Where was Spring?
We just had snow on Mother's Day, but on May 28 the temperatures soared into the high 80s! Around 2:15 p.m. I had my fill of house work and yard work, so I loaded my kayak, packed my kayaking gear, and headed to the Rod and Gun Club boat launch off Simond Pond Road.
Simond Pond Road is off Route 30, just south of the village. (Note: The pond and road have different spellings, Simond and Simon.) Anyhow, the launch is ideal for a quick paddle, as it is close to town and there is ample parking in the dirt and grassy lot. It appears that the lot will soon be gravel, as a huge pile of gravel now occupies the parking area, but there is still plenty of room for parking and you can still unload right next to the shoreline. From this launch site you can also access the Raquette River and Tupper Lake, which have plenty of state land with many camping sites, hiking trails, and, from what I hear, great fishing.
Being that I was out for a short paddle I headed to Simon. I haven't paddled around the pond in awhile, although I have crossed it many times to access the Raquette River. After I launched I decided to paddle the perimeter of the pond, so I headed to my right, along the shoreline. I was in no hurry -- my goal was to enjoy the beautiful day and, as always, get some wildlife shots. The land surrounding Simon Pond is privately owned, so it's not a place to paddle if you need to get out and stretch often. I paddled along, viewing the lakefront homes and seeing what is currently on the real estate market. Within a few minutes I spotted a house on the market, listed with LaValley Real Estate, and I spotted a family of Canada Geese that were also checking out the shoreline.
Fun for everyone!
A couple of local residents were also out enjoying a paddle and others were on pontoon boats, fishing boats, and motorboats, one of which was pulling a waterskier. Being a holiday weekend it was a little busier than normal, but not what I'd call crowded. I continued along the shoreline and spotted another home on the market, this one listed with Gillis Realty. I guess you have probably figured out I would love to own a waterfront home. Looking at the local real estate websites is a favorite pastime on rainy days!
Passage around the island
As you near the southern end of the pond it narrows near an island. I was on the right side of the island, which is normally not accessible by motor boats unless the water is extremely high. The passage is shallow and rocky on this side, so I moved more to the left and paddled between the rocks. After passing the rocks, I moved back to the right shoreline. Simond Pond Road does not continue all the way around the pond, so in this back area, which almost appears to be a separate pond, there are only a couple of docks and a small boathouse. These camps are accessible by boat, and you feel as though you are in the wilderness. If your are in a motorboat you can access this area on the other side of the island.
I continued to paddle south, checking out the marshy areas and hoping to see some wildlife. I eventually got stuck in mud -- so much for that adventure! On the eastern side, I again attempted to get to the southern tip but started to bottom out again, so I gave up my attempt. I moved back to the other side of the pond to check out the biggest island on the pond. It had signs posted that read "Protected Natural Area, Open for Educational, Recreational and Scientific Use..." Being that the rough shoreline was not Kevlar friendly, I decided not to investigate the island.
Near this island is another small island where the water is shallow enough to get out and stretch if need be. It is a little more Kevlar friendly, but I choose to continue paddling.
Headed back along the opposite shoreline I again passed summer homes, but soon I was back to a shoreline of marsh and forest. Near the Raquette River opening I watched as two Ospreys flew by.
Thinking I finally spotted the head and backside of a loon in the water, I grabbed my camera to get a shot. The movement being made by the body in the water was wavy, unlike a loon, which either floats with its head under, dives, sits upright, or crunches down. It was an otter! I managed to get a few shots before it totally disappeared. Not a great shot, but I got one!
As I continued on my paddle I kept watch, hoping to see the otter again, but instead I paddled by a nesting loon! Of course I backed up, kept my distance, and had a great time capturing the moment. It did not budge. I say it, as it could have been the male or female. They take turns with the parenting duties. They also built this nest together and will move the young one(s) away from the nest within 24 hours to a new location after hatching. The incubation period is 26-31 days.
I then encountered a couple more loons, Canada Geese in the marsh, and a familiar head to my left -- another otter! Unfortunately, I missed the shot, as when I went to grab my camera I made too much noise with the paddle and scared it away. It would have been a better shot as this otter's body was much more visible. I know, just like those fishing stories, it was the huge one that got away! But this is not like one of those fish stories. It is true, and next time I will be quieter!
As I loaded the kayak at 6:30 p.m., I was very thankful that I did get some house work and yard work done, and still had a wonderful time on one of our bodies of water with little driving time!
There are all kinds of paddling opportunities in the Tupper Lake region, but that's not all we have! Spend a day at the beach or go fishing, and when your day is finished why not grab a bite to eat at one of our many local restaurants?