Friday, March 28, 2014

Lakeview Wildlife Management Area, Part 3

Hi and Happy Spring...

Well, it doesn't actually look or feel much like spring in Northern NY, but the calendar says we're on our second week of it, so hopefully we'll see some signs soon!  My yard still has over 2 feet of snow in the flat places that have not been plowed, snowblown or shoveled!!  I would really like it to start warming up.  I am looking forward to a good kayaking season, if it ever arrives.

Here is a photo of the beach are near the outlet to Lake Ontario from South Sandy Creek and the ponds, looking north.

On this part of the beach, there is a curious little cement box in the ground.

Here is what it looks like up close:

I peeked inside and it's probably 3 feet deep total (about a foot is above ground.)  It looked like a great place for snakes to hang out, so I didn't do a whole lot of investigating, but I'm very interested in what it might be.  Anyone have an idea?  If you do, add a comment after this post.  I'd love to hear what you think or know about it.

This is that same beach area on Lake Ontario, this time looking south/southwest.  I think the drift wood is pretty interesting, and there's always lots of it here.

Another interesting piece of driftwood.  I tried to get the camera to focus through the hole but it didn't work out.  This gives you the idea, at least.

There are lots of water birds on the ponds, in the creek and in the lake or along all of the shores.
 I don't know what type of bird this feather came from, but thought it looked such a pure white against the sand.

This is the tree trunk we used for a seat and to eat our lunch on.  The view is looking east, with South Sandy to the far right, the ponds straight ahead, and the outlet nearer, in the foreground.

Here is another view of the outlet, looking southeast.

I love seeing patterns in nature-- hence this photo of the pattern of the sand in the shallow waters of Lake Ontario.

More bright white feathers against the darker sand.  I would hazard a guess as to this feather-- probably some kind of seagull (?)

And here is Brody, doing the limbo during our walk along the beach!!

He was not cooperating with me so that I could get a photo of his face, so my husband took the camera and Brody did not want to turn around for the photographer.  He can be a little bit stubborn!


Although I have trouble getting him to look at the camera, he is at least not afraid of getting his feet wet!  He enjoyed wading through the water, climbing on the rocks.


Lake Ontario, looking southwest.

Our kayaks, waiting in the late afternoon sun for us to hop back in and paddle back.

More cool looking driftwood with the lake sparkling behind it.

Brody, people watching.  There are usually kayakers and boaters in this area.  Come early for less people, and go in the spring and fall if you'd rather not share the beach with many.

Brody has found something in the sand that smells REALLY good.  It was probably bird poop!

After a stroll on the beach, a picnic lunch and some time relaxing on the sand in the sun, we headed back up South Sandy Creek.  In this photo we're still on the outlet, South Sandy is to the right and some of the ponds are straight ahead.


I love the curvy trunks and branches of these alders.  The leaves also look kind of lacy when viewed as a whole with the sky behind them.

Brody, taking up his position as navigator:

Got one more nice reflection shot on the way back to the put-in.

And, for the first time here, we saw a green heron among the driftwood on the side of the bank.

As I've said in previous blogs about Lakeview Wildlife Management Area, it's one of our favorite places to paddle.  There is a huge variety of scenery,  lots of birds to see, and a great place to stop, stretch your legs and eat a picnic lunch.   

This last photo is of South Sandy Creek before reaching the put-in/take out.  It's a pretty spot, don't you think?

Please feel free to leave some feedback, either a comment or just checking off the boxes if you liked the photos or the information, etc.

Thanks!  And although I can't say "Happy Kayaking" yet for those of us in the northeast, I hope those of you further south are able to get out and paddle soon!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lakeview Wildlife Management Area, Part Two

Welcome back to Lakeview Wildlife Management Area.  We're still on South Sandy Creek, paddling with the current.  I love the reflections in the photo, especially of the trees dark branches.

As we got closer to the open area of the creek, the water level diminished considerably.  You can see it in the photo below of Brody.  There was less than 6 inches in the creek at this spot.

But a little farther downstream, the depth of the creek increased.  Brody has actually turned his head to look at me while I'm capturing his photo.  He does that so rarely that I have to post this photo!

Lots of cattails line the banks of the creek as we get into the flat ponds area.

This is what the creek looks like once we're completely out of the alders.  It's wider here and most of the plant life is tall enough that you can't see over it as you paddle.

We saw a lone female common merganser on the creek.  She was paddling contently and didn't seem to mind us invading her quiet.  I recently learned that male common mergansers's coloring is nothing like the female.  They have a lot of white on their bodies with a bold black back!

I think this tree trunk has lots of character, don't you?  I am not sure what type of tree it is, but the knobs on it are interesting.

On some of the sandy banks of the creek (not too hard to figure out where the creek got its name!)
we saw killdeer.  They are striking with the ring of black on their necks.

Brody, as always, was intrigued by the killdeer.  We've paddled on, but he is still interested in them.

And here he is, looking out at Lake Ontario, as we've paddled to the spot where the creek, ponds and lake meet!

At the spot where all of these bodies of water meet, you can paddle up different creeks and channels or into some of the ponds.  There are a couple of large ones, and we are told the fishing is good.

We paddled out on the lake a short while to beach our kayaks and walk around.  Here is Brody being "Beach Dog."

I'll close this post with a heartfelt "Hurry up Spring!"  We are buried in the latest snowstorm here in Northern New York and it feels like we'll have snow in our yard 'til June. I sure hope not!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lakeview Wildlife Managment Area, Part I

Hello!  Does anyone else agree that winter's been hanging on too long?  I know in northern NY we don't expect it to warm up a lot until April, but it will be March in a few days and we are still dealing with temperatures that are more like early January!  I know it's been a cold and snowy winter many other places-- we're not alone in the Northeast.

I felt it was time to remind you all, once more, of the warm, blue-sky days we will one day get to enjoy again!

I have blogged about Lakeview Wildlife Management Area in the past.  It is one of our favorite places to paddle due to the variety of scenery.  You get a winding creek with alders, (see photo of Brody above) a flat area with reeds, cattails, waterbirds and ponds, and Lake Ontario and its sandy banks all in one paddle!

LVMA lies east of Lake Ontario, just off Route 3, between Watertown and Pulaski.  Here is the DEC site which has a link to good map showing the area as well as the 3 boat launches.

Our favorite spot to put in is at South Sandy Creek.  It is right off Route 3-- the bridge in the photo below is Route 3.  As you can see, there is a nice gradual bank for putting in.  There is an "upgraded" outhouse and picnic tables at this boat launch/parking area and room for quite a few cars/trucks.

When you put in, travel downstream.  You can go upstream under the bridge for only 20 feet or so before encountering shallow, rock-strewn water.

We last paddled here in October, 2013.  From the photos you will see, this area had not yet received the very cold nights we were getting at home.  Therefore, all of the trees still had their leaves, and it was a gorgeous day to spend on the water.

South Sandy is shallow in some spots, deep in others, but we had never seen it as shallow as it was this time, particularly in the area where we put-in.  There were places we had to scout ahead to find the deepest water as we were in danger of getting grounded.  Part-way down the creek the deeper sections had less water than normally, but still plenty of depth for our kayaks, and even some fishing boats which we encountered later in the day.

I just love reflections-- especially when the reflection is so clear and vibrant that if I turned the photo upside down, you might think it was the sky instead of the creek.

One of my favorite things about this area, other than its varied sights, is the alders that lean out over the creek.  Their trunks and branches have graceful curves and their leaves are almost lacy when viewed against the bright blue sky.

Unfortunately, in the years we have been coming here, we've seen the largest and oldest of the alders succumb to the erosion of the creek banks during heavy rains.  But, it's still really pretty here, even with some of the biggest, best trees now fallen and carried downstream.

The sun was so bright on this day that I had trouble with my camera-- it wanted to paint everything with a yellowish tint unless we were in the shade. I still like the branches overhead and the reflections on the water.  Brody seems to be enjoying the view also!

Even though it was October, this photo with its sunny yellow blooms reminds me of a summer day.

I'll end part one of my blog about Lakeview Wildlife Management Area here.  Brody and I will be dreaming of kayaking on a warm sunny afternoon!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

South Inlet

Hello and welcome back to my kayaking blog. The last few months were extremely busy.  Life sometimes gets in the way of my blogging!  Luckily, it doesn't get in the way of our kayaking, or at least not too much.

Our area has received tons of snow already this year as well as frigid temperatures.  It's not that unusual, but we've had quite a few mild winters in a row-- now we're back to what is more "normal" around here.

I expected to lift you out of the doldrums with some warmer, sunnier pictures for this blog, but our last trip to South Inlet in September 2013 was anything but sunny!  Evidence is below:

South Inlet is one of our favorite places to paddle.  It has a bit of variety in the scenery, is easy to get to, and there is a spot to get out and have a picnic on the rocks along a creek which flows into the outlet.  South Inlet flows into Raquette Lake from the ..... right, you've got it-- the south!  It's a couple of miles from the put-in to the boulder/rocks area which stops you from traveling farther.

Although it was a cloudy day, the forecast was for the skies to clear.  As we paddled off, a group of four women were getting ready to shove off and all of them wore rain suits or ponchos.  We worried that they knew something we didn't!  As you can see, it DID look like rain.

Brody didn't seem bothered by the dark skies at all.  He is watching for ducks.

And his patience is paying off, only it's something bigger than a duck...

Mr. Great blue heron!  Brody kept his eye on him until the spooked bird flew away.

The first mile is pretty open on the water, as you can see.  The second mile, things narrow down and wind around marshy areas.  And, the sun is still not shining.  BUT it's not raining!

OK, I feel bad that I can't warm you all up with some summer photos, so I'm going to pop in a few from previous paddles on South Inlet.  This one was taken in 2009.  Isn't that better?

We usually see black ducks and Great blue herons on South Inlet.  We have also seen king fishers and a few other birds.  On this trip we saw a small hawk of some type. I got a photo, but it wasn't clear.  We have no idea what it was, except it was much smaller than the Cooper's hawks (sometimes referred to as "chicken hawks") we see often near our home.

It's a little brighter in the photo below, although the sky still has lots of clouds.  Brody has switched from looking for ducks to keeping an eye on his daddy ahead of us.

After several bends back and forth through the marshy areas and reeds, we entered a quiet, more narrow spot.  The white stuff on the water is foam from the water tumbling over rocks further upstream.

This is one of the spots to take out your kayak and walk along the edge of the water to the place where rocks and an incline prevent further  paddling.

You can also pull up to the rocks shown in the photo below and get out if you have enough balance.  There are probably 3 or 4 places to land your kayak in this area.  Just around the bend to the left are the rocks and the impassable creek.  (It is called a waterfall in some guide books, but I don't consider it that-- it's just an inclined area filled with rocks and the water is swift-- all reasons you can't paddle any farther.)

Here is one photo showing some of the rocks:

Here is a photo from 2009 showing our friends who paddled with us that day.  Notice there was foam on the water that day also, indicating a rush of water over the rocks.

And here is a pretty photo, also from 2009, showing the rocky area of swift water.

Because the clouds were taking their sweet time clearing out, we didn't dare take a leisurely picnic lunch.  We got out for a minute and let Brody sniff the trail, then got back in and headed back.  Here is Brody, refusing to look at the camera!

Just to contrast the weather during this paddle with the one in 2009, here is a photo of my husband and Brody in 2013 and the one below is of our friends in 2009.

Big difference, huh?  But we still had a good time on this paddle. There is plenty to look at, and once you paddle away from Raquette Lake and the highway (Route 28) it becomes peaceful.  And it's even more peaceful in September since there are far less boats.  Some watercraft does come into the inlet from Raquette Lake, but usually only a small fishing boat.  Once a Jet Ski flew by on a summer morning, but that only happened once.

This is another photo from 2009, but I also have photos of the same plant from our 2013 paddle.  This one is just better since it's brighter.  This is a burr reed-- I'm identifying it based on my own research, so if anyone thinks it's something different, let me know.  It is a pretty cool plant with its spikes and bright green color.

On the way back, Brody got to see a black duck in the reeds.  He quivered with excitement but did not try to jump out of the kayak.  He still remembers the time he tried that and ended up wet!

We paddled back with the clouds beginning to break up.  It was a little windy and we were happy to have enjoyed the entire paddle without a drop of rain.

Here is what the put-in looks like from the water:

From the road where there are small pull-off areas on the north side of the bridge crossing the inlet, the path goes downhill to the water.  It is a short path, may be 50 feet, but there are tree roots, so you have to watch your footing.

I'll end this post on South Inlet with one last photo of Brody.  This time, I got him to look at the camera-- and he seems to be a little bit annoyed with me for wanting his attention!

My tag line, "Happy Kayaking" doesn't seem to apply in the winter, so I'll say instead:  Happy Kayaking Dreaming!