Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Limekiln Lake, part one

A few weeks ago, we returned to one of our favorite paddle spots, Limekiln Lake.  It's north of Old Forge on Route 28.  You'll go through the village of Eagle Bay, and then the hamlet of Inlet. Limekiln is a pretty lake, having a peninsula, three tiny islands, and two marsh/creek areas to explore.  Even with some summer homes, motorboats and a state campground on the lake, the features above keep it on our list of favorites. You do have to pay for a day pass to paddle here since the boat launch is part of the campground.

 Here are the GPS coordinates for Limekiln Lake:  43° 43' 3.2952" -74° 48' 4.2726"  I'm sorry to say these aren't from my TomTom, as I forgot to plug it in!  That's what happens when you already know how to get somewhere, I guess.  Hopefully I'll remember to check the TomTom coordinates next time.  So, these numbers came from Google Maps and may not be quite as accurate, but should get you near the boat launch.

It was a chilly morning-- by this summer's standards anyway.  Again we had morning wind...  in the seven seasons we've been kayaking, we've never seen this many windy mornings.  I'm not sure if it's the overall weather pattern, a fluke that we're kayaking on all the windy mornings lately, or what.  The good news is, each time this has happened, (3  times) we've paddled to a more sheltered area and within an hour and a half or so, the wind has died down.  The ripples in the above photo don't seem to show how strong the wind blew at times, right in our faces.  Around the point to the left is an inlet which is sheltered, and that's where we headed.

Here is a photo as we neared the sheltered area:

This sheltered area with a marsh and sometimes a beaver dam, is in the northeast part of the lake.  From the boat launch, paddle left/east, past a bay where the private houses (and the motorboats) are and toward the three small islands in the distance (all of them are near the southeastern shore.)  Once near the smallest of the islands, which isn't much more than a big rock and some pine trees, head northerly to the scene in the photo above.

A lot more water plants, particularly grasses, were growing here compared to our last paddle a few years ago.  We're guessing the water level is lower, though that is really the only sign we saw of the dry summer here.  With a dam at its outlet, it's safe to say that when possible, the water levels are kept at a consistent level.

As we approached the inlet, we began to see many sets of eyes peering at us from the surface of the water.  I planned to post the photo, but there's no point since it's far enough away that you can't really tell what all the eyes are all about.  Let's just say that there were a gazillion frogs on the thick grasses in this area!  I'll get to their individual portraits in a couple of minutes.

We saw many black ducks, known to reside here.  They have never failed to make an appearance-- either in the inlet or the outlet.   Below, Brody sees the ducks and is, naturally, very interested.

Here are the ducks, having a late breakfast.  I love it when they go under to eat and leave their bottom halves sticking out of the water.  Sometimes they do it in unison, like synchronized swimmers!

As the wind blew the larger clouds away, the bright blue sky and sun lit everything up.  I like the wispiness (is that a real word?) of  the clouds in these two photos:

On our way into this area, we saw a kingfisher hanging out on the branch of a dead tree.  We hadn't seen one here before so it was fun to catch a glimpse of him.  Since we were headed his way, he didn't stay long and flitted off to another tree in the distance.

The inlet is the perfect spot for many marsh loving plants, including the Soapwort Genetian:

And the Pitcher Plant:

Look closely at the plant on the right and you will see a bee on its tip.  Chances are he'll end up in its liquid at the base of the pitcher plant, soon to become plant food.

The flower below is a mystery.  They grow on long, thin stalks, and those that I've seen fully open, look a bit like tufts of cotton, reminding me slightly of milkweed, but without the seeds (that I could see) and much shorter strands of cottony fiber.  The wildflower site I was so happy to find did not yield any results.  If anyone knows what this plant is, please let me know.

While trying to take photos of the many frogs on the lake's grasses near the inlet, I snapped this reflection shot of my husband:

Here are my Northern Green Frog portraits:

Which one is your favorite?  I'm not even sure myself-- it's a tie between numbers 2 and 3.

Once we'd had fun watching all of the frogs, who often stayed right where they were as we paddled by, we headed out toward the islands to look around.  This is the smallest island:

 The largest of the three has landing possibilities, but you need to have good balance if you're planning to get out.  We've seen others land on the rocky side (north) but there is an area on the southwest side that has some dirt and tree roots which make it a bit easier to get out.  We did not attempt it this time since the bugs seemed pretty thick as we neared the island.

Here is a shot of the largest island:

There is a rock sticking out of the water before you reach this island and this is what we found hanging out there:

Certainly not the first time we've seen a seagull on a lake, but definitely the first time we've seen one at Limekiln!  Pretty sure this guy is a Herring Gull.

We also saw a bird that we hear often when paddling and see infrequently.  It was a treat to actually get a photo of him/her.  A Cedar Waxwing.  He almost looks tropical with his various colors, doesn't he?

Oh, I forgot to mention that while we were in the inlet, I was intent on taking photos and floated up to some boggy plants in a group.  It apparently looked like "land" to Brody.  Since we weren't moving and we were up against "land,"  he decided that it must be time to hop out of the kayak.  Yup!  Right into about 4 inches of water.  Luckily, the plants held him and he didn't get anything wet except his feet and legs.  But the wind was still blowing so he was a little chilled from his adventure.  We called him "Swamp Dog" for days afterward.  He SMELLED like a swamp, believe me!  He got rinsed off once it warmed up, then had a real bath at home later on.  

Here he is with the evidence all over his paws  (and notice he's not too happy about it!):

From the islands area, we paddled to the peninsula on the southwestern shore, almost across from the boat launch.  I'll end part one with a photo of this area in the background, with Brody watching his daddy as he approached the peninsula.

Thanks for reading.  And Happy Kayaking!


  1. I love Brody's little life vest and swamp adventure. It's nice to see somebody else who thinks doggie life vest safety is important! My Basset hound leapt into about a foot and a half of thick gooey mud on a canoeing adventure at St. Regis last year. He was just about up to his eyeballs and stank like swamp for days afterward, too.

  2. We haven't been as far north as St. Regis, but I am sure it's beautiful. I can't even imagine your poor Basset in the mud! His ears must have gotten it too! Does your dog enjoy the canoe as much as Brody does my kayak? He is perfectly content for hours when we're on the water. Of course, by the end of our excursions, he's ready for a walk, at the least!