Kayaking the Connecticut River

Friday, September 16: A friend and I went out for a brief paddle on the Connecticut River, leaving from Hoyt’s Landing, Springfield, Vermont. It was a beautiful day – perfect temperature, sunny, and calm.

Then it was back to the landing so my friend could get to work.

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.

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.

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 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 theĀ  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.