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 at North Hartland Dam

Tuesday, August 25: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors went to the flood control area in North Hartland, Vermont. It was a gorgeous day, although it did get steamy – good excuse for a swim! There was lots of wildlife:

There was a family of eagles – two adults, two immatures.

The wildflowers are looking more like autumn.

It’s well over three miles up to Quechee Gorge, where the water becomes rapids and there’s a good lunch spot and swimming hole. About half our group of 14 or 15 turned around, not being up for that distance, or having to be somewhere else, or having missed the eagles and wanting to back to see them. There was a good bit of current further up river.

One of our group traditionally brings watermelon – very welcome in the heat! And all of us got wet, to varying degrees.

It was much faster going downstream – and although it rained for a few minutes, it had a welcomed cooling affect.

A few of us stopped to admire a small waterfall – it’s the first time I’ve been able to make it far enough in with a boat over the sandbars!

Wildlife Photo Challenge, Number 9

Where the Yeocomico River meets the Potomac in Virginia, the trees are cluttered with eagles. There aren’t always this many, but nearly every time I’m there and outdoors, I see at least one. Kayaking I can paddle past a few trees with nests. This photo was taken early enough in the morning they hadn’t headed out yet; when I came back past an hour or so later, there were only a couple still hanging out. Note how disinterested they are as I paddle past!

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 20

Rappahannock sailboat

Tuesday, May 7: Another day, another opportunity to get out on the water in a new and different place! I launched at the same launch at the base of the Norris bridge on the Rappahannock, but this time went downstream. I wanted to see if I could find Merroir, where we’d had dinner Friday night, by water. It was a gorgeous sunny day – and there were ospreys here, too.

Rappahannock osprey on poleAnd a pair of eagles, with nest:Rappahannock eagle nest

I did find Merroir – seeing it from the other side. Rappahannock MerroirRappahannock Merroir signThat porch is where we sat; the views in the post about Merroir are from there. I went on up Locklies Creek, not quite getting to the end. Rappahannock Locklies CreekRappahannock mountain laurelAnd the Mountain Laurel is blooming. Then back, and a tour through the mostly sailboat marina. I wonder if this boat belongs to someone connected with Merroir, or the Rappahannock Oyster Company that shares its space? Rappahannock Oyster boatThen back out to the Rappahannock. And my camera ran out of battery. I was able to get a few more shots before it completely died. A couple of those osprey photos were on a dying battery, as were these swans – I’ve never seen swans here before, and would have liked to get closer for a better photo, but that was not to be. Rappahannock swans

Before I forget again, I should introduce some of the critters with whom I’ve been sharing space – Heaven and Shandy live with Cay, and I spent a lot of time with them, especially when Cay wasn’t  home. They are sweethearts.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 17

Thursday, May 2: It was time to move on – but only after staying as long as I could to help with staging the house for sale. I didn’t leave until about 3PM, so didn’t stop at any of my favorite places to kayak. But I was headed to the Northern Neck area of Virginia, and there’s lots of water around! It being very late by the time I got to the Sandy Point cottage, I didn’t do much more than wash up and check e-mail. But in the morning…..

Friday, May 3: It dawned a glorious day. Looking out the window from my bed in the Roadtrek as the sun rose, this azalea was glowing in the morning light.SP azaleasI wasted no time loading one kayak back in the Roadtrek and heading the short distance down the road (passing the neighborhood little library)SP Free Librarydown to the local public access on the Potomac River:  SP launchAnd out on the water, after putting my shoes (which had instantly filled with sand) in a shoe locker, of sorts:

SP shoe locker

There were plenty of osprey.

Down and around the “Sandy Point”  SP point

The eagles were more shy than usual – I did see a pair off in the distance, but not until I was coming back did I see one sitting. Usually they are more visible; this one was hiding. SP EagleGoing upriver, I had had my sensibilities offended by a bright orange piece of trash. I stopped on the way back to pick it up.  SP beachSP trashOther than that piece of a child’s toy, it was very clean along the beach.  I walked most of the uninhabited length of it, peering over the sand dune to a marshy pond area, as far as we can tell, unnamed. SP marshThe Roadtrek is a very patient beast, and puts up with sitting at a lot of launches for us to return from paddling!SP RoadtrekBack to the cottage, for some food and a shower and a check of e-mail before heading down to visit with Maria and Tim, and their daughter Cay. We headed out to dinner that evening to merroirApparently the restaurant is part of an oyster raising company, so the oysters are definitely not only fresh, but local! Above our table:merroir sign above tableView from the table:  merroir view from tablemerroirNow you know where it is, if you are in the area and want really good, really fresh seafood!

Kayaking Vermont; Visiting Friends and Kayaking in Rhode Island, and on to Connecticut

Knapp Pnd 1 sign

Tuesday, September 18, Knapp Pond I: I had some time to paddle, but not much, so I went to the smaller of the two Knapp Ponds. It was a beautiful afternoon. There wasn’t a lot of wildlife – just a couple of ducks, but the weather was perfect.Knapp Pnd 1 viewKnapp Pnd 1 grass reflectKnapp Pnd 1 rocksKnapp Pnd 1 duckKnapp Pnd 1 reflection

That last shot is of the granite base of the fishing platform, with its concrete top. I just liked the patterns made with the reflection.

Wednesday, September 19: On the road again. Off to Providence, Rhode Island, to visit friends (and paddle, if possible) before heading on to the Connecticut shore for the weekend. Thursday I took myself to East Providence

10 mile stream sign

to 10 Mile River. It probably really is ten miles – but less than a mile upstream it was blocked by downed trees. Unfortunately, I forgot to grab the camera – and didn’t want to get in the way again of the fishermen who were at the launch to go back for it. Just downstream of the launch, just before the first bridge, the route was nearly blocked by more downed tree branches. There was enough current so that threading my way through was tricky, and I kept my eyes open for an exit strategy, as I wasn’t at all sure I could make it back up through. Down stream, under old railroad tracks, the stream opens into a modest pond, which eventually empties into the Seeconk River – but not until it has tumbled over a dam! I didn’t want to do that, so retraced my route – and did make it, paddling with all the skill I could muster to keep my paddle from getting caught on the bridge overhead or the rocks close on either side or the downed trees trying to block my way. If I’d had the camera, you’d see pictures of osprey, swans, the old brick rail bridge, an old and graffitied loading dock, overhanging vines… you get the idea! What I do have, which gives a flavor of the stream is upstream

10 mie stream up better10 mile stream downand down.

Friday, September 21: After saying goodbye to Betsy (who was heading off to South Africa later that day) I went to visit briefly with Rebecca, who fed me brunch. Then I headed southwestward, with a stop at

Alton Pnd/Wood R. signAlton Pnd/Wood R. north

This leads to the Wood River, which flows north, and does a lot of winding around.

It was overcast when I launched, and when I returned – but for about a half hour in the middle, the sun came out. Other views –

Alton Pnd/Wood R. view 3

There were turtles on almost every log and accessible rock –

The river splits, and the left fork ends up going under a small bridge to a waterfall coming from under an old mill:

Alton Pnd/Wood R. left fork

The right branch ends up going under a road bridge, to a waterfall over a dam:

And the river runs down to the pond where I started, which is formed by yet another dam – and just to the west of it is the launch, so I pretty much paddled everything I could without portaging.

Alton Pnd/Wood R. down

Other sights of interest:

How to keep your barbecue coals from starting fires – hang it over the river!

Alton Pnd/Wood R. hanging fire


Unlike 10 Mile River, someone here cuts the trees blocking the waterway:

Alton Pnd/Wood R. cut log

And, ending with the eagle – which I probably would not have spotted, as I was paddling hard into the wind as I returned to the landing. Two fishermen I passed wanted to make sure I saw it –

Alton Pnd/Wood R. eagle

I loaded up and headed on to Niantic, Connecticut, where a friend has a family house on the shore. We met up at a local restaurant for mostly seafood dinner, and more visiting and kayaking – but that’s for another post.


Roadtrek Roadtrip, to PEI with Kayaks

Sunday, August 26: I put off leaving for my annual trip to Prince Edward Island until after the retirement party for George and Charlene, two close friends in Vermont. We were about nine people, all of whom worked together or are spouses, and have enjoyed each other’s company for decades. We were on the screen porch when we watched a young raccoon climb up one of the trees in the yard. I had to get the camera out of the car, and got these of that cute little face up in the tree.

Simone's raccoonSimone's raccoon 2

I had packed the Roadtrek, and only had to add to the refrigerator and put in the kayaks to be ready to roll –

Monday, 8/27, to Rocky Lake, Maine: It was hot and humid, and I felt distinctly damp as I pulled out of the drive at 7:55. With stops at the Post Office, library, fuel, rest stops, view stops, a little walking, I’d driven the 309 miles to Rocky Lake, near Machias Maine,

Rocky Lake sign

by 6:30 that evening. It was still hot and humid, but there was a nice breeze.

Rocky Lake evening

Tuesday, August 28, Rocky Lake and on to PEI: After a good night’s sleep, I was out on the water at 6, in time to see the moon set:

Rocky Lake moonset

It was a beautiful paddle. The lake is aptly named.

Rocky Lake rocky shore

Someone had left their serving dishes behind on this rock:

Rocky Lake shells

Back to the Roadtrek at 7:30, breakfast, load up, and off at 9:15. A stop for fuel before crossing the border, a longer line than usual at Canadian customs, but my only long stops were at the welcome centers for St. John, NB and entering PEI. I was at Justine’s after 393 miles at 7:10, having lost an hour when I crossed the border. I was greeted by three dogs, Justine, and Pat, who’s also visiting. Justine’s Bentley, Dotty, and Blizz:

Pat with her Suzie:

Justine's - Pat and Suzie

There are also four horses in residence. One view from the house:

Justine's view

The next three days were spent mostly hanging out, running errands, hanging out, walking and playing with dogs, hanging out, knitting, and sewing a costume for Justine to wear for a photo shoot with her favorite horse. Maybe there will be a photo of that before I leave here.

Ashton Rd. launch

Saturday, September 1, Ashton Road landing: I drove the few miles around to the local waterman’s launch. Along the way I took this photo of Justine’s farm from across the water:

Justine's farm

Views from the water, in no particular order:Justine's farm, from Mary's RJustine's Mary R goldenrod reflectJustine's Mary R reflection

Justine's, Mary R viewJustine's Mary R view

I went under the highway bridge, and the scenery was distinctly different:

Justine's Mary R 1Justine's Mary R 2Justine's Mary R 3

until I came to where I’d have to portage to get past that tree.

There were lots of birds; I saw cormorants, some kind of eagle, gulls, some kingfishers, and a yellow shafted flicker. There were also the usual great blue herons, but no good photos.

Justine's Mary R lg blk birdJustine's Mary R gullJustine's Mary R kingfisherJustine's Mary R woodpecker

There was evidence of the heron I’d seen fly out of the area, though – I followed heron tracks a good 40 feet along the bottom of the shallow water.

Justine's Mary R heron tracks

Another view of the farm; Chi is the white horse begging at the door of the house.

Justine's Mary R Chi

Returning, the watermen were unloading the things they use to collect baby oysters, and loading them in a trailer.

Ashton Rd LandingAshron Rd landing oyster fishing

And one last view of the shoreline:

Ashton Lndg view

The other major task – not mine, I’m happy to say – was to punch through the foundation to run a water line through to the barns. Here’s Pat, pounding away, with supervision.

Justine's, Pat and supervsors

To be continued – I’m going out on the water with a friend this afternoon.



Kayaking VT, NH and CT

Monday, August 20, Little Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire: I picked up my friend Sharon, and with two kayaks on the roof we headed over to Little Lake Sunapee, where John joined us on a beautiful day. There was enough breeze to keep us cool, but not enough to make paddling difficult.Lt Lk SunapeeLt Lk Sunapee mergansers

Lt Lk Sunapee driftwood sculptureLt Lk Sunapee moose

We rafted up out on the water to eat lunch and take a break, then continued on. There were other craft out there; this one was terminally cute:

Lt Lk Sunapee Wah Hoo WahLt Lk Sunapee skiffLt Lk Sunapee sunfishLt Lk Sunapee paddleboard dog

Pics of John and Sharon through the rock garden:Ltl Lk Sunapee rock garden JohnLt Lk Sunapee rock gardenLt Lk Sunapee Sharon

Perfect day.

Lt Lk Sunapee lily

Wednesday, August 22, Mansfield Hollow Dam area, Connecticut: Having gone to Connecticut to be supportive of Mom through some medical stuff, I had to get out on the water at least once! I could see two turtles as I approached this old stump – and then there were three more on the other side. One was camera shy, though.

The first egret:Mnsfld Hollow egret 1Mnsfld Hollow egret 2Mnsfld Hollow egret 3

I had to go past it to get to the stream that’s one of the tributaries:Mnsfld Hollow up creek

and it had moved on when I came back downstream.

Mnsfld Hollow out creek

But not far – along with this heron, it was right around the corner.

On around, and up another tributary, going under this culvert – I really like the geometry in this photo!

Mnsfld Hollow under bridge

Up as far as current and obstructions would permit:

Mnsfld Hollow up crk 2

Heading back downstream, there was lots of wildlife.

Mnsfld Hollow tree heronMnsfld Hollow duck pair

Then I spotted this grass heading across the stream!!

Mnsfld Hollow muskrat?

Being towed by a muskrat, maybe? Back out under the culvert,

Mnsfld Hollow exit bridge

past these two birds,

Mnsfld Hollow 2 birds

past another egret reflected in the still water.

Mnsfld Hollow reflected heron

I’d been hearing ospreys calling, but hadn’t seen one – until getting to this tree.

Mnsfld Hollow ospreyMnsfld Hollow ducks

And one more tree that didn’t fit into the narrative:

Mnsfld Hollow tree

Friday, August 24, Connecticut River: I’d thought I’d try to catch my friend Julie, who rows on the Connecticut every Friday morning at 7. I was late, and hadn’t thought to ask her which way she’d be going; I went downstream, and she must have gone up, as we didn’t see each other. It was a misty morning, with the fog just lifting as I drove down to the river.

Ct R bridge

I had barely started out when this eagle flew over – too quickly for me to frame the shot, but I felt lucky to capture it at all!

CT R eagle

I’ve never seen caterpillars on cattails before –

Returning, there was a nice view of Mt. Ascutney, as the fog was gone; it was still hazy, though.

CT R Mt Ascutney

I’ve never thought of beaver as stocking their larder with corn stalks, but that was clearly what they were doing. I also saw evidence of this the next day, when I kayaked a few launches north, but I was already packing for the next adventure and forgot to get the camera out.

CT R beaver lodge w/corn

And I may not have found Julie, but there were other people rowing other craft on the far side of the river as I returned.

CT R rowing


Kayaking Lake Massasecum, NH

Lk Massasecum sign

Tuesday, August 13: If it’s Tuesday, it must be ORFS (Outdoor Recreation for Seniors) – but today, with threatening weather, I was the only one who showed up! Too bad – the weather just got better and better, and it was hot and humid enough I was grateful to be on the water. It seems to be the peak of water lily season –

Lk Massasecum liliesLk Massasecum yellow lily

Some of the lily pads are starting to turn, and still held water from the morning’s rain.

Lk Massasecum red pad

I’d seen a heron from the road as I approached, so was looking to see if he was still there, and he was. As I approached, he strutted and preened, and seemed to be ignoring my presence as I drifted closer and closer, until I was only 20 feet or so away. The series that follows is about half of the pics I took – it’s so great to have digital and not worry about wasting film!Lk Massasecum heronLk Massasecum heron 2Lk Massasecum heron 3Lk Massasecum heron 4Lk Massasecum heron 5Lk Massasecum heron 7Lk Massasecum heron 8Lk Massasecum heron 9Lk Massasecum heron 10Lk Massasecum heron 11

He didn’t fly until I had started to leave; I was keeping the paddle low, but when I was a little further away and raised it to gain efficiency, he took off, squawking loudly.

I paddled clockwise around the lake this time, past this bench:

Lk Massasecum stone seat

On around, down the river that’s the outlet for a while, and back to the lake. Continuing around the east side, there were lots of scarlet cardinal flowers.

Lk Massasecum cardinal flower

I’m not sure how one gets into this seat –

Lk Massasecum seat

I used the last of my camera battery to take photos of these two eagles. I heard them long before I saw them, and it was a while before I realized that they were in the same tree. One showed clearly; the other is hiding in the branches to the lower left in the second photo.

Lk Massasecum eagleLk Massasecum 2 eagles