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!

Kayaking With ORFS

Tuesday, May 31: If it’s Tuesday, the ORFS (Outdoor Recreation for Seniors) must be on the water. Today we had a few walkers, 14 kayaks and a sailboat on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire. It was a beautiful day, with enough of a breeze to kick up whitecaps.

I hope this imitation Victorian has an elevator – it looked like five floors of living space! I do like the tower space, with its walkway.

Workboat leaving the harbor

Kayaking in South Carolina

Monday, May 9, Conway, South Carolina: Today was my first day on the water this season. The Waccamaw River winds through Conway; there’s a boat ramp on it not far from the cousin’s house. That’s where I started out. I opted to go upstream/current and up wind.

The dominant tree along the river is cypress; I’ve always loved these trees, with their knees and buttressed trunks.

There was one small creek that I followed until a sunken tree blocked my way.

And some of the cypress had very sculptural parts.

There were lots of very shy turtles – one small one was shy enough to get itself stuck between cypress knees trying to get into the water to get away from me! I went back and pulled it out, and it shoved itself off my hand and into the water before I could get a photo. Back out on the Waccamaw, the turtles were not so shy.

The other notable wild things were the spider lilies. I’ve seen them in Florida, but not here – they are spectacular wildflowers!

There were several of these little pocket beaches along the river.

I went up as far as downtown Conway, and the parks there, and turned around at the old Route 501 bridge.

This No Wake Zone marker was lying down on the job:

And this fern was growing in its own little garden.

I was out for a lot longer than I thought I would be for my first time out – about 1 3/4 hours. it was a perfect start to the season, with new places to explore, old favorites like cypress and spider lilies to see, and some great wildlife sightings. The best of those happened too fast to get out the camera: a Great Blue Heron flew in front of me – with a snake for its next meal in its mouth!

Kayaking Butte LaRose Bay, Louisiana

November 13, continued: My stopping place, after a relatively short driving day, was about half way across the southern part of Louisiana. Uncle Dick Davis Park is a small parish (county) RV park along Butte LaRose Bay, which looks more like a small river. There’s a boat launch, and that’s where I headed first when I arrived at about 3:15. By 3:30 I was on the water, enjoying the late afternoon sun. One side is very built up, with small houses; the other is mostly wild. There was a lot of bird life – many egrets, a few herons, several kingfishers, some cormorants.

And this cat was watching that second heron:

Catch that moon!

Paddling back into the setting sun made it hard to spot wildlife – or see much of anything, for that matter! But after a couple of hours on the water, and running out of daylight, it was time to get off the water and park the Roadtrek in a slot for the night. This place gets points for quiet; there was little road traffic after about 10PM. And level, with paved pads for the vehicles. There was more light than I like, but I recognize that not everyone likes total darkness, and some feel safer with a well-lit campground! And having a boat launch was a distinct bonus.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 5: Wambaw Paddle Trail

Wednesday, November 3: I drove down to the Francis Marion National Forest on Sunday, spending three nights in the Elmwood Hunt Camp campground. After a couple of days sitting around, reading and knitting, it was time for a little more activity – and time to move on. I launched from Elmwood Landing, about a mile from the campground, and went upstream, riding a rising tide. When the tide was clearly going against me again (and I was hungry, and getting tired after a couple of hours) I turned and went back to where the Roadtrek awaited me.

Launching at Elmwood Landing

Some cypress knees are more ornate than others! But not found in New England, so I really feel far from home.

Even this far south, there is colored fall foliage.

Palmetto – another plant not found in Vermont!
Neither is Spanish Moss.
Southern bayberry, or waxmyrtle – so similar to what grows in New England.

This is where I turned around – looking upstream, then down.

This fungus looks so much like spray foam insulation!

When I returned to the launch, the water level had fallen significantly – I’m glad I wasn’t out any longer. When I launched, all of this mud was covered in water, which was still rising. The level gauge, as I left, read 5.10 feet; when I returned, it was unreadable!

Water level in the black

More Adventures in Northern Vermont

Tuesday, October 12: The afternoon activity of the day was to give our Maryland friends an opportunity to try out my inflatable kayak, and after doing so, they are now on a path to acquire one! Or two. We went over to Shelburne Pond, an area of conserved land, so that all the development one sees along the water are the farms at each end of the lake. Each of them took a turn, and then Chris went out for a longer paddle, while I sat happily with my knitting.

Then we went on to visit Champlaine Chocolates, in South Burlington, and a couple of wine and cheese shops, gathering goodies as we went. The chocolate company has a deserved reputation for excellence. On the way home, we went past a community garden full of dahlias –

the colors of which were echoed in the reflection of the sunset in the windows.