The early morning threat of rain gave way to sunshine and 60 degree temperatures as we slid our kayaks into the water at Laketon on the Eel River. This familiar afternoon paddle to the dam at Stockdale rewarded us with our first sighting of a river otter. The big critter stood his ground for perhaps a minute thrashing about in the water about 100ft in front of us. He made a variety of snorting sounds voicing his displeasure at our intrusion. After showing us his full form as he rose out of the water several times, he finally submerged and disappeared. What a treat! The remainder of the 2 hours paddling brought deer, blue heron and a great horned owl into view. Definitely worth the price of admission. Oh wait, it was free!