watercraft taking on motors with things like jet ski's and skidoo's.

I also get how you can't very well open up a lake for fishing without allowing boats with motors. What I have hard time with is how they drew the line and so neatly excised canoes and kayaks from legally using the lake. To me it would make much more sense to require the containment of the human body to the inside of any watercraft, and have this be the deciding factor when drawing the line. This could allow for small craft like canoes and kayaks, and yet prohibit things like inner tubes and swim rafts, whose use requires direct contact with the water.

Today's image shows a kayker on the lower portion of the Maumelle river, the section below the dam, where its perfectly legal for canoes and kayaks to tread.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Black Trumpets

On my latest mushroom foray my daughter and I stumbled across a whole area rich in these marvelous black trumpets!

These are supposedly not an uncommon species in my area but I have only encountered one other patch in all my 25 years of mushroom hunting. And I went back to that same patch again and again for several years (until I moved from that area) to gather a few. Sometimes finding some, sometimes not.

I dunno. Maybe I just wasn't looking for them hard enough before... they are rather difficult to spot on the litter of the forest floor. Or, maybe I just missed them season-wise. According to sources on the web they go through periodic fruitings (which I take to mean, not continuous) from May through November, so maybe I just havn't been in the right place at the right time. Once we found this big patch and started looking, we did find lots of smaller ones.

Got a pretty fair harvest (and still left plenty for others) of which most were dried for later use. A good portion, though, went into a lovely quiche.


Sunday, March 22, 2009


It's been awhile, but I finally got out with the camera today. First time in a long time that I have had the camera along and actually used the thing. But then, come to think of it, I haven't been out much anyway. I don't care for the cold so much these days, and the recent spring weather has been a delight.

The camera setup I hauled along was the mini-view setup I put together a few years ago. It's seen precious little use, and that's a shame, cause I like the kinds of images it creates... they're different. I suppose they can viewed as gimicky, and I could probably do much the same thing with a much simpler to use lens baby, but then, I don't have a lens baby.

Anyways, images number 1 and 2 of 2009 with the mini-view. I hope to get out and get more them soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On Deck

Not sure why, exactly, but this image has always reminded me of a fighter jet waiting to depart from an aircraft carrier. Poised, ready, but still pointing in the wrong direction for a proper takeoff (well, for a plane, anway....). It's an old image, from some ages ago when I got outside with my camera more often. I have always gotten a kick out of it.

These days the winter doldrums make me feel like this sometimes. Poised, ready, but still pointing in the wrong direction for a proper takeoff (oh to be like the fly!).

In any case, it is what it is, and the days toward spring march on.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Support work is what I do at my regular job. I talk to users who are having problems with thier computers or printers or this program or that program, and I do my best to get their problems solved in a timely manner.

It's easy enough work once you have been doing it for a while, and the daily repetition is almost always interrupted with a real winner. Something that I have never seen nor heard the likes of in all my time on the job.

Oddly enough, these are the fun problems. The ones that require you to think a little more, maybe even force you to learn something new that you would otherwise never have experienced.

In my day to day life, however, I have a tendency to stick to the repetition. Occasionally I'll try to break out of it by applying myself to some new found pastime, or by putting some renewed effort into an old one.

Read a new book. Read an old book, again. Take a photo. Watch some shooting stars. Play rough with the cat. Take up the game of chess. Anything to break up the routine.

Like today's image. It's not a favorite of mine, just so you know. But it does represent an artistic effort, of sorts, that was carried through to completion. So while it may be gray and grainy and lacking in any real substance... all I can say is, it's a start!