Rain – and LOTS of it!

I was going to post today about yesterday’s kayaking – but when I realized that I’d not left the drains open on the kayak still on the roof of the car, I also found out how much rain had fallen! Actually, it still was. Water was flowing over the top edges of the kayak, and this is what happened when I opened the first drain. Gallons, and gallons! Fortunately, I’d realized that taking off the second kayak was a good idea – it would have filled with water, and been dangerous to take off the roof of the car had I left it on overnight. So maybe tomorrow I’ll post about yesterday’s kayaking!

I don’t have to worry about the well going dry, I guess –

ORFS Kayaking Goose Pond

Tuesday, July 19: On a beautiful sunny day, Outdoor Recreation for Seniors headed out, most of us first going north to the stream that feeds the three mile long lake. Then out into the main body of the lake, and around an island, through a rock garden, and back to launch. I didn’t do that; I have figured out that it is easier to not have to hassle with parking at the house where we lunch, and I go directly to their small beach. This time I swam and cooled off before heading up the hill to the house with my lunch. One of the highlights of the ORFS calendar for me is that our hosts feed us home made ice cream – half a dozen kinds! I had modest scoops of three of the offerings: Chocolate Butter Crunch (maybe? I don’t remember what candy bar it was based on, but it was really good!), Mint Chocolate Chip (my favorite in general), and Kitchen Sink (vanilla ice cream base packed with lots of yummy chocolate and nut additions). Three modest scoops adds up to a rather immodest serving, and helped provide ballast for the boat on what turned out to be an extremely windy slog back to the launch! Some photos of the day:

A small electric motor on this classic boat

There are as many ways through the rocks as there are paddlers, I think – no one took exactly my route, and nearly all of us kissed a rock or two.

There was at least one loon, which I was never close enough to photograph – except for this one up at the house!

I’m glad I didn’t know that there were snapping turtles this large in the lake, when I was swimming –

And lastly, I might consider this an art shot – had I known I was taking it! I have no idea what it is; I had nothing in the kayak with fibers like that. But it does make a nice mountain!

Water Chestnut Pull on the Connecticut River

Friday, July 15: Four of us went out from Walpole, New Hampshire, and across the Connecticut River to a cove where we’ve been working on eliminating the invasive water chestnut. It was a beautiful day – a few of the things that caught my eye:

This was my haul – It’s interesting that up here, the removal of water chestnut is measured by counting their rosettes; in Connecticut, with much worse infestations, it’s measured by number of sacks! My haul was about 1/4 of what I pulled the week before.

Water Chestnut Pull on the Mattabesset River

Saturday, July 9: Launching on the Coginchaug River in Middletown, Connecticut, we paddled past this interesting root mass on our way out to the Mattabesset River. Our task for the day: see how much invasive water chestnut we could pull in about three hours. It was a beautiful day to be on the water – sunny, with enough wind to keep the bugs and the heat at bay.

This was a portion of the crew. I like that the age range was from about four to well past retirement age; I’m also very glad to see so many young, strong, enthusiastic participants! It bodes well for our waterways. You can see filled sacks on top of the boats.

This is what the beginnings of an infestation look like – the water chestnut grows to completely cover the water surface, out competing native plants, harming aquatic life and making recreation difficult. I filled two burlap sacks; here’s one as I finished for the day. (The other is behind me in the kayak.)

And here is part of the haul – I think they counted 27 sacks, not counting the ones that were collected in a power boat for transport. They get composted, for the most part; apparently some people collect the plant matter to use as mulch. I was told that critters don’t like it! But the idea is to remove it from the waterway, and not let it return.

This is a great natural area; we saw herons, an osprey, lots of turtles, some fish. And we were well exercised, with some brisk paddling, and lots of pulling of plants. Most of us ended up wet and muddy, and well satisfied by our day on the water. If you live near the Connecticut River, and want to come out and play with plants, contact the Connecticut River Conservancy; I have pulled water chestnut in Vermont and Connecticut, and there are pulling parties in Massachusetts, as well!

Kayaking with ORFS at Otter Pond

Tuesday, June 28: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) was out on a small lake, with a brisk wind. It was windy enough that a few of the kayakers opted to walk with the hikers instead. But the conditions were not too bad; one had to work harder to go upwind, but control was easy, and the waves were manageable. It was a beautiful day.

The blueberries are still green, but coming along:

And the Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) was bright along the waters.

The water lilies, both white and yellow, are thick along the shores. There are a lot of insects crawling on all of them.

There were ducks, and a cormorant:

There is one new house – so new it’s not finished yet! And I like the architecture, especially the window echoing the arch. 

Back at our launch point, we ate lunch together, and enjoyed the flowers next to us.

Kayaking Lake Kolelemook

Friday, June 24: A friend and I wanted to put boats on water, and maybe swim – and it was a hot summer afternoon; I knew all the best places would lack parking by then. So we went to Lake Kolelemook in Springfield, New Hampshire, where I have friends who live directly across from the boat ramp – and who are generous with parking privileges for fellow ORFS! It’s not a huge lake; we paddled around the entire thing.

Lots of turtles!

We knew there were nesting loons on the lake – and were thrilled to see an adult with two chicks!

Kayaking Mascoma Lake with ORFS, 6/21

Tuesday, June 21: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors was out again – on an overcast and unseasonably cool day, on Mascoma Lake in Enfield, New Hampshire. Our group was more scattered than usual – people went in at least four different directions. It’s a larger lake than we usually paddle; some went up the river that feeds it, some went north, some south.

The above bridge, to one of the islands, marked my turning point. From there (after ducking to clear the bridge!) some of us headed west, to the other shore, a little south of where the historical Enfield Shaker Museum (https://shakermuseum.org/) is. Here, the cupola of the six story Great Stone Dwelling is visible through the trees.

Along the way, whimsy was evident:

The group I was mostly with only covered a little over three miles in the two hours we were out – we were too busy talking! Others went further. Then it was back to the parking lot, where we pulled out our lunches and visited more!

Kayaking Narraguagus Bay, Return

Wednesday, June 15: After landing kayaks on the beach yesterday, I needed to bring mine back around to the regular landing, where it’s a much easier carry up to the house (and the Roadtrek!) Aiming for high tide would make landing easier, so I set out well before the tide would be highest. First I paddled around the point, and out toward Pinkham Island where we’d been the day before. Wind was funneling through the slot between pieces of land, so I paddled back to the cove with the beach, and paddled around that – and that’s where the above photo was taken. If you zoom in, you can see the fish jumping – a school of menhaden (pogies) was being chased by seals. This is the first visit I’ve been able to observe this, but we saw it several times; the seals would push the school of fish (the dark area) into more shallow water, and they would try to escape becoming food by leaping from the water by the dozens. Or hundreds! I never did get a good photo of one of the seals, although we saw them many times.

Along the shore there were more lupines:

With more time before the tide was at its highest, I went as far up the creek as I could:

and then down, before hauling out on the flooded grasses.

My friends the homeowners have made some improvements since my last visit; the terns along the deck channel water away from the house quite effectively. I could have gotten a photo of them doing that – if I’d wanted to go out with my camera in the pouring rain! And I like how the shadows hit the columns when the  sun is right. There’s also a new weathervane on the roof.

On Thursday I headed for home, and will end with one photo taken from along the road – another fish! (A rockfish??) This one is high and dry, not far from Conway, New Hampshire.

Kayaking Narraguagus Bay, Maine

Tuesday, 4/14: If it’s Tuesday, I must be kayaking – but not with my ORFS friends this time! I, with my hosts, paddled out to Foster Island, in Narraguagus Bay. It was WINDY – much windier than forecast, and I really had to work to keep my inflatable kayak pointed where I wanted to go; I was pushing the limits of what it’s designed to do. Around the northern point of Foster Island, there’s a sandy point; we put in on the back side of it to stop for lunch.

View from lunch spot:

A UFO landing pad? Well, no – Matt pulled up a dead tire and moved it above the tide line for later removal.

Leaving out lunch spot. Across the way is Pinkham Island, where we headed next. It’s a preserved area, and has lots of eagles on it – we were looking for nests, although we didn’t see any there. We did see one on Foster, as we were leaving.

Taking off the skeg was a solution to the lack of turning; It was much better following the lunch break when I took it off!

Along Pinkham Island:

We watched a seal riding the falling tide between Pinkham and the mainland; I was focused on controlling my kayak, so didn’t get any photos of it – but it sure was cute!
 
Lupines along the way; further around the point, the hedge of roses appeared.

We settled in the sun on lounge chairs; Tasha the dog was freed from her prison in the house, and was very glad to come down to be on the beach with us!

ORFS at Bradley Lake, New Hampshire

Tuesday, June 7: Another Tuesday, and Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) was out again, this time to Bradley Lake in Andover, New Hampshire. It was a glorious day, and 17 of us were out in kayaks, with another few walking, going around the lake and then eating lunch on the shore when we returned.

One couple has a pair of super squirt water guns; in theory they only spray each other, but sometimes others get caught in the crossfire! When I was overheating, about 3/4 of the way around the lake, I requested (and received) a spray of cooling water.

Fish eggs? frog eggs? Some kind of eggs!