Work or play?
On 10/12/15 my agenda was to tackle my "list of things to do," translation - work at home. Although I had retired in April, my list had grown as opposed to shrinking - admittedly, I kept procrastinating! I was having too much fun paddling and camping. Being it was late afternoon, 3pm, I launched at the Rod and Gun Club Boat Launch, on Lake Simond Drive. My only thought was that I should have gotten out earlier on this bonus day! The combination of a blue sky, 64-degree temperature, little wind, and the colors of autumn had the makings for a perfect paddle.
The access to the Raquette River is almost directly across from the launch site. The red and green buoys mark the entrance to the channel. The paddle across the lake took me approximately 10 minutes, the wind had picked up a bit, but it was not too concerning. In the channel I met a young man paddling and we exchanged quick hellos. I soon happened upon his three friends, who were paddling at a more leisurely pace, and learned they were from Montreal and enjoying hiking and paddling in the Adirondacks for a few days.Their kayaks were such a perfect match with the foliage, I had to take their photo!
After speaking with the friendly visitors, I turned right to head upstream, still no destination in mind. I was just doing a leisurely paddle, taking photos of some of my favorite sites - Follensby Bridge is one of my favorite landmarks. The added color this season made it more picturesque.
Just past the bridge, I took a shot of another favorite landmark, Waters Boat House. It is old, but beautiful in my eyes.
Of course I am always looking for wildlife; I spotted a Blue Heron in a marsh and paddled over to take a few shots. I was surprised as it was so cooperative. It even remained in the same spot as I resumed my paddle up the river.
At the 'Y' intersection, I decided to stay to the left and paddle around the loop. At the Wild Center viewing platform, I chatted with a couple of moms and four children from Saratoga. The older boy, who stated he was 9, inquired about my kayak and asked if there was a place where he could rent one. Of course, I referred him to Raquette River Outfitters. Both he and his Mom indicated they were anxious to return to Tupper Lake next summer to experience paddling.
In the loop, known as the Oxbow, I came across some Canadian Geese. I know none of us like what they invariably leave behind - those horrible droppings! However, I love capturing wildlife, so I took their photo. They weren't as cooperative as the heron (or the two groups of people) I had just met.
After doing the loop I headed up river and it was at that point that I decided to paddle to the Crusher. Near the only residential section (River Road) there are rocks in the river. The rocks are very visible, but to be sure I didn't damage my 'yak, I stayed between the red and green buoys. If I had encountered a motor boat, I would have moved outside the buoys to allow them to pass. I did not meet a motor boat or any boats in this section - in fact I only met one motorboat on this entire trip. Once beyond the residential area, I moved back to the right side of river, just like driving a car you should stay to your right.
Missed a great shot!
Out of the corner of my eye I saw something on the right river bank, I stopped to get a better look, it was an adult deer lying down. I had to back up in order to get a photo. While doing so, a small deer came loping in to the adult. I stopped and it stopped; being I was still not in a good position to take a photo I moved again. As I was getting into position the young deer crouched down, stretched his neck and head out my way, and again stared at me. It was as if it was saying, "What to heck is that!" Unfortunately, I did not get a shot of it crouching and staring at me, but I did get one of both of them dashing away. I see deer all the time in my yard and in my travels, but it is special to see them on the riverbank when paddling.
Race to the finish!
I began to wonder, could I make it to the Crusher and get back before dark. Living up to a nickname a friend once gave me "the determinator," I paddled on! Finally I reached my destination at 5:15pm, two and 1/4 hours paddle upstream! If it took 2 1/4 back it would be 7:30! I would be paddling in the dark - not good! Going downstream is a little faster, but not that much faster, I had wanted to be off the water by 6 pm! No time to take photos on the return to my launch site, I had to put the pedal to the metal or in this case paddles in fast motion!
Periodically I checked my time and then I would paddle even faster! Once on Lake Simon, I felt a sense of relief and managed to get my last shots of being on the water, probably for the season, unless we are lucky enough to get another bonus day! What a beautiful night! The sky was gorgeous and the reflection of the clouds made the late-day paddle and return entirely worth it! The Bonus Day of 2015 ended with a Grand Finale!