Our area has received tons of snow already this year as well as frigid temperatures. It's not that unusual, but we've had quite a few mild winters in a row-- now we're back to what is more "normal" around here.
I expected to lift you out of the doldrums with some warmer, sunnier pictures for this blog, but our last trip to South Inlet in September 2013 was anything but sunny! Evidence is below:
South Inlet is one of our favorite places to paddle. It has a bit of variety in the scenery, is easy to get to, and there is a spot to get out and have a picnic on the rocks along a creek which flows into the outlet. South Inlet flows into Raquette Lake from the ..... right, you've got it-- the south! It's a couple of miles from the put-in to the boulder/rocks area which stops you from traveling farther.
Although it was a cloudy day, the forecast was for the skies to clear. As we paddled off, a group of four women were getting ready to shove off and all of them wore rain suits or ponchos. We worried that they knew something we didn't! As you can see, it DID look like rain.
And his patience is paying off, only it's something bigger than a duck...
Mr. Great blue heron! Brody kept his eye on him until the spooked bird flew away.
The first mile is pretty open on the water, as you can see. The second mile, things narrow down and wind around marshy areas. And, the sun is still not shining. BUT it's not raining!
OK, I feel bad that I can't warm you all up with some summer photos, so I'm going to pop in a few from previous paddles on South Inlet. This one was taken in 2009. Isn't that better?
We usually see black ducks and Great blue herons on South Inlet. We have also seen king fishers and a few other birds. On this trip we saw a small hawk of some type. I got a photo, but it wasn't clear. We have no idea what it was, except it was much smaller than the Cooper's hawks (sometimes referred to as "chicken hawks") we see often near our home.
It's a little brighter in the photo below, although the sky still has lots of clouds. Brody has switched from looking for ducks to keeping an eye on his daddy ahead of us.
After several bends back and forth through the marshy areas and reeds, we entered a quiet, more narrow spot. The white stuff on the water is foam from the water tumbling over rocks further upstream.
This is one of the spots to take out your kayak and walk along the edge of the water to the place where rocks and an incline prevent further paddling.
You can also pull up to the rocks shown in the photo below and get out if you have enough balance. There are probably 3 or 4 places to land your kayak in this area. Just around the bend to the left are the rocks and the impassable creek. (It is called a waterfall in some guide books, but I don't consider it that-- it's just an inclined area filled with rocks and the water is swift-- all reasons you can't paddle any farther.)
Here is one photo showing some of the rocks:
Here is a photo from 2009 showing our friends who paddled with us that day. Notice there was foam on the water that day also, indicating a rush of water over the rocks.
And here is a pretty photo, also from 2009, showing the rocky area of swift water.
Because the clouds were taking their sweet time clearing out, we didn't dare take a leisurely picnic lunch. We got out for a minute and let Brody sniff the trail, then got back in and headed back. Here is Brody, refusing to look at the camera!
Just to contrast the weather during this paddle with the one in 2009, here is a photo of my husband and Brody in 2013 and the one below is of our friends in 2009.
Big difference, huh? But we still had a good time on this paddle. There is plenty to look at, and once you paddle away from Raquette Lake and the highway (Route 28) it becomes peaceful. And it's even more peaceful in September since there are far less boats. Some watercraft does come into the inlet from Raquette Lake, but usually only a small fishing boat. Once a Jet Ski flew by on a summer morning, but that only happened once.
This is another photo from 2009, but I also have photos of the same plant from our 2013 paddle. This one is just better since it's brighter. This is a burr reed-- I'm identifying it based on my own research, so if anyone thinks it's something different, let me know. It is a pretty cool plant with its spikes and bright green color.
On the way back, Brody got to see a black duck in the reeds. He quivered with excitement but did not try to jump out of the kayak. He still remembers the time he tried that and ended up wet!
We paddled back with the clouds beginning to break up. It was a little windy and we were happy to have enjoyed the entire paddle without a drop of rain.
Here is what the put-in looks like from the water:
From the road where there are small pull-off areas on the north side of the bridge crossing the inlet, the path goes downhill to the water. It is a short path, may be 50 feet, but there are tree roots, so you have to watch your footing.
I'll end this post on South Inlet with one last photo of Brody. This time, I got him to look at the camera-- and he seems to be a little bit annoyed with me for wanting his attention!
My tag line, "Happy Kayaking" doesn't seem to apply in the winter, so I'll say instead: Happy Kayaking Dreaming!