Monday, April 26, 2010

West Branch of the Fish Creek & Gifford Lake, part one

Our first paddle of the season was on the west branch of Fish Creek and up to Gifford Lake.  Finding the put in was easy.  It's not far off Route 13 outside of Camden on Cemetery Road.  The put in is at a state public fishing area, so there's a parking area.  If you're into fishing, there is a nice set of steps down to the creek where you can sit and fish.  Here is a photo:

Putting in here wouldn't be a good idea since the water is deep and there's not much area to balance your kayak.  Downstream from these steps is a dam, upstream is a bridge.  We scouted out the area on each side of the bridge looking for the best place to put in.  The upstream side of the bridge seemed best, but the banks are a bit steep and there isn't much of a gradual bank to scoot in.  We found a grassy spot and put in one at a time.  It worked out quite well, but we're getting better at tricky situations like these.  The creek cuts through a residential area where you put in, but within a half mile or so, the houses thinned out and soon there weren't any.  The day was beautiful-- sunny with a temperature of about 64.  I like kayaking in shorts and a t-shirt, and it wasn't warm enough for that, but the day was pleasant.  Once away from the houses we heard lots of birds, but I was only able to identify two:  Eastern Phoebe and Red winged Blackbird.  Our first wildlife encounter was with what I think is a green heron.  He/she was pretty skittish, but I managed a few photos:

He thinks he's hiding in the shot above.

He flew away when my kayak floated toward him (but still far away, as you can see.)  You may not be able to see his feet, but they are orange.  From the info I gathered, the orange feet are for breeding season only.

And here he is in the tree he flew to, waiting for us to go away and leave him alone, which we did once I took this photo.

Although this was a "short" paddle, we really enjoyed getting out on the water for the first time.  The peacefulness we feel when on the water washed over us as we paddled along, enjoying the sun and the scenery.  Here is a photo of the creek as we paddled upstream:

And another of the creek a bit further upstream:

As you can see, nothing much has "greened up" in northern NY yet.  There were some lily pads already grown and lying on the surface, but for the most part, other water plants haven't started their new growing season yet.  This creek is probably chock-full of reeds and lillies in the summer.  Part 2 of Fish Creek will be coming soon.  Be sure to check back!


  1. Ang, what beautiful photos! And it was perfect weather for kayaking.

  2. Thanks, Gayle! At least the sky was blue... still a lot of tan and brown along the water. You're right, it was perfect kayaking weather. Have you guys been out in the canoe yet? Thanks for commenting. You're the first one!