Hello and "happy" winter! I suppose I shouldn't grumble... I live in Northern New York and when it gets down to 27 below zero, it's not much of a surprise. That was Monday's temperature at 7:00 a.m. (January 24th.) Our attempt to kayak at Moss Lake- my last blog post- was the end of our kayaking season. Now I feel like we're more than halfway through the no-kayaking season. I hope I'm right! I promised to blog about locations we've been to in the past over this winter but the holidays, visiting family, and my commitments to some community music groups have once again wreaked havoc on my good intentions.
I will try to give you a taste of what will be in store for all of us once the snow and cold temps. have left and the sun is bright and warm, the leaves and grass green....
This is South Pond, looking south-southeast. Blue Mountain is in the background. The July 2009 morning we paddled here the day began with very calm water and only a few boats on the water. Most of the land surrounding South Pond is part of the Forest Preserve or is state land. There are some homes on the north-northwestern shore and the islands have some bare campsites. To get to South Pond, drive north on Route 30, about 6 miles from the town of Blue Mountain Lake. The parking area and South Pond are on the west side of the road.
There is one important disadvantage to paddling here, but we felt it was worth it. The trail down to the water is a very steep decent from the unloading area (you have to park down the road a bit after taking your kayaks or canoes off.) The trail is smooth, but it's quite a ways down to the water. My husband's red kayak is a bit more than halfway to the water (the light color behind the trees.)
One other thing to be aware of is the large submerged boulders. We did not scape bottom on any of them since we knew to look for them. Most, if I remember correctly, were on the northern shore area. Submerged boulders are not that unusual for Adirondack lakes, so this is really not a big deal and isn't much of a problem for flat water paddlers-- I just wanted you to be aware.
We traveled counter-clockwise along the shoreline from the put-in. There are several houses in this area and any traffic on Route 30 can be heard in this area, but it didn't take long for the noise to fade as we paddled along. Here is a photo of the northern shoreline area:
The lake is sort of triangular shaped with a few islands on its wide southern area. Its size isn't much more than 1 mile wide along the southern side, but almost that long from the northern points to the southern shore, so it's not tiny. One of my guidebooks says that wind can be a problem. By the time we got off the water, some waves were forming, but most of the morning it was, if not smooth like the photo above, then just "ripple-y."
The photo below shows some of the northwestern shore. This is where the houses were located. Luckily, thick woods kept the man made structures partially hidden.
Here is a shot as we approached the southern shores. The islands, from this point of view, looked like part of the shoreline to us.
Continuing our paddle toward the south shores of South Pond, we looked up in a tree whose top had been sheared off and saw an osprey nest.
If you look closely, you will see an osprey in the nest. We watched him/her for a long time, hoping to see the fisherman grabbing his lunch. But, no such luck. We were able to get a few photos though, as it flew to another tree and perched there.
Here is one I cropped. It's not real clear, but gives you a better idea of their shape and markings.
One of the best parts about flat water kayaking, other than the peacefulness and the relaxation we enjoy, is the opportunity to see wildlife such as the osprey. We always feel like we "hit the jackpot" when we are fortunate enough to observe animals and birds in their habitat as we paddle along. Even if the only wildlife we see are Canada geese or black ducks, we can't help but smile-- it adds another dimension to our kayaking pleasure!
I'll end the first half of this blog on South Pond with a close-up of one of the islands. We stopped here to stretch our legs and eat our lunch. Next time I'll start with a few more photos of this island which included a campsite near the water.
Stay warm, pray for spring to come early, and I'll "see" you next time for part two!