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 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 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.

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 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!

Pulling Water Chestnut, Mattabesset River

A pack of paddlers showed up for the first of the season water chestnut pull in Middletown, Connecticut. The plants are small this time of year – and tender, making it harder to get the root and the seed so that they don’t regrow. These plants have the potential to completely cover an area, shading out the local plants. But we bagged a bunch, while also enjoying the ospreys fishing, the great blue herons,

the mallards, and swans with their cygnets

and some turtles.

It was hot and sunny, a good day to be on the water. Pulling these plants was easier before the wind came up, but even then one could make it work to advantage, letting the wind push the boat down onto some plants, then grabbing and pulling – gently!

Kayaking Knapp Pond I

Sunday, May 16: A friend and I went out for an evening paddle so that she could try out her new sit-on-top kayak.

Like the day before on Knapp Pond II, it was a beautiful day. There weren’t as many turtles that late in the day, but still quite a few.

These violets were not quite as tiny as the ones on Long Pond in New York, but almost.
And seeing painted trillium is always a treat – it doesn’t grow on my land.

Kayaking Knapp Pond II

From the far end of the pond – note the beaver lodge.

Saturday was a glorious day, and I spent a couple of hours of it on this pond. Before I even launched, I could see a turtle and a goose – and it was a day for turtles!

Nearly every log and stump had at least one turtle – sometimes as many as seven! I didn’t get a photo of the four that swam under my boat – or the very large snapping turtle swimming. It dove when I got close enough to see that it was at least 15 inches across, and pulled out the camera.

There was also a lively goose family:

There were at least six little fluff balls, although not all of them were all visible at the same time.

There was also this pair of ducks – probably Common Mergansers, based on the bright orange bills and legs:

That’s as far as the boat will go –
And this pair of mallards was hanging out when I went back to the boat ramp.

Kayaking Herricks Cove, Vermont

Thursday, September 3: On my way in the dirt road that leads to Herrick’s Cove, these fawns greeted me. Well, that’s a little strong – they departed briskly when I stopped to take photos!

This cove is nestled in behind where the Williams River joins the Connecticut River. This late in the year, it has lots of water lilies and lily pads, and pickerel weed patches.

Where the highway crossed the Williams River, they are replacing a very high bridge – with lots of cranes to help.

That’s the view up the Williams River; here’s the view south on the Connecticut River.

It’s hard to believe the wind was that still in the late morning! There was wildlife as well – I chose that cove because it often has lots of herons and egrets, but I had to paddle out into the Connecticut to see even one heron.

And then it was back into the cove

where grabbing this root mass made it much easier to exit the kayak!