Yet that’s the way I spent my holiday this year. Christmas with family in Dallas, Texas is a tradition. Spending time at White Rock Lake, walking and photographing the park and the wildlife there, is a tradition. Getting out on the water there – well, here’s to new traditions!
Last year I discovered two kayaks, hidden away behind my cousin Jensen’s house. I immediately began a subtle (ok, not so subtle) campaign to coax him into an excursion on White Rock Lake over the holidays. All we needed was warmth, sunshine and light winds, the last always essential on a big lake like White Rock.
The day was warm, but the sky was dark and moody, and we even had a brief shower. No matter. The morning was dead calm, the lake as smooth as glass. I was paddling, for gosh sakes, the day after Christmas. All was right with the world.
Elaborate mansions line the shores of the lake behind him, and beyond that, the Dallas skyline.
After this, my photography went south. To capture images in the darkness under the bridge, I needed to adjust the settings of my small waterproof point-and-shoot camera. I forgot to reset it afterward. Later I learned that this camera can’t handle those settings. Only a few images after that point were even usable, and they’re a little embarrassing.
Jensen and I paddled a short way up White Rock Creek. We could have explored a lot further up the waterway, but frankly, it got depressing.
Why? Trash. Plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups and other bits and pieces of detritus. Now, I’m used to Darby Creek at home, which draws its fair share of refuse. But not this bad.
They spent a good three hours cleaning up trash from a 40-foot section of shoreline, filling two large Hefty bags in the process.
Here’s one of their finds. Way to go, guys! (Photo by Jensen Moock)
Speaking of family… Jensen’s daughter Alex had really wanted to go kayaking with us. Alas, we only had two kayaks. So she went with her dad a week or so later. As you can see, they had a much prettier day. And Jensen had prettier company. (Photo by Jensen Moock)
Notice the GoPro behind the seat. Alex, soon to graduate from high school, is a talented filmmaker. She starts at prestigious Belmont University in the fall. Can you tell I’m proud of her?
(That doesn’t get you off the hook, Alex – I still haven’t seen footage from your White Rock kayak experience. Or anything you shot from the drone.)
Back to my little White Rock adventure. After the paddle up the creek, Jensen and I returned to our exploration of the lake. He had no luck fishing, but we chatted with another boater who told us a few fish tales. I showed Jensen the dog park, and the arm of the lake I call “Cormorant Corner”, for all the Double-crested Cormorants that roost in the trees there. Funny to think that a lifelong Dallas resident needed to be shown around White Rock Lake by a part-time visitor.
On White Rock Lake.
The day after Christmas.
(Photo by Jensen Moock)
I ate lunch in my bare feet. The day after Christmas.
It doesn’t get any better than that.