|We launched our kayaks into Nestucca River. It was a drizzly, misty morning with a cool and sharp wind. As we proceeded upriver, the tidal flow was stronger than the down river current and we had but to paddle lightly. We passed many homes, wooden structures and many of a small cottage in size. The sides of many were covered in cedar shakes. Lush flowers grew about the houses. It was reminiscent of New England and had that same rustic flavor. We then turned into the more rural part of the river and enjoyed the scenic mountains and hills in front of us. The banks were lush with greenery. Sitka spruce were scattered here and there on the banks. Lush grasslands filled the river banks. The willows grew thick on many areas of the bank. The Nestucca is filled with many different types of birds. We spotted several blue heron,cormorant,ducks, turkey vultures, seagulls, barn swallows and heard many bird songs. The insects were plentiful. We spotted a river otter swimming across in front of us. We also spotted two fawns and their mother on the bank. A cow provided verification this was rich farm country. Today was my birthday and I was so pleased to be able to spend it in quiet solitude. Spending time listening and feeling nature is so relaxing to the soul. There is seldom a dull moment as nature is a busy work of art constantly unfolding before one's eyes. We traveled about 8 miles. The trip back downriver was a brisk battle once we began to approach the town and the windy gusts worked against our forward progress. We got good exercise! Bill's rudder fix was a success after he had a tough task threading his wire through the tube to his rudder pedals. For my birthday he presented me shoelaces to secure my camera about my neck so there was no repeat of last year where on my birthday I dropped my camera in the lake. He also was so kind he washed my auto windows for the morning trip-miracles do happen! We had my birthday lunch at The Pelican. The Pelican is a brew pub that serves great beer and food and is located overlooking the pacific and giant Haystack rock immediately offshore. I had fish tacos of Mahi, Bill had Calamari, Nancy and Barb had Ono fish sandwiches. We all had great meals to nourish our famine. It was a very nice birthday. Barb and I also stopped at the Grateful Bread-a fabulous bakery we remembered from last year when I had a never to be matched apricot scone. Today we purchased an ample supply of nectarine scones and blackberry jam scones. I was so pleased!