Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blake Falls Reservoir, part two

O.K. back to Blake Falls Reservoir and the finish of my description of our paddle there a few weeks ago.  See part one for GPS coordinates.  Below is another pretty view from our picnic spot.  Just to the right, out of the frame and across the reservoir, is the southern put-in.  Also, this view is facing south/southwest.

Once out on the water, we paddled along the eastern bank, bringing us into a quiet area where there was another good spot for pulling out a kayak or canoe.  But it wasn't as shady, so we made a good choice by stopping where we did.  (see part one)  Here is a photo of Brody and I in that area:

My guidebook mentioned seeing lots of wildlife on this reservoir, but we weren't so lucky.  We did hear cedar waxwings, crows, chickadees and sparrows (not sure what type.)  But we didn't see any birds.  I'm sure it was due to the motorboats.

The reservoir has some large rocks that may or may not be covered at other times.  We have never been here before, so I can't tell if the water level has been kept near normal by the dams or not.

As I mentioned in part one, this reservoir reminds me a lot of some NY rivers we've paddled on, including the Beaver River. This is a fairly narrow reservoir, making it only as wide as some rivers in the Adirondacks.  It is definitely a pretty place to kayak, with trees right up to the banks of the reservoir.

We paddled south past the put-in to check out the end of Blake Falls Reservoir.  The map shows the reservoir just ending, rather than trickling out, narrowing in size.  So, we were pretty sure one of the "arms" we traveled down would be an abrupt end.  On the way, this triangular-shaped boulder caught my attention:

We took the left hand (eastern) arm to see where it led, but knew we probably couldn't go far.  We had prior warning by a sign on a peninsula that said "Canoe Carry."  Also, I forgot to mention that we saw a number of signs along the reservoir saying "No Swimming."  I did not check into this further since we had no plans to swim, but it's something to keep in mind if you paddle here.  I wonder if it is allowed at the campground?

Squarish boulders lined the bank along this stretch.

Within a few minutes of entering that eastern arm of the reservoir at its southern end, we could see a dam area with gates and a building.  We turned around way before the area just to be on the safe side.  Although I thought the water would be flowing north, this area seemed to be flowing south.  I know nothing of the set-up of these reservoirs, so don't take my word for it! All I am sure of is that the Raquette River flows north.

Here is another shot of intriguing boulders in the water:

We paddled back up to the peninsula and took the other arm of the reservoir south.  There was a long skinny island in the middle of this arm and before we'd paddled halfway down either side (we tried both) we were met with a sign that said "Restricted Area."  So, our exploring of the southern part of the reservoir was over.  We headed back to the put-in.

 Along the way, more boulders, of course.  But I saw something on one that made me pause in my paddling and go over for a closer look.  It was bones.  If they had been fish bones, I wouldn't have given it a thought-- an otter, mink, eagle or osprey could have possibly stopped to eat on the boulder.  But these weren't fish bones. I am not good with bones, so I'm not sure what we're looking at.  My guess is a red fox or some mammal similar in size.  I have wondered if it was hurt and crawled up or something, but probably the best guess is that a turkey vulture, raven or other scavenger brought it to the rock to eat.  Maybe not-- it's just my best theory at the moment!

One more boulder photo for you, then I promise to stop!

This is another one of those photos that just come out looking different than you expected.  Here is Brody checking out a set-back on the southwestern side of Blake Falls Reservoir.  Yes, it was a bit shady, but it actually looks dark in this photo!  And once more, Brody looks superimposed.  Well, it wasn't in the plan, but it's kind of neat, anyway.

I think this is actually out of order and should go before the photo of Brody.. but we'll leave it!  This is the set-back before we entered it.

And this is the view as we approached the boat launch, facing north.  I just love the way the clouds are stacked up, don't you?

Before getting off the water, I was able to get one last shot of the clouds using my zoom.

By the time we got back, the small parking area and roadside was full of trucks and boat trailers as well as a few cars with kayaks or canoes.  It was about 1:30 on a Sunday and it seemed the warmer it got out, the more boats arrived.  As I mentioned in part one, if you want a quiet paddle, try a weekday morning, or very early on a weekend.  Of course, this is summer we're speaking about.  I'm sure it would be much more quiet in the fall or spring, as all of us who paddle in the northeast know.

That's it for my description of Blake Falls Reservoir.  A pretty place to kayak or canoe, but choose your time wisely for a peaceful day.

Thanks for reading and Happy Kayaking!

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