Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lake Durant and Rock Pond, part one

The weekend was not supposed to be great for paddling and Saturday was the only day we could go.  So even though it might rain, and even though the winds were supposed to pick up, and even though we never paddle when we are sure it will be windy.... we went anyway.  We also talked friends of ours into going as well!

Lake Durant and Rock Pond are beautiful.  I'm not sure you will get the full effect of their beauty in these photos since the sun was in and out all day, and by the end of our paddle, the camera was safely stowed in the dry bag as waves splashed over our recreational kayaks, driven by winds which made the paddle back strenuous.

But the question is, did we have fun?  Yes, of course!  Would we paddle with winds whipping at 15-20 mph (at least) again?  Probably not!

Lake Durant is a couple miles long with a state campground at the eastern end.  There is a boat launch at the trail marker area for Cascade Pond, just off Durant Road.  This is where we put in, rather than at the campground.  Here is a photo from the put in.

This put in (and from what I've read, the one at the campground also) had a nice gradual slope for getting in the water.  The bank was a bit high, but the trail was worn down so that putting in at the water's edge was fine.  We headed toward Rock Pond which is west from the put in.  Here is a shot looking in that direction:

We heard many birds, but I am not very good at identifying them by their sounds.  I know the calls and songs of those near my home, but I'm still learning about those in the places we kayak.  We did see a belted kingfisher almost as soon as we started paddling.  He wasn't diving for minnows, but was flying along the edge of the forest which butts right up against the lake on both sides for the majority of its length. I could identify chickadees, robins and chipping sparrows but there were many other forest birds singing away all throughout the day.

As we approached Rock Pond, we saw the footbridge that marks its "entrance." The guys beat the women to the footbridge and were checking it out as we arrived.

You have to take out here, as you can see.  There is no way around the footbridge, and although we've scooted underneath a few footbridges in other locations, that is not possible here.  We got out on the right and walked across the footbridge.

There is a very pretty but small campsite at the end of this footbridge, just to the right.  (This would be on the south side of the lake.)  Here is a photo of it:

There were some beautiful trilliums growing here.  I couldn't resist a photo:

Here is a view of Rock Pond from the hill above the footbridge:

This was just one of the many rocks that give Rock Pond its name.  Luckily, most are above the water so you don't have to be concerned (for the most part) about scraping your kayak on one that is under the surface.

The wind already had some strength to it less than a few hours into our paddle.  Our friends holed up in a sheltered area as we waited for the wind to die down a bit.  Did I mention that the wind made it quite chilly?  The temp. was around 50 degrees, but it felt much colder when the wind blew across the water and into our faces.  That's why Karen's got her hood up.  Gary is the one waving hello!  I've gotta give our friends credit-- they were game for this trip even though it was their first paddle of the season, the weather wasn't inviting (to say the least) and Karen was trying out her new kayak for the first time.

When the wind quit its onslaught, we paddled back out onto Rock Pond and around a few small boggy islands.  Here we saw some tree swallows flitting around overhead.  We headed west as far as we could go, looking for the outlet. 

This area was my favorite part of the paddle.  It was a bit protected so not as windy.  Plus, the sun came out for a while during the time we spent at this end of the lake/pond.  We got stopped by a beaver dam just past the water you can see in the above photo.  On a warm, sunny day, we would have carried over the dam to explore some more, but the cold and the wind were enough to keep us in our kayaks on this day.

Here's a photo of my fellow paddlers soaking up the sun while it decided to shine--partially:

And here's another. Blue Mountain is in the background of both shots.

We hung out here in this shallow area and relaxed, enjoying the sun, the birdsong and good company.  The four of us happen to have kayaks that are identical in make and model. They are wide, very stable recreational kayaks which we love.  They are not meant for cutting through whitecaps.  They are meant for the type of paddling we enjoy most-- lazy paddling on calm lakes and rivers, and exploring inlets and outlets, creeks and streams at a leisurely pace.  Perfect for the moment shown in the photo above.

Once we head back toward the footbridge, I had just finished saying I was surprised we hadn't seen a great blue heron when one flew from the edge of a marshy area, straight down the lake away from us.  We also saw a few ducks.  One was a mallard drake, but we're not sure about the other one.

One of the prettiest views as we kayaked was of Blue Mountain. 

I probably took way too many photos of Blue Mountain from the waters of Rock Pond and Lake Durant, but not every kayaking location affords such great views in the distance!

I'll be back in a few days with more on our paddle on Lake Durant and Rock Pond.


  1. Hi Ang! From your posting and photos, your group had a great paddling day! Blue Mountain is gorgeous - especially framed against the clouds and blue sky. One suggestion on your blog layout... why not use one of your Blue Mountain photos (I'm referencing that last picture in your post) as the header photo for your blog? You can set your header so the photo is in the background with the title + description in "front." You might want to play around with your blog layout some.

  2. Dad is waving I think....silly :)

  3. Mike,
    Thanks for the compliments on my photos of Blue Mountain. I appreciate your suggestions.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    Dad probably is waving somewhere, but I couldn't see in which photo. He definitely IS silly.

  4. Hi Ang! It's been too "quiet" with your kayaking lately! Time for some new posts?

  5. Mike,
    Kayaking hasn't been "quiet," but blogging has... expected to write twice weekly all year, but "life" sometimes gets in the way. Hope to be back to blogging soon. I have lots of photos and experiences to share, but our son's wedding, subsequent family visits, and my involvement in 4 different community music groups (not to mention working full time) has boggled up my blogging but good! (how's that for a tongue twister?)