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7/24/15
  Friday afternoon my boat slid into the warm waters of Lake Ouachita. I was in it, of course. My car was parked at Lake Ouachita State Park. Here...those with RV's and campers live in luxury. Those with  tents have to park and drag their gear into a walk-in tent camping area. Look at what camping has evolved to? It has evolved to...not camping. My goal was to paddle west and find a nice location with a view of the setting sun. Once there, I would drink two beers, eat some chicken, spend the night, get up and paddle back. The one drawback was the temperature. At 3:30 p.m it was 100°. The water at the surface was at one with the air...hot as well...not much relief to be had there without diving deep. After approximately four miles of stroking against a mild wind in a kayak designed for whitewater, a promising shoreline was viewed to starboard. Ah yes! But wait...a 40 foot house was rounding the bend from the other direction. Were they hoping to weigh anchor at this spot as well? It matters not...for my insignificant little boat hit the beach before them...and this campsite was mine...all mine I tell you!
  Within a matter of groups of minutes, the area was secured and strategically laid out. Fire wood was gathered...most of which was driftwood. Now that's good ass wood! When all was prepared my ultralight spinning rod and reel unit was assembled and appropriately baited with the standard Rooster Tail spinner for really bringing in the big ones. Twenty steps to the water and my first cast precisely laid the lure where the fish were most likely to be...yes...right there. Before long a six inch bream of some kind hit hard and it was landed without a net. Next an eight inch largemouth pounded my bait and it took me close to 7 seconds to land that bastard. One more bream and I was spent. All were released humanely to be later eaten by larger fish.
  The sun dropped below the tree line and this was my cue to get the fire started. So far the only insects bothering me were flies. Around 10:00 I hit the tent and found it to be 95°. Surely after midnight the temp would become tolerable. The half moon was beautiful out the side door and a occasional thought of aborting and heading back under this light was dismissed with the hope of falling temperatures. Around 1:00 a.m. I noticed the temp started to rise again and this was enough for me. The moon had just set, so no help there. My gear was packed and loaded and in 20 minutes my course was set back to the east. The masses of land were lit enough and my recollection of the landmarks passed on the way out were just enough for navigation. An occasional pause in paddling allowed viewing the night sky and listening to the sounds of the summer woods, one of which included a screech owl. By 3:00 the campground was in view but the point of entry so clearly defined by daylight was not so easy find in this oh, so scary darkness. My GPS unit revealed that my course had taken me well past where I needed to be and a little backtracking had me there in five minutes. With headlamp on, my gear was carried up to the car as quietly as possible in hopes of not waking the locals. A quick shower and soon my vehicle was exiting the area. The Waffle House in Benton was a welcome sight, for my hunger was high after the ordeal of bare naked survival just experienced. At 5:15 I rolled into the driveway and partook of my waiting bed. My total paddle distance was around 8 miles. I vowed never to go camping again with a weather forecast that included highs any higher than the low 90's.

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