We left off part one as we were just getting into the water lillies of Forked Lake's inlet. My husband is in his red kayak, searching for the main channel.
Once in the channel, we paddled along admiring the bulbous yellow blossoms of one type of water lily and the more dainty looking flowers of the pickerel weed.
The main channel twists and turns through the marsh area. We expected to see a few ducks, but didn't see any at all.
We did see a beaver lodge. I'm sure there were others, but on the route we took through the main channel, this was the only one we saw. We paddled over to it quietly, hoping to hear sounds within, but they were either sleeping or no one was home! Brody listened too, turning his head back and forth. Maybe he heard something we didn't.
With the water being less rippled in this area, I was able to get a few pretty reflection shots:
We were enjoying the scenery and trying to paddle quietly when my husband spotted something in the water swimming through the reeds. I grabbed my camera and was able to snap this shot. He's brown and is right in the middle of the photo. Can you see him? Do you know what he is?
Well, he could have been a beaver, but looked more like a muskrat. We weren't positive until he reach the bank and crawled out, dragging his long skinny rattail behind him. Yes, definitely a muskrat!
Further along the inlet's channel among the marsh, we heard the faint sound of running water. Brody's ears stood straight up as he heard it too. We rounded a bend and this scene greeted us:
The beaver dam was the tallest we'd ever seen. I'm sure they can make them taller than this one, but it was pretty big! It amazes me how well they build their dams. Water trickled from the far left and far right, but not a whole lot. It was holding back a good deal of water. Brody was intrigued by the structure, as you can see in this photo:
We thought about finding away to carry around the dam and paddle further up the inlet. I'm sure, with the beaver's efficient work, that we would have been able to paddle quite a while upstream. But, with the wind still being a factor out on the main part of the lake, we decided to turn around and head back.
Here is a view looking east from the inlet. I am not sure of all the mountains in the distance, but I'm pretty sure of Blue Mountain and maybe Goodnow Mountain. Then back further, maybe Vanderwacker Mountain and the Santanoni Range. Anyone with more knowledge of the mountain ranges in the area, feel free to correct me! I'm using a map to give you an idea of what we might be seeing here.
On the way out of the inlet, we rounded a bend and saw another brown animal in the water, swimming across the channel diagonally, very near my boat! I was enjoying watching him so much that I didn't think to pull my camera out of my dry bag right away. By the time I did, he was past my boat and swimming away fast, but I did get this photo of him:
Yes! Mr. Beaver. Boy can he swim! And we are positive he's a beaver because just before I was able to focus the camera on him, his wide flat tail came up out of the water. As if he was showing it to us for identification purposes. Thanks, Mr. Beaver!
And if you're wondering what Brody thought of the whole thing, he was hot from the sun and looking for a drink. I'm pretty sure he missed the beaver entirely. Don't worry, I gave him a drink shortly after this photo was taken. See his tongue sticking out?
Here is another shot looking east with the inlet in the foreground, the lake in the middleground and the mountains in the background. Everywhere we looked, the scenery was just beautiful.
It was a great place to take a break, have some lunch and stretch our legs. As I mentioned in part one, this site had a picnic table, a nice flat area for a few tents, a fire pit, and in the woods, an outhouse.
Brody thought this was a good place for a walk and some snacks also. Here he is, licking his chops after a bite of turkey:
And here he is, patiently waiting for another bite of anything we might decide to give him:
After our lunch, we packed up and headed back to our kayaks. Brody's pfd went on first, then mine. Once out on the water, we realized the wind had died down quite a bit and was not starting back up with as much strength as it had been doing most of the trip.
This was a big relief for me since paddling in the wind is tough work. I can do it, but it isn't fun!
We happily poked around the east side of the lake on the way back to the put-in, having come down the west side of this southern arm on the way to the inlet.
This photo looks bit fuzzy, but it really isn't. That's the kind of day it was-- hazy and cloudy at times, then blue sky and sunshine at other times. I just love being able to paddle on a body of water with views in the distance. It's breath-taking.
Here are a few photos of an area along the southeastern shore where we spent some time enjoying the rocks, trees and dead wood surrounding an island.
We were almost back to the put in when the sky decided to brighten up, giving me the opportunity to take a few more cloud formation shots like this one:
And this one:
We spent about 4 1/2 hours on the water, including our lunch stop at the campsite. It was a great way to spend our anniversary, which just happened to fall on a Saturday this year. We enjoyed every minute of our paddle here.
We will definitely be returning to this lake in the future. We still have lots to explore, and it's such a beautiful spot that we're already looking forward to the next time.
This is a photo of Squirrel Point (on the left) from the put-in once we got back:
As we headed home, satisfied and happy with the great day of paddling on Forked Lake (pronounced with 2 syllables: Fork-Ed,) I looked back at Brody in his booster seat and he was down for the count!
Thanks for reading and Happy Kayaking!