Kayaking the Black River

Saturday, September 25: A friend and I met at the Hoyt’s Landing boat launch, Springfield, Vermont on this glorious fall day. As soon as I got in the boat, I peeled off the long sleeves – it was warm in the sun! We chose to go up the Black River; the launch is where it joins the Connecticut River. It is the season when leaves are beginning to turn, and the asters are blooming.

We saw several ducks:

and went up as far as the rapids below the waterfalls, where I grounded out and decided that was far enough! I might have gone a little further, but with the skeg on, I was concerned about getting hung up in the shallows.

Back under the old bridge:

and home again. As we returned, it was clear that Old Fort #4 was having some kind of reenactment – the cannons and guns were sounding like fireworks! We could see the smoke from their fields as we approached the landing. This is not a quiet place to paddle; with the interstate and two state highways, there is constant traffic. The munitions just added to it – and made the dog, left in the car in the shade, extremely nervous!

ORFS Kayak Pillsbury State Park

Tuesday, September 21: Another Tuesday, and Outdoor Recreation for Seniors is at it again. We convened at Pillsbury State Park, in Washington, New Hampshire for a gorgeous day on the water. The weather has cooled, so most started off with long sleeves – although many were shed by the time we rounded the far side of the lakes.

We had the greatest diversity of person powered watercraft – three different inflatables, including mine; a serious ocean kayak, a foldable Oru, a canoe, and all the average recreational kayaks. For contrast:

Also, note the wind turbines in the background. It always lifts my heart to watch them generating.

We ended the day overlooking another pond to eat our lunch and visit.

Kayaking with ORFS on Lake Sunapee

Tuesday, September 7: On another gloriously beautiful, not too hot and not too cool day, we gathered at Dewey Beach for time on the water. But before we could go out, the small sailboat brought by one of our members floated off the beach – and away! Kayaks to the rescue!

Waiting for everyone to launch:

 

Then most of us went out and around the lighthouse, then over to the shore to the south, around the harbor and back to the beach for lunch.

The sailboat sailed out and around in our general area:

It certainly was shallow water – pulled up on the beach, the deepest water under the raft may have been one foot!

Kayaking the Merrimack River

Monday, September 6 (Labor Day): One of my New Hampshire friends and I spent a wonderful afternoon on the Merrimack River just north of Concord, New Hampshire. It was perfect weather when we launched, not too warm, mostly sunny. We stopped for lunch on one of the many sandy shores:

There was even a perfectly situated dead tree to sit on! But it was clouding up fast, and it was sprinkling by the time we finished eating – and really raining, with strong winds (enough to try to carry my kayak away – but I had my hands on it and we hauled it up and tied it to that log!) and stinging rain. But it didn’t last long, and the sun was out again.

We enjoyed the flora

and fauna:

We watched that not very shy Little Green Heron for quite a while. There were also Great Blue Herons, but none of the photos came out well.

With all of those sandbars, this is one of the few that is accessible from the road. It is well populated on most nice days during the summer; after that storm rolled through, there was no one left. From there it wasn’t far to the take out just around the corner, on the Contoocook River.

ORFS at McDaniels Marsh

Tuesday, August 31: Another Tuesday, and Outdoor Recreation for Seniors was at it again! Nearly 20 of us were on the water, and another few hiked on a gorgeous day, without the heat that’s made life uncomfortable lately.

One image I failed to capture is of the mountains to the west, Croydon Peak and Grantham Mt. Part of the area is a private game park, from which apparently wild boar have escaped:

 

And I liked the view over the spillway.

Kayaking Echo Lake

Sunday, August 8: I went to Plymouth State Park on Echo Lake with two friends for the afternoon. It was sunny, with increasing clouds, and eventually a clap of thunder in the distance, which sent us scurrying back to the launch, staying close along the shore.

Kayaking Grafton Pond (Again)

Tuesday, August 3: Tuesday means ORFS, right? And that was my intention, to join the seniors kayaking on Crystal Lake in Enfield, New Hampshire. But there was no way to park my camper legally, at least not within a reasonable distance, so I gave up and went to Grafton Pond. It is one of my favorites, and just up the road, maybe a 15 minute drive. And it was a gorgeous day. The water was high – the last time I was there, with ORFS, paddlers who chose this passage had to push their way through. With an extra 8″ of water, it was easy! And I was able to paddle around islands that are often attached to land.

There were loons, with good sized chicks – I saw two family groups, one including a young adult – maybe last year’s chick?

The highlight was sitting, spellbound, as I watched one family. The adults were fishing, and came up; one was calling softly to the chick. (I thought maybe it wanted the chick closer, as there were several kayaks in the area, although at a respectful distance.) It turned out to have a small fish in its beak, and proceeded to feed the chick!

After about 2 1/2 hours on the water, including eating my lunch while drifting, I had to head for shore, so I could make a 3:30 appointment to replace my stolen drivers license. (BOO, HISS!) But I’d gotten my exercise, and next week I will meet again with my ORFS friends.

Portland, Maine

I usually prefer to lead off with a picture – but the photo I took at PortFiber of their well dressed and welcoming sheep had too much of my finger blocking the image! They have a lot of weaving yarns as well as knitting and spinning stuff. I was particularly taken by the line of Afghani yarn, hand spun and hand dyed by Afghan women – very high end and lush, with cashmere and cashgora, in several weights. After I had drooled enough, we went on to

KnitWit Yarn Shop, and they had some really nice sock yarn – which I also managed to resist, although it was not easy! Fortunately we were using my friend’s car; the old city has some spots that would have been tight for the camper.
 
After we’d traded the car for the camper and kayaks, we went out to Highland Lake. The outlet end of the lake is a long, winding passage past beaver lodges and great blue herons, but the photo of the day was this one:

 

I’m not sure what happened with formatting in this post – some things are just out of my control! Or at least beyond my current skill set –