Each summer has its own pleasures and challenges. Years ago, I spent an August camping in the mountains of North Carolina. Another August just before I graduated from college, I was coming back from a summer long cross country trip to Alaska.
In the summer of 1971, I bought a farm on the shores of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. I moved there in August of that year. I spent many nights camping in a tent along the shore and feasting on steaks cooked over driftwood.
This August has been different, while we have walked the beaches over on Emerald Isle when the opportunity presented itself, we have not spent as much time on the beach as we normally do.
Some challenges have conspired to keep our beach trips down to only one or two a week. Many people would consider that lots of time on the beach, but when things are right we usually are over on the beach four or five evenings a week.
A hotter than normal summer, and my wife not feeling so well this summer were the main culprits.
Last summer we spent a lot of time in our skiff wandering around the ocean just outside of Bogue Inlet. This year Bogue Inlet has proved to be something of a challenge so we have stayed on the inside of the Inlet.
Fortunately we live in a world of dazzling water so if one avenue to the water is closed off, there are still other options. In our case water leading to the White Oak River is just by our back door. That easy access presents an opportunity is hard to resist. In fact I don't try to resist. I take advantage it whenever I can.
It has taken me a few years to learn the White Oak River, but now I am pretty comfortable with it. That turns out to be a good thing, since this summer the White Oak has been the water that I have enjoyed the most during the month of August.
Even on the warmest of days, an early morning ride down the river can be like a breath of fresh air that sustains you all day.
My most recent trip was one of the nicest. I managed to be on the river before sunrise, and I was back home by 7:30 AM. There is nothing quite like seeing the river smooth and quiet in the morning.
In early summer, a sunrise ride down the river can be a chilly enterprise. This week, the warmth of the river water took away any thought of chilly air. It actually felt good to get moving, and even the 30 mph that I hit on the trip to Swansboro felt just like a nice summer ride.
One of my favorite rides down the river I call Mackerel Morning. I did not give my most recent trip a fancy name, but it was right up there with my favorites. You can check my recent August 2010 trip out at my Picasa Web Albums site.
I was even out on the river a recent evening in my kayak, but the water was a little too warm for my taste. I will save my kayaking energy for September.
Spending more time on the river has helped keep my beach lust in check. I am sure the pendulum will swing in the other direction one day soon.