On the Water, On the Land

June 5, Otter Pond, New London, NH: This was another ORFS (Outdoor Recreation for Seniors) trip, on a day which threatened rain and thunderstorms. The rain turned out to be very light, and it held off until we were finished eating lunch. From the day:Otter Pond ORFSOtter Pond head of navOtter Pond ORFS at lunch

June 7, Hall’s Pond, Ashford, CT: Then it was south to Connecticut, meeting up with my sister, brother-in-law, and friend Barbara. We picked up a screen door at Home Depot, shared food, and in the morning saw Holly and Bill off to Maryland. Then we could go out and play, and Hall’s Pond (Kennerson Reservoir) is one of my favorite places. It was overcast, but very pleasant.

Hall's Pond BarbaraHall's Pond turtles

The mountain laurel was just coming to peak, and ranged from the whitest I’ve ever seen, to the usual pink, to the deep pink of sheeps laurel.

Hall's Pond sheeps laurel

There were lots of blueberry bushes around the edges of the pond and its islands, and oak trees bending over the water.

Hall's Pond oak

And then, there were these very strange growths. Maybe a bud (but of what?) colonized by some insect? And what? Not something I’ve noticed before, but it does look like something chewed its way out. Or in.

Then out to Simsbury, and the next morning, sitting out on the deck, I saw a camera shy bear – it was hanging out in the neighbor’s yard while I got the madly barking dog and the freaked by bear cat in the house and got my camera and got within camera range – and then it turned and left. The bear butt photo I did get is so not worth posting!

June 9, Day of the Dogs (and cat): The Simsbury household includes a Yorkie, Ashling, and Fiona the cat. We also were dog sitting for Mimi from next door. Ash:

Simsbury Ashling

Fiona:

Simsbury Fiona

Mimi on Linda’s lap:

Simsbury Linda and Mimi

And then on to a party in New Hampshire, where Alex made his presence known:

Alex

 

rain gardeners

Sunday, June 10: A group from the Black River Action Team (hence the BRAT shirts) were planting the second rain garden in a development in Springfield, VT, and I went to help. This neighborhood has areas that collect water – and when it pools over your yard and driveway, and then freezes, it’s not a good thing! A depression is dug with a channel to catch the water, then a few inches of compost, and that is covered with a couple of inches of mulch, and holes dug through all that for the plants. The first one has filled in nicely in the past year:

rain garden first

and the new one is on its way.

rain garden planted

Then, as I was already in Springfield, I put in at the boat launch where the Black River joins the Connecticut. It being a bright and sunny day, there were lots of power boats out, from small fishing boats with electric motors, to pontoon party boats, to jet boats whizzing by. I started out in the cove where the rivers meet.

CT R. bayCT R sculpture

In the winter, this cove is cluttered with ice fishing houses. One pulled up on the shore is currently in use – small, but what a setting!

CT R ice fishing shack

CT R colorful maples

The new maple leaves are still showing a lot of color, and there were irises lining parts of the bay and river. The range of yellows was more than I usually see.

Then out on the Connecticut. On the New Hampshire side is

The flag they fly is a variation on the pine tree flag of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The fort became unnecessary after the Revolution, and was rebuilt about 50 years ago as a living history museum.

The Connecticut is a big river – long, and wider and wider as it heads south – and it accumulates big trash. Anyone need a boat? or a wood stove??

CT R sculpture 2

At least this is natural!

I saw a loon!! I’ve never seen one on the Connecticut; they generally prefer the quieter lakes and ponds. And an eagle. Neither stuck around for photos.

There are obviously beaver:

CT R beaver lodge

and this pine tree was dripping sap, which hardened in crystal icicles.

CT R drippy sap

I had paddled a lazy round of the bay, and then about 2.5 miles down river. It was a much faster trip back, as I’d run my camera out of battery, and I had good views of Mt. Ascutney, on which I used the remaining camera life.

CT R Mt. Ascutney

 

Tuesday, June 12, Ompompaanoosac River: If it’s Tuesday, it must be ORFS! I met my friend Cindy (mother of Alex; see June 9) and we went up to

Ompompanoosac sign

and paddled up river as far as we could go without walking.

 

Ompompanoosic forget-me-notsOmpompanoosic head of nav

Then returned, and went just far enough to see the Connecticut River, on the other side of the railroad bridge. Cindy had places to go and a neighbor to babysit; I returned her to her car and headed down along the river, stopping along it for lunch, and taking my time.

Ompompanoosic ORFS bridge to Ct R

Thursday, June 14: The last expedition this past week was to the Jamaica Cottage Shop, where they build kits (and buildings) for all kinds of small structures, from outhouses (I’m sure they didn’t build the plastic ones!)

Jamaica Cottage Shop outhouses

They also do tiny houses, and in between garages, sheds, barns, etc. Holly and Bill built their barn/garage from one of their kits.

Then we sought out a quiet place for lunch, settling on

Gale Meadows sign

where I kayaked last year with George and Charlene. We hadn’t brought boats this trip, but enjoyed lunch sitting on the shore – and watching this eagle fly in. This is as far as the zoom on my camera will stretch – it was far enough away so it was hard to identify.

Gale Meadows eagle

On to the next adventure!

 

 

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The Rest of May, Kayaking and Other Acivities

Monday, May 21, Spring Lake: My friend Joanna and I went out to Cuttingsville, Vt to Spring Lake. This is a place new to me – and I wish my car had a little more ground clearance! The dirt road in is long, steep, rocky and rutted, and I scraped bottom a couple of times. But it is a beautiful place, quiet (except for a tree being cut down as we arrived), peaceful, and only slightly inhabited.Spring Lake view

It was a stunningly beautiful day, and the air was warm – although the water, being spring fed, was not! At this elevation, some of  the trees were just starting to leaf out, setting the season back a bit and providing a range of greens.

Spring Lake spring foliage

There were painted trillium,

Spring Lake painted trillium

shrubs coppiced by beaver,

Spring Lake beaver coppicing

loons (this is one of a pair),

Spring Lake loon

and a winding twisty passage that my longer boat found more of a challenge than Joanna’s shorter one!

Spring Lake Joanna

This came out to a back corner, with what was clearly a man-made loon nesting platform

Spring Lake nest platform up close

although the loons seemed to be nesting on the edge of a nearby island, instead. Also back there was this underwater sculpture –

Spring Lake underwater sculpture

My camera has developed a hazy spot on the inside of the lens – not always showing in the photos taken, but very annoying! Do I live without the camera long enough to send it out for help? Another couple of months before guarantee runs out…

Friday, May 25, Little Lake Sunapee, NH: Sara and I were going out to their cabin on Lake Sunapee and put boats on the water there – but a strong wind was sending serious waves onto their rocky shore. We opted to go to Little Lake Sunapee – Little Lake Sunapee viewmore appropriately called by its old name, Twin Lake, as it is nearly completely divided by a peninsula. It was another beautiful – if windy! – day, and we went around the edges of nearly the entire lake. There were times when one had to really work to make progress upwind, but then there was shelter enough from the land to be able to relax. My camera spent much of its time in the dry bag, to avoid spray and splash.

A series of the very large turtle – turtle soup, anyone?

This place must have been grandfathered in and rebuilt – I don’t think one would be allowed to build that close to the water now! But it’s very cute.

Little Lake Sunapee boathouse

Little Lake Sunapee wild azaleasCommon Merganser, resting:Little Lake Sunapee merganzer

And the gnome –

Little Lake Sunapee gnome

Saturday, May 26, Lowell Lake State Park, Vermont: One tradition is that a group of us (now retired) teachers tries to get out on the water together a couple of times a year. Memorial Day weekend is one of those times, and we gathered at Lowell Lake on the Saturday to get out together. When the parking lot is full, no more are allowed in – we made a point of getting there relatively early! Once a private camp, most of the land around is now owned by the State of Vermont, and is one of the newer state parks. Lowell Lake launch

We had a dozen people, five in Old Town Loon kayaks, four in very light Hornbeck single canoes,

two hand built and beautifully painted,

Lowell Lake Albert and Erica

and my Sandpiper. We are a congenial crowd, if sometimes a little rowdy!

Lowell Lake group

There were those who didn’t believe this passage went around the island, and turned back, but most of us went on through.

Lowell Lake Erica throughLowell Lake ginger through

This part of the lake has quite a few pitcher plants, many of which seemed to have been somewhat frost-bit, and browned.

Beaver lodges were many – here’s one:

Lowell Lake beaver lodge

There were loons:

Lowell Lake loon

We stopped for a “snack” break at the old  camp; it was enough food to be lunch (although that didn’t keep up from going out for a more serious lunch on the way home!)

Hobie now has a sail rig for their foot propelled kayaks; these two were out.

Lowell Lake Hobie sails

And back to shore.

Lowell Lake return

The last week of the month of May was HOT – twice I stopped at boat landings I was driving past, and both times decided it was too hot to be getting the kayak off the roof. My house is nice and cool – generally below 70 – and it’s more comfortable there. But on Thursday, the last day of the month, I headed for the Connecticut River. It was still hot, but mostly overcast, and I took myself upriver to an island

Ct. River island

and set up my chair and knitting and enjoyed the light breeze and view in the shade.

Ct River site

I did not get a picture of the wild turkey flying across the river directly toward me! It was a surprising sight – and the camera was in the boat. A very large bird, not an eagle (although I saw one of those later), landing awkwardly in a tree near me, and wavering back and forth trying to get its balance!

When I got in the boat to head back to the launch, there were lots of snails on it!

Ct R snails

Kayaking is not all I do with my life – although it’s what provides the best photo ops. During this time I also spent several sessions at a local library, where the new librarian is working hard to bring many years of inconsistency into a more useful state. I’ve taken on labeling and alphabetizing the children’s fiction shelving. To the right, stacks and piles of books, many with no labels; to the left, organization! With labels!

library books

I also spend time, when work days coincide with my being in town, at the old 1879 schoolhouse; this time it was prepping windows for paint.

1879 schoolhouse

And I hang out with friends, sharing food and fun – here’s Marilyn’s very proud rooster –

proud rooster

Not that I spend a lot of time hanging out with him, but I do with Marilyn!

 

Vermont and New Hampshire, Kayaking Spring

Home Jack-in-the-pulpit

It’s Spring!! This Jack-in-the-Pulpit lives next to where I park the car at home. There are both wild and domesticated flowers – still some daffodils, lots of forget-me-nots, trillium, lots of violets of several kinds, and the inevitable dandelions.

Friday, May 11: I was on my way to a Quaker Knitting Goddess weekend near Concord, and had to drive past several lakes to get there. I wanted something not too big, as the wind was howling, and chose Highland Lake. South end:

Highland Lake viewHighland Lake islandHighland Lake view 2

and north. You can see the white caps kicking up… One of the first landmarks one comes to is this weathervane.

Highland Lake weathervane

Going around the lake, the wild cherries were blooming, and there were more formal plantings showing the brightness of spring.

Highland Lake wild cherryHighland Lake spring flowers

This beautiful wooden kayak was waiting for a chance to come out and play:

Highland Lake kayak

And this firepit sure looks like an osprey nest to me! But not in New Hampshire –

Highland Lake firepit

 There are two Knapp Ponds next to each other. You might remember this pond from a month ago:

upper knapp pond iced in

May 16: My, how things have changed!

knapp Pond view

There was a lot of wildlife in evidence – herons

knapp Pond GBH

and turtles, ranging in size from about 12 inches down to about 2 inches.

Mallards:

knapp Pond mallards

I admired nature’s gardens, and I always go as far upstream as I can at the inlet.

knapp Pond island gardenknapp Pond head of nav.

May 17 and 18, Grafton Pond, NH:

Grafton Pond map cropped

On Thursday, I met my friend John (one of the ORFS) and we went around the southwest lobe, then out to the large island in the middle, before stopping for lunch. After John had to leave, I went back out, and up to the southeastern swampy end. The most photo worthy was so impressive I didn’t want to go get the camera out of the car! At the landing, a single loon came wheeling in, hooting and howling as only a loon can do, presumably trying to impress the female of the pair that was maybe 20 feet from shore. The presumed male of the pair told him off, and he went wheeling back out again. (I don’t know how to tell the sex of loons, so I could be wrong.) After seeing that, I had to go back the next day – and besides, it was a glorious sunny day with perfect temperatures, and this is my favorite place in the area, being mostly protected land around it. The loons are not shy; I’ve seen beaver, deer, turtles, and too many kinds of birds to count. The visuals:

Grafton Pond view 2

Grafton Goose

Grafton Geese

Grafton Pond loon

And sculpture of the day:

Grafton Pond tree remains

 

Kayaking Logan Landing to Dungan Cove

Dungan Cove eagle

Tuesday, May 8: The above eagle caught my eye before I was even out of the car. I actually used the camera at its full zoom to see what it was up to – I’d watched it soar, and dive, and then land on the shoreline. It stayed there long enough for me to grab the camera, get out of the car, and walk across the parking lot. Then, as I watched through the camera, it climbed over the driftwood there and disappeared from sight. And did not reappear for long enough I gave up and went to get the kayak off the car!

Logan Landing is where I launched yesterday. Today I went north and east from the same launch, all around Dungan Cove. To get there, I went past the growing osprey nest I posted the series on yesterday. This bird brought another stick and landed with it.

Dungan Cove osprey series

This osprey landed on this PVC pipe; between its narrow width, and a brisk breeze, I wasn’t sure it would stick the landing!

Dungan Cove osprey lands

There were the usual great blue herons:

Dungan Cove GBH fliesDungan Cove heron 1Dungan Cove heron 2Dungan Cove heron 3

Other things that caught my eye –

Dungan Cove chair pairDungan Cove Nina

This is my last post from Virginia. I start north tomorrow, and will spend a couple of days with a long drive and other commitments before I get to be on the water again.

 

Kayak on Lodge Creek, VA

Monday, May 7: The day dawned gray and bleak, with Maryland hidden in the grayness across the Potomac. The three dogs (one resident, two granddogs) chose three different surfaces on which to nap. Let me introduce them, in order, Heaven (Heaven Hills), Tully (Tullamore D.E.W.), and Shandy.

dogs - HeavenDogs TullyDogs - Shandy

I spent the morning knitting and catching up on e-mail, then took Tully on a very long walk before a late lunch. By then, the sun was peeking out, and I was shedding layers of clothing. So off I went, to Lodge Landing on Lodge Creek, the upper end of the Yeocomico River. I spent most of my time in an area just north and west of the launch, going in to the three lobes and around all the edges.

Lodge Creek view

There were a few herons –

Lodge Creek heron

I know a lot of people are not fond of locust trees, but this time of year they are covered with beautiful white flowers.

In the decrepit boathouse category:

Lodge Creek boathouse 2

Do crabs recognize stop – caution – go?

Lodge Creek red/yellow/green

The following series shows how ineffective reflective streamers and owls eyes balls are against nesting ospreys!

Lodge Creek one ospreyLodge Creek one ospreyLodge Creek 2 ospreysLodge Creek osprey pairLodge Creek osprey pairLodge Creek osprey leavesLodge Creek one osprey remains

It was really great to sit there on the water, only about 15 feet from that boat, and watch this pair flirting! Then back to the landing, and heading for home. Along the way, I saw this – don’t we all paint our old farm implements pink??

Lodge Creek pink rake

 

Kayaking Morattico Creek

Morattico Cr. entrance

Sunday, May 6: The above is the entrance to Morattico Creek from the Rappahannock River. Note that on this gray day, it is almost a black and white photo! It was part of my afternoon exploring the southern edge of Virginia’s Northern Neck, although I used all of my camera battery on the water, so missed some of the pics on dry land. Launching from Simonson Landing, I went up creek,

Morattico Cr. view

seeing lots of herons as every section of water had at least one.

Morattico Cr. heron 2

And these are only three of them! There were also lots of ospreys, but I only got this one before running out of camera battery.

Morattico Cr. osprey

People here catch every breeze – here with an elevated screened porch:

Morattico Cr. breeze catcher

and chairs on the hill –

Morattico Cr. chair pair

I will end this post with the sculpture of the day –

Morattico Cr. sculpture

Kayaking Bonum’s Creek, VA

Wednesday, May 2, cont.: Before I get to the kayaking on Bonum’s Creek, after kayaking Maria and I spent time sitting out by the Potomac, chatting and watching life go by. Potomac osprey

And this bluebird came, and sang for us – although it was hard to hear with the ambient noise of wind and waves.

Potomac R bluebirdPot. R, bluefird singsPotom. R bluebird profile

Thursday, May 3, Bonum’s Creek:

Bonums Cr kayak

It was a beautiful day, again, and I spent some of it on this tributary of the Potomac, going around the edges, admiring nature. And here it is –

Bonums Cr viewBonums Cr view w/blindBonums Cr viburnum

Bonums Cr pine cones

Bonums Cr diving osprey

Bonums Cr heron on branch

Bonums Cr columbine & azalea

Bonums Cr heron walks away

Bonums Cr eagle

The following sure looks beaver chewed to me, but I saw no other sign of beavers – no lodge, no dam, no loose sticks.

Bonums Cr beaver chewed pine

And then there was the man made: this is a crab trap for soft crabs. They do get in the way of following the shoreline! The fence out into the water guides crabs into an opening that takes them to the trap at the end.

Bonums Cr soft crab trap

Bonums Cr blue crab

And, having had enough sun and exercise, I loaded up and headed back.

Friday was too hot and I had other things to do. I went to join a group of knitters that knits every Friday in Heathsville, at Historic Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern, which is now home to a craft shop and lots of studios, as well as a café. I thought about putting the boat on the water, but couldn’t find the launch that was rumored to be along my route to go pick Tim up in Irvington. So I had homemade ice cream for lunch, and headed for the air conditioning!

Saturday, May 5: Back to Bonum’s Creek, this time with the intention to go out into the Potomac and some distance up river. It ended up being not very far up river, as I left the boat ramp just as it started to sprinkle, and by the time I had reached the big river, I was starting to hear thunder, although it was no longer raining. Discretion and all that – it seemed prudent to stick a little closer to the launch, so after visiting these ospreys (this series looks very domesticated!) I turned back in to the creek.

Bonums Cr rocks ospreyBonums Cr rock osprey on nestBonums Cr rocks osprey deliveryBonums Cr rocks osprey leaves

Was he trying to deliver a stick for the nest? I’d thought it was a fish, but in the photo it really doesn’t look like one.

And there was the ever-present heron:

Bonums Cr Sat. heron

As I headed back, it started raining again, and raining harder. As I approached the launch ramp, I found it had a boat trailer in it, launching a boat, so I paddled on down the shore and waited for them to clear. I was pretty wet by the time I was able to get to the ramp and out of the boat, and the thunder seemed to be getting closer – a good time to quit.

Maryland and Virginia, Visiting and Kayaking

It’s on the road again, with the car this time, first north to visit sister Holly and go to brother-in-law’s choral concert (and deliver Holly’s newly finished vest).Holly's vest no flash

A night at home with a little sleep and a chance to leave food for the cats, through Connecticut running errands, and on down to Maryland where I stayed with Julie in her new condo.

Tuesday, 5/1 – May Day! Julie and I spent some time discussing window treatments, then walked down to where the floating dock is, where one might launch kayaks. Then on to visit Joe, his spouse Halit, and his amazing gardens; it’s the height of azalea season, and he has many. The flower I’d not seen before was a Japanese Jack-in-the-pulpit –

Joe's ArisaemaJoe's Arisaema label

I’m not good with names, especially Latin ones – hence the label!

Joe and Halit also have water views, and lots of birds – here’s a pair of ospreys

Joe's pair of ospreys

and a white throated sparrow with a much nicer song than the osprey!

Joe's white throated sparrow

And on to Virginia, to Tim and Maria’s house on the Potomac River. I put a kayak on the roof of the car, and headed a mile down the road to where there’s a carry in launch. It was moderately windy, but a gorgeous late afternoon for a paddle, and I headed southeast, down river. The one to one and a half foot waves made it bouncy enough so photography was difficult! Every nesting platform has an osprey on it:Potomac Tues. osprey nest

and here’s one that didn’t score a nesting platform, and seems to be trying to make due with a much smaller surface! Good luck –

Potomac Tues. mini-nest

I went down to the junction with the Yeocomico, cruising past the house (my quarters are on the enclosed porch on the right with all the windows)

Potomac Tues. house

This is the area where last time I paddled here, last October, there were eagles on nearly every tree. This time I only saw one, at least holding still:

Potomac Tues. eagle

I did see a pair of eagles flying across the Potomac toward Maryland, but it was much too bouncy to get photos! There was also a pair of great blue herons, heading the same way.

There’s commercial traffic here, but not so much on the Virginia side of the Potomac.

Potomac Tues. comm. traffic

Back to the car – and there’s goose occupying what used to be an osprey nest!! She flew to it, and snuggled down in – probably has eggs up there. I’ve never seen a goose nest so high before! And her mate was walking along the shore, yelling at me, so I didn’t go any closer.

Potomac Tues. discrete goosePotomac Tues. watch goose

By then the sun was setting, but with a cloudless sky, it wasn’t very interesting.

Wednesday, May 2: I awoke before sunrise, but to repeat, with a cloudless sky it wasn’t very interesting! So I took my time, and was getting on the water at the same launch at 8:45. The goose on the osprey nest was much less shy today, standing proudly in the morning light:

Potomac Wed. goose on nest

and I headed northwest instead of southeast this time. Again, an osprey on every nesting platform, with a mate looking on from a nearby tree:

On up and around Sandy Point, such as it is –

Potomac Wed. Sandy Point

Another eagle:

Potomac Wed. eagle

but mostly what I saw were ospreys. They were everywhere, singles (although presumably she on the nest has a mate somewhere!)

and obvious pairs where the one in the tree was clearly keeping an eye on things at the nest.

Looking back, the photos taken last October and posted 10/8 were better – the sunrise cruise with dozens of eagles in evidence was amazing.

I spotted a strange shape well out on the river – being curious, I went half way to Maryland to check it out and snagged this balloon. I wish people would be more careful –

This heron caused me to do a double take

Potomac Wed. fake heron

but at least it sat still long enough for me to get a photo!

I went on upriver to Spence’s Point; I got there from the other side last October, having launched from Bonum’s Creek. This time there was a very pretty rowing boat in front:

Potomac Wed. rowing boat

This is spring, and there are so many different shades of green as the trees leaf out:

Potomac Wed. range of greens

This one was strangely trimmed – perhaps to keep shade but elminate limbs that might fall on the houses?

Potomac Wed. tree with haircut

And back to the car, after about 2 1/2 hours on the water. The water was so much more calm than yesterday afternoon – shortly after I returned to the house, there was this river of pine pollen on the river.

But no longer – the breeze has come up to where there are whitecaps, and the pollen has been churned up and is no longer evident.

 

Kayaking a New Hampshire Spring

first daffodil

The first signs of spring daffodils were just budding out when I returned from the Florida trip, April 9th. I was optimistic, and put the racks and the kayak on the roof, and went to try my luck at the local pond.

upper knapp pond iced in

Well, it was a pretty drive, with lots of water rushing in the stream – but not ready for kayaking yet on the pond!

Then it was off to Maine for several days. I took the kayak and racks back off the car – the forecast was for wet and cold through the weekend. They lied – by Sunday it was stunningly gorgeous, and there’s more open water over by the coast. Still colder than I want to try ocean or fast moving rivers, but the lakes and ponds were open over there. I spent a couple of days visiting friends in Bath, then went to spend a couple more days with Quaker Knitting Goddesses in Portland. Lise’s species tulips were blooming:

Portland Lise's tulips

Sunday, at the Portland Friends Meetinghouse, I liked these shadows:

Portland FM shadow

Driving home on another stunning and warm day on Monday, I looked longingly at open water, and when I got home put the kayak back on the car as Tuesday was supposed to be another glorious day. And kayaking I went – meeting with one of the Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) friends and going to the outlet end of Lake Massasecum in Bradford, NH. Putting in on the north end of the lake, we paddled downstream, and then upstream a ways after joining the Warner River. John under the branch:

Massasecum John under branch

Massasecum downstream

It was a breezy day, but sheltered and warm on the stream. After a couple of hours we headed back under the bridge and back to where we’d launched.

Massasecum south uplake

It was such a beautiful day! A Great Blue Heron flew over us more than once, and there were ducks, although I didn’t get photos of either. The only down side was that the stream runs too close to the noise from Rte. 114. Oh, well.

I’d not had enough yet, though, so went looking for another lake to paddle before gathering with another group of Quaker Knitting Goddesses for food, laughter and knitting in Webster, near Concord. Just over the line in Boscawen is Walker Pond, a new paddle site for me.  It was clouding over, and the wind was picking up, but it was still very warm for this time of year. The view toward Mt. Kearsarge:Walker Pond NW

I went clockwise around the entire shoreline. The southern end has lots of flooded tree stumps just under the water, so I was going pretty slowly through there – and still got hung up a couple of times.

Walker Pond S

The dam:

Walker Pond outflow

Lots of evidence of beaver:

Walker Pond beaver condos

And then I was so surprised to see one in front of me I almost missed it!

Walker Pond beaver slap

The first turtles I’ve seen up  north this season:

Walker Pond turtle log

There were mallards, and common mergansers:

Walker Pond common mergansers

I saw the first loons of the season for me, although the photo’s not worth sharing, and what was probably an osprey gathering nesting materials, and an eagle. There were lots of red winged blackbirds singing their little hearts out in the more northern swampy end

Walker Pond red winged blackbirdWalker Pond marsh NE

And back to the launch on the eastern side.

Walker Pond landing

There are few houses around this lake, and many of those are the older discrete style of camp and blend into the woods. This place is worth returning to, and I’d like to explore more of the southern swampy boggy area – although probably best with a good breeze to keep the bugs at bay!

Back home – a couple of weeks and warm weather has encouraged the daffodils –

Ascutney daffodils bloom

And my alarm clock these days – regularly at about 5:30 there are yellow bellied sapsuckers hammering and flirting, doing call and response.

No time for kayaking for the next few days, but hopefully by about Wednesday…

 

Florida to Vermont, Kayaking Once

Tuesday, April 3, 2018: The morning started with lots of birds; I lay in bed listening to them drumming, singing, calling until it was light enough to see to get dressed. Then it was a little food, and on the road, headed for Georgia. I stopped for a picnic lunch at the waterfront park in Brunswick, GA. This was a center for shipbuilding, especially during WWII, when they were cranking out liberty ships, taking about a month to complete each at their peak, and completing six a month or so, working overtime.  Brunswick, GA victory ship

I believe Richard and I toured ‘Peacemaker’ when it was docked in Belfast, Maine a decade or so ago. It’s for sale by owner, if anyone wants that much boat –

Brunswick, GA Peacemaker

There were no palms reflected in the windows then, though! Beautiful detailing.

Brunswick, GA Peacemaker window

I found no information on this (presumably transplanted) lighthouse. It has no doors or windows in the openings. That made it easy to see the internal framing:

There were public restrooms (Thank you!), a large pavilion where apparently they hold concerts, farmers market and such, and a sculpture/set of musical instruments, which I wish I’d photographed. Oh, well – you’ll just have to go see for yourself! It was a  pleasant place to eat my lunch and stretch my legs, and then it was on to South Carolina. I made it back to Honey Hill campground in Francis Marion National Forest well before dark, and after driving 387 miles, enough for one day!

Wednesday, April 4: Another dark quiet night – and the first this trip where it was too hot, humid,  and still to get to sleep without the fan on. I was on the road by 7:15, hoping to play some along the way and still make it to Virginia’s Blue Ridge for the night. I stopped at the Great Altamance Creek Canoe Access, where I ate lunch. It’s part of the Haw River Canoe Trail, and I now have a map for future reference – but this put in was too far to carry, too steep, and too rough to want to do it solo. On to Leesville Lake, in Pittsville, VA. There are several places to launch on this system of reservoirs; I chose this one because the wind was howling, and it was more sheltered. I was out for about an hour – and had gone from too hot to sleep last night, to four layers plus PDF for kayaking! It’s the first time I’ve kayaked among sycamores, instead of cypress –

I paddled upstream until I bottomed out on these rocks –

Brunswick, GA Leesville Lk upstream

There was not a lot of current as I went upstream, but it was very thin water. Then out to the main part of the lake, past the launch where the Roadtrek was patiently waiting:

Leesville Lk RT awaits

Out at the junction with the lake itself, a cormorant was hanging out.

Leesville Lk cormorant

See all that lumpy water with whitecaps? I only went out far enough to get pictures of lake to the west

Leesville Lk to west

and east:

Leesville Lk to east

Then back to the launch, and back to the redness of early maples:

Loaded up and back on the road, I headed for Peaks of Otter, where I crossed over the Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Pkwy view

and on down the other side, getting to the North Creek N. F. campground with plenty of daylight. The days are noticeably longer. Even with a moderate stop for lunch and an hour on the water, I still managed 400 miles, more than I really like to do in a day, but I’m on a deadline. And instead of minimal clothing and only a sheet, with the fan on, I settled in with three layers of fleece and my light down sleeping bag!

Thursday, April 5: After taking advantage of the dump station about a mile down the road, I was away by about 8:00. This was much too long a day – 11 hours, 485 miles. I stopped every couple of hours to stretch legs, find rest rooms, eat something, and it was nearly all interstate, all the time. Boring!! Especially without someone to talk to, or trade off driving so I could knit. But I did get to the campground at Long Pond, Greene, NY, before dark, for which I was grateful. This is part of a state forest, and I seemed to be the only one around. It was snowing lightly by the time I was on site, and I enjoyed hot food – hot buttered toast with lobster pâté, followed by chocolate pudding, hot from the stove. The lobster was a donation from a friend last summer – you know who you are, and how grateful I am for having had that treat! Settling in to my nest of fleece and down, I was certainly warm enough for the night.

Friday, April 6: Snow all day, but I’d made it far enough so that it was an easier driving day. I had, you see, planned with the unrealistic thought that by now, it would be warm enough so that I’d go kayaking on the pond before I loaded up. HA!

Long Pond, Greene, NY

See those white blobs falling from the sky? See that white (hard) stuff covering much of the pond? I’ll come back and get on the water another time, thank you very much! So I did some preliminary navigation, and headed out. There was some snow on some parts of the roads, but nothing serious, and I wasn’t in a hurry. It was still snowing when I got to sister Holly and brother-in-law Bill’s by about 4:30, and drove fewer than 300 miles for the day.

The reason for the rush to get here was the memorial service for a dear friend on Saturday, 4/7; it was a deeply moving cross between a Quaker memorial (where people who wish to share memories, stories, song, poetry, etc. have the opportunity to do so) and an AA meeting, attended by many from his 56 years of sobriety. With well over 100 people there, there were lots of stories shared, as well as music and song. And food, of course. Today, 4/8, after Bill’s excellent waffles with their home grown maple syrup, we went to Quaker worship, then shopping, and then yard work. It started snowing again as we sat down for supper (superb salmon), but isn’t supposed to amount to much. Just as well, as I head for home tomorrow.

Monday, 4/9: It’s been a month on the road, with eight days with kayaking, visits to friends and family in six states, and by the time I’m home today, just shy of 4000 miles on the Roadtrek. The average mpg has come to about 17, although I don’t have a final accounting yet. It’s been grand, although I fear I didn’t stay away long enough to miss mud season! I’ll have to try harder next year…