Unplug with an evening paddle at Mountain Island Lake

Kayaking into the sunset at Mountain Island Lake.
Kayaking into the sunset at Mountain Island Lake. Courtesy of Reedy Creek Nature Center

Get out on the water, and you’ll get a better look at the wild side of Mountain Island Lake. Great blue herons, ducks and turtles have a home there. The mayflies are buzzing this time of year.

“They’re almost like miniature dragonflies,” said Laura Domingo, an environmental educator at Reedy Creek Nature Center. Domingo also leads evening kayak trips on the lake every other week. The next outing is July 23.

“Have you ever been out on a kayak during the evening?” she asked. “It’s a beautiful time of day.”

The goal of the kayak trips is to relax and “unplug,” said Domingo, who grew up kayaking in Florida. She’s been leading the lake outings for more than six years.

Her time with the kayakers is also a chance to talk about becoming better stewards of Charlotte’s natural resources. The group sometimes paddles by trash floating in the water’s ripples or hears the roar of speedboats crossing the lake. Pollution in any form is a concern because Charlotte’s drinking water comes from Mountain Island Lake as well as Lake Norman, both part of the Catawba River.

Other species depend on these waters, too. During their hour and a half on the water, Domingo’s groups have occasionally spotted a beaver. Last time, they caught a glimpse of two osprey fledglings in a nest before returning to shore at sunset.

Ages 16 and up can register for the outings, on alternating Wednesdays and Thursdays. Kayakers of all levels of experience are welcome to join Domingo, as the trip is not rigorous.

Beginners who wish to practice before registering can take an Intro to Kayaking class at Reedy Creek Nature Center.

Canoes can be rented at Latta Plantation Nature Center 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Sundays, and on holidays that fall on a Monday. People with their own kayaks or canoes can launch for free between sunup and sundown.

Capwell: 704-358-6194; Twitter: @jessicacapwell

Want to go?

Kayaking trips are planned on July 23, Aug. 5 and Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Latta Plantation Nature Center, 6211 Sample Road, Huntersville. Register: 704-432-6460 or search “Evening Kayak at Mountain Island Lake” online at the Mecklenburg Park and Rec site. Get details about canoe rentals or launching at 704-875-1391.