What I Did in 2022

I traveled, although not as much as previous years – no trip to Florida, New Mexico, Texas, Canada – but much through New England (the above photo Portland, Maine), and down the eastern seaboard to Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina. I usually travel with at least one kayak; I paddled in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont (of course; I live here!), Connecticut, New York State, Maryland, and South Carolina, usually twice a week or so through the season. The most open water was on a bay on the coast of Maine; most of the rest was rivers and lakes and ponds, and the northern reaches of the Chesapeake Bay. There were a few outings to pull invasive water chestnut in New Hampshire and Connecticut, and I helped out with the Great Northern Canoe Trail Peddle/Paddle event on the Missisquoi River.

And of course, there is knitting, always – scarf and shawl:

Sweaters for cousins, and one dog:

Fingerless mitts and mittens:

Hats – one for me, the rest gifts or donations; three adult, two for children:

A couple of pairs of socks, these for me:

Two sets of Christmas stockings:

And a couple of toys:

I have requests to start off my knitting for this new year – there are a couple of outstanding Christmas gifts to granddaughters (a pair of socks, and a large bee to go with the little one), another monster for an infant to be born in March (and baby booties and socks, but they are so small they hardly count!), another cousin sweater – and then maybe I’ll get to one of the three sweaters for me for which I have yarn set aside. 

It’s less than an hour until the new year turns over here. Wishing you all safe, healthy, rewarding and productive lives in 2023!

Roadtrek Roadtrip: Kayaking on the Elk River

Saturday, October 29, Elk Neck State Park: The day was gloriously sunny, and the above red tree glowed over our campsite. The first event was a program on bats at the nature center of the park.

Most of those present were a flock of Cub Scouts, with their adults; they had coloring pages and bats to cut out, and sat mesmerized as the ranger read a charming book to them about a bat raised by birds (eating caterpillars!! Yuck!!) and then reunited with Momma bat.

Then I had to take advantage of the best weather, and take the kayak down to the boat launch that’s part of the state park. As I was ready to load the kayak, I could see clear racoon prints:

The approach to the boat ramps and sand launch,

As I started out on the water, the waves weren’t bad,  unless a power boat had been by – even on the other side of this very wide river, where the main channel is, they sent large swells across.

I paddled into this cove, where it was more protected – this was definitely a day to not be further from shore than I was willing to swim!

Then out to the point, where white caps were starting to pick up; combined with wakes from distant powercraft, it made for a good workout! But this is not the boat for that.

Above, looking back at the cove. Then I paddled back to and past the launch, thinking I’d head down toward the lighthouse, but the wind and waves were picking up and I decided discretion was called for, and went back to haul out. On going to load the kayak in the camper, I decided I didn’t need to invite this hitchhiker –

Good night, moon!

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Kayaking the Waccamaw River

Thursday, October 20: I drove the few miles into downtown Conway, South Carolina, and launched from town, heading up river against the tidal current. It was a perfect day – sunny, not too warm or cool, and on a weekday the water wasn’t crowded. I saw only two small fishing boats in the time I was out.

I paddled up to where a canal goes straight, and the river turns right; first photo is the canal (which next time I will follow; it has another launch somewhere on it), second is the railroad swing bridge shortly after making the turn.

This is a low land of cypress and pines, with some oaks scattered through. I do like cypress knees!

There were lots of turtles – but the only one willing to pose was the one by the city waterfront; the rest I mostly saw as they splashed into the water!

The city of Conway wants boaters to know they are welcome – there are also signs asking that you not anchor for more than 72 hours!

This is where I turned around, about two miles from the launch.

As I returned, I saw that the city has decorated one of its gazebos for Halloween, with a very thin person fishing:

Because there was signage for the Waccamaw River Blue Trail, I looked it up when I returned to the house, and was able to download a map of its many miles – I now have places to explore for several more trips!

Kayaking Lowell Lake State Park

Thursday, October 6: I’d been looking forward to this day during a week of mostly chilly weather and clouds. The forecast was for sun, and temperatures in the low 70s (21 – 22 C) and it actually was accurate! I was comfortable kayaking in short sleeves, and the water was warm enough to wade in comfort, as well. I was glad I was using the cooler inflatable life vest, and not the thick foam one! I didn’t get there until early afternoon, and was off the water by 4:00 as I wanted to go to knit group – but I had time to go around all of the islands, and meander to look at foliage and turtles and pitcher plants. It was crowded for this time of year; I think every retiree within range was there, boating, hiking, picnicking, soaking up the sun. But the lake is large enough to absorb a lot of activity; only the launch was crowded.

I think every camera on the lake went over to get photos of this tree, and its reflection. Photography doesn’t do justice to the range of color in this one tree!

It felt so good to be out, and my body was happy to get the exercise!

Kayaking Lowell Lake

Wednesday, August 24: Some of us from Wednesday knit group arranged to go kayaking after. The objective was to give one couple a chance to try out a couple of lighter and folding kayaks, the Oru and my Sea Eagle. And we had a very mellow 10 month old puppy along for the fun.

It was well after lunch time, but we didn’t want to be out for too long (there was another dog in a car), so we paddled out, swapped kayaks,

and went back to near the parking area where we ate lunch, and the two dogs got to come watch us eat.

This loon popped up about eight feet from my boat! I was so startled, it took me a while to remember to take a photo!

We were out until well after 5:00; it was a beautiful evening.

Cleanup on the Connecticut River

Saturday, August 20: It was a perfect day to be on the water – and to be pulling trash from the Connecticut River. We had three pairs of people in canoes,

plus me in my kayak as an overflow trash container. We went from the Cornish launch just across the Connecticut River from Windsor down to North Star Canoe a few miles south; they are a retired canoe livery company that volunteers their boats every year for our clean up efforts. We filled the bed of a pickup truck with trash – lots of tires and metal, and bags of smaller stuff. Along the way we admired the flora

and fauna:

In addition to the cormorants and mergansers, we saw a couple of different kinds of herons and lots of kingfishers.

With a couple of boats on each side of the river, we continued on; at one point we offloaded some from the most overloaded canoe into my kayak so that there was room again for the second person in the boat!

And then we were back at North Star, unloading and washing out boats, and heading for home – except for the truck, which detoured by the transfer station to unload all the trash!

Kayaking with ORFS on Lake Todd

Tuesday, August 16: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors was at it again, this time on a smallish lake in central New Hampshire. I got a late start; never having been there before, and with confusing directions, I drove on to what turned out to be a beach, and got stuck. With help from a couple of ORFS pushing, and with floor mats under the drive wheels, we did get it out, parked elsewhere, and me out on the water. Sigh.

There were loons, although not close enough to photograph. The weather was great. This lake has several small islands, and is divided by the bridge for the state highway and a separate snow mobile trail.

This southern part of the lake ends at the dam, and what was probably a mill.

At the northern end of the lake, this farm overlooks us:

I don’t believe these signs – New Hampshire doesn’t have sharks in its lakes, or alligators, and the snakes are shy! And of course, if you are going to be able to read these signs, you are already on or in the water.

Kayaking North Hartland Dam

Tuesday, August 2: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors was out again – on a hot and humid day, when it was good to be on the water!

A flood control area managed by the Corps of Engineers, once one is away from the dam, there are no houses ( except those built by the beavers!), and lots of wildlife.

The phone camera decided that it would do a movie, rather than the photo I wanted – the boom keeping boats away from the dam had at least a dozen turtles on it! And I am unable to post that.

We also saw a Great Blue Heron, by the edge of the water, keeping an eye on a couple of chicks. One person with binoculars thought that at least one chick was a mallard. None of us wanted to go closer, disturbing them to figure it out, and the cell phone did not take a photo worth posting.

Those large lumps in the center tree are eagles, probably immature as they are showing little white.

This was a turn around point for several of us – my seat was feeling unfriendly, some had appointments – and at 7 miles round trip, it’s a long way for some seniors to paddle. But we all had a good time, ate lunch together, and some of us swam in the tepid – but cooler then the air! – water.

ORFS Kayak on the Connecticut River

Tuesday, July 26: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) gathered for our weekly outing, the kayakers heading north on the Connecticut River. Vermont Adaptive Sports went out as we were gathering, taking a group of school age, probably autistic youth, who seemed to have a wonderful time. Using about 10 canoes and kayaks, they were well upriver before I was able to launch – and when I did, I got the inflatable cushion I sit on unevenly under me, so once on the river ended up taking it out. Eventually I caught up with other slow ORFS!

There were lots of ducks – the babies at the launch were catching up on their beauty sleep later.

Actually, except for the vigilant mama, most of the ducks were drowsing in the heat of the day!

ORFS went on and up a small creek near Hanover.

Norwich/Hanover bridge

We returned to the launch after about 5 1/2 miles on the water, and pulled out chairs and sat at the picnic tables to visit over lunch. It was a perfect day, not too windy (although on the nose for our return, of course!), not too hot, not too strenuous.