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!

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 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.

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 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 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, 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!