Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nicks Lake, part two

Nicks Lake is fairly small in size but there are a few set-backs around its edges that offer a closer look at the woods surrounding the lake.  The nature trail circles the entire lake, so you will often be able to hear and sometimes see campground or day-use visitors walking along the trail.  Here is a view of the lake as we paddled around it clockwise from the bridge:

As you can see, the water is rippled.  It was nearing noontime and the wind had picked up just a bit, plus we were out of the sheltered area beyond the bridge.  Here is a zoomed-in view of the boat launch area from the water:


And a close-up of the beach area from the water as well:

Out on the water, I often seem to attract dragon flies.  I have lots of photos of them as they land on my knee, the front of my kayak, or in this case, the side of my kayak which is padded for carrying on your shoulder.  He/she is orange, but not real easy to see against the black of my kayak's padding.  Have any of you noticed dragonflies being attracted to your kayak?  Dick's kayak is red and he very rarely has dragonflies riding along with him.  With mine being yellow, I wonder if the dragonflies are drawn to the brighter color.  What do you think?

The next two photos show a tree that died and was blown down into the water.  The tree grew out on a point at a bit of an angle, and I was sure I remembered it when it was a healthy tree a few years before.  That's why I took these 2 photos. 

It's "bones" are sticking out of the water in this one:

Here is what this point and tree looked like about 3 years ago (but from the opposite side of the point):

Nicks Lake has rocks around its edges that are barely submerged, but there is one rock in a deeper area of the lake that sticks up.  It's big enough to get out on, but unless you're really agile and/or don't mind going for a swim if you tip over, I wouldn't advise trying it.  For us, the rock marks an area where we usually see a loon or a pair of loons fishing. 

We had been looking for a loon since getting on the water.  Whenever we kayak a location where we've seen loons before, we're always on the lookout.  We like to know that they are still there, still having their babies and fishing in the waters of whatever lake or other waterway we're on.  It makes us feel good, even if we have no idea whether it's the same pair of loons we saw on a previous trip.  We did see a loon, but he/she was busy fishing and never stayed long on the surface.  We lost it in the little white caps that started forming, and I never got a photo.  BUT  never fear, I have some great photos of a loon family from a paddle we took in 2007.  Here are a few of them:

If you look closely, you will see TWO loon babies swimming along beside momma (or maybe it is daddy!)
Did you know loons are able to stay underwater for up to 4 minutes?  When they dive down, they can surface a long distance from where they started, making it sometimes difficult to find them.  They are also very good at avoiding us-- we've watched them dive, then pop up many minutes later completely behind us.  They are not only aware of us on the water, but know which direction we're headed and purposely swim the other way.

We were about 2/3 to 3/4 of our way around the lake by this time.  The sun and the sky were still gorgeous and we were relaxing, enjoying the slight breeze and the rays of sunshine beating down on us.  The temperature was cool but the sun kept us warm enough that t-shirts were all we needed.  Here are a couple of photos showing the pretty lake with the hills which surround it:

And here is one of the campsites on the water (through the trees) which we passed by as we headed back to the boat launch. 

And this photo is of another campsite, not visible in the trees, but it shows how pretty the whole lake and campground area is.

I looked to my right as we paddled toward the take-out area and thought these clouds looked like smoke signals over the hills:

The dead tree in the water (photo below) used to stand on a point to the right of the boat launch (if looking from the water) and on top was a huge nest of branches.  We aren't sure what bird made its home there, but the nest was very large, so we guessed it could be an eagle's nest.  Unfortunately, sometime in the last 3 years, the dead tree fell. I don't know if birds have "back-up" nests like other animals do, but I hope so!

Well, we've made a complete circle and are back where we started from.  Here is Dick as we approach the boat launch.  Another campsite is visible on the left with a red kayak at its waterfront:

I will leave you with a photo taken a few years ago in the summer when the water lilies were in bloom.  There were no flowers when we paddled here in September, but in June and July you will certainly see many along the shallow edges of Nicks Lake.

If you would like more information on kayaking locations in New York state as wells as kayaking tips, resources and links, please check out my website "Quiet Kayaking in New York State" at:
www.quietkayaking.webs.com   The information there is more "static" giving you descriptions and directions to locations, a map marking the places we've kayaked, and tips for kayaking, etc.  I only have full info in a few locations, but will be adding more this fall and winter, with my goal being to have information on every place we've kayaked in NY, and that number is more than 30 and growing.  Please also give me some feedback by clicking on the "reactions" below this blog.  I've just added this feature and I'm looking forward to knowing what you think of my blog posts. Thanks and happy kayaking!


  1. Hi Ang! I've noticed the dragonfly "attraction" to my kayak too! It is a blue tandem Mainstream Escapade... and dragonflies have landed on both the hull and my knee while I'm paddling! Most dragonfly activity seems to be confined to when I am paddling near marsh or swampy areas. BTW... just purchased a "new" used Aquafusion Liberty 13 kayak (Have a post about it)and it is bright yellow. I'll let you know if the little critters like the color yellow as much as they seem to like blue! ;-)

  2. Hi Ang,
    I'm new to your blog and am really enjoying it. We purchased our Kayaks this fall from Mountain Man Sports in Thendara when they were having their big end of season sale. Therefore, we haven't even had a chance to try them out!! Can't wait for spring (: I am a big dragonfly/damselfly enthusiast and thought you might enjoy knowing that the dragon on your Kayak is a male Autumn Meadowhawk (formerly called a Yellow-legged Meadowhawk). They are in the Skimmer family and there are many varieties of Meadowhawks. They are the most "friendly" of any that I have ever come across and certainly have the characteristics that you describe. I will often sit by my wildlife pond in the Tug Hill and have many land on my skin. They are also late in the year flyers and hang on until the bitter end of the season when you will often see them on the sides of dark colored buildings soaking in the heat to keep them warm. If you ever want to look anymore up, my friend has a website called NJ Odes. Even though we don't live in NJ, many of the Damsels and Dragons are the same. Thank you for your wonderful Blog. I will continue to enjoy it as we get ready for the next Kayaking season!