As the title states this is one of those Hummm files. I needed to make room as it seems the universe (even though still on lockdown restrictions) knows I needed some hummm… to ponder.
March ended as the hottest day ever recorded in The Netherlands for the month of March. That didn’t last long as April has thrown everything at us and sometimes that was in a manner of minutes!
The frogs in our small pond have not been deterred. Hummm… I guess we built our pond to provide a spa day for the frogs and any bird that needs to take a shower before finding a mate.
Bob is our newest follower. I am still amazed that we attract new subscribers after all these years and limited scope of our site. Welcome Bob! Thanks to all of you who continue to visit and comment on our site. Your support is hummmm… inspiring!
Then there are things that just make you smile. Recently I have been finding all sorts of painted rocks while out on my walks. The hummm… was engaged. Was it a artist? Most likely not, I figured, as they were in strange locations like a limb of a tree. Some were painted on both sides, some painted on only one side.
Rock mystery was partially solved when another walker explained she had read that some parents/children had painted the rocks and then geocached them around town. What a great idea!
Yes! It finally happened. Our first canoe paddle of 2021. You can read about our other first yearly season paddles here, here, and here.
We had kicked around a lot of ideas this Spring as to where our launch point would be. As always, do we go someplace new or just dump the boat in a known location? Our old winter torn bodies determined that we chose an old favorite location in the small town of Hillegom.
This time of the year the flower fields near Hillegom are always a nice quiet paddle and the air is filled with the floral sense. Just the right combination of canal paddling to ease the muscles back into shape.
With COVID still sky high here we took the precautions needed to stay away from other people.
After unloading the canoe at the launch site I guessed that seeing a large rat would be the highlight of the trip. A bit concerning seeing a rat hanging out at the launch site but he wasn’t thin as I am sure the nearby school was providing a good amount of food for his COVID kilos.
Once on the water we headed towards the North and right into the wind. Our arm paddle muscles barked from the lack of winter use. We didn’t get far into our excursion when we were stopped by a barrier placed in our path. For some reason this canoe path was closed and won’t be opened until 15 April.
We turned around and headed South. The rat was happily sitting by the launch sight and I think I heard him laugh as we paddled in the opposite direction.
We slowly got into our paddle rhythm and started noticing the changes from our last paddle here last Spring. Although we were a bit disappointed that the fields were not in full bloom. I had to remind myself that it is still about three weeks before the normal mid April tulip bloom. But, even then it might be less than in years past as we saw a number of fields sitting empty of any bulbs.
As we were enjoying the sites I noticed a pair of swans up in front of us and warned the back of the boat. This time of the year can be tricky when coming upon swans as they are very territorial in the mating and nesting season. Not the first time we have had to give clearance to the large birds as we paddle. Suddenly, one of the large birds starting running across the water with wings flapping right for me! What to do? There was a small sense of concern from the back of the boat, but not the level of concern I was feeling as my heart jumped into my throat and I lifted my paddle out of the water getting ready for a large white water fowl to place itself in my lap! At the last possible minute it hit the water to the left hand side of the boat not more than a five feet from me!
Now a level of appropriate concern came from the stern of the boat.
“Paddle hard! Paddle fast!”
As I put all my power into the paddle I peeked back at the Hubby who now was paddling hard as the swan was with almost no effort was swimming not more than 3 feet off the bow of the boat.
“Hell, that bird is keeping up with us!” I replied
Once the swan figured we were out of his terriorty we slowed.
“Wow, that was a first for me!” I said. In all my years of paddling, I had never actually been almost attacked by a swan. I have always respected them and gave them distance when I saw them as I had heard stories from other paddlers. Now I had a story to share too!
We continued down the canal and towards De Zilk fighting wind gusts that always blow off the sea in this canal. When we reached De Zilk and saw that the fields there were also not much to see we turned and headed back towards the launch.
The swans were waiting…
This time he tried a different tactic. Look like he was going to be friendly. swim up to the boat and them make yourself small like a floating ice burg (she won’t notice a thing until it is too late!).
We already had a plan. Paddle as fast as we could past the pair of swans.
As we paddled the back of the boat once again was shadowed by the swan for a few hundred yards.
My heart rate was elevated from the entire encounter.
As we eased our way back to the launch site we laughed about the situation. A short quiet paddle. Sure!
Pulling up to the launch pad we reflected on our first paddle of the 2021 season. We are grateful for the experience and that we are still able to enjoy some adventures even those that are unexpected.
This year we added some really cool equipment to our camping inventory. The Jetboil MiniMo that I wrote about on my last blog was one of only a few additions that has enhanced our camping experience. We also added a Yeti cooler, a GoalZero solar system, a solar interior USB lighting system and our beloved CADAC cooking system.
We purchased this small cooking system this Spring to add as our primary cooking system when we use our VW Caddy for camping.
It seemed like we could prepare about anything on it as it comes with a grill, stove, and flat surface plate for making things like pancakes. We also purchased the small pizza stone to expand our options.
From reviewing my pictures for this blog, it would seem we only used the pizza stone on our camping trips. That is not entirely true, although we were always trying new ideas for our pizza stone, we used all the features available at some point this summer but I guess taking pictures of our pizza stone experiments was more exciting.
We used this grill many times this summer when we were stuck to our house routines. This made it a very special extra to our lock down experience. Since we don’t have a large area for an American size BBQ grill we still were able to enjoy the grill experience with the CADAC without the size of a large grill. The clean up was fast and easy also with the special drip pan that comes with this system.
After a summer of use it was easy to store for the winter in CADAC carry bag and only takes up a small amount of room in one of our storage closets, where it will wait for our next season of camping.
What we like about the CADAC cooking system:
Easy to clean.
Compact system with a handy carry bag making it easy to keep everything together and to transport.
Small size making it perfect for two people.
Price was reasonable to other camping grills of the same size.
What we don’t like about the CADAC cooking system:
That the system doesn’t have something to place the hot accessories on after use. If we used the grill and wanted to switch to the stove option the grill would be very hot. Putting it on the grass burns the grass and I am sure is not the best for the grill over a long period of time.
The propane tank and the stove combo is not practical for canoe trips. Perfect for camping at a campground but not for taking on a canoe trip.
All the options available can cause planning issues, making it hard to decide what option you want to use on a trip. (Maybe that is not a CADAC issue but our issue. LOL).
Lack of a wind screen makes it challenging in some locations to maintain a constant even flame.
We recommend the CADAC cooking system for car camping, tent camping, and backyard grilling. As this system comes in several sizes it also makes it easy to determine a good size for your camping needs.