Monday, June 29, 2015

Back on Waldo

Heron on a Stump
Day 6 (6/29/15)

Last year we never made it out to Waldo flowage so it was about time to check out one of our favorites kayaking spots. We had to babysit in the morning so as soon as his parents picked him up we had a quick lunch and hit the road. We had been out on the bike trail in the morning and the wind had been very still but when we got to the flowage we noticed that it had picked up quite a bit. It would be at our backs going out which means coming back in when you are already tired is going to be a bummer. We figured it was worth a try. Shortly after taking off we scared up a blue heron but weren’t able to get a picture of it. We saw it land however so we slowly made our way toward it. It turned out that it had landed on a stump in the middle of the flowage so sneaking up on it wasn’t an option. I did get a couple of picture with the telephoto but it’s not the same as getting up close and personal. Waldo would be an almost perfect kayaking lake if it wasn’t so shallow and mucky. This time of the year there tends to be a lot of slime on the top. That all changes once you get up into the river though. As the water gets deeper and cooler it gets almost totally clear and you can see the rocky bottom. At this point the trees move right up to the edge and form a primeval setting that makes you imagine a land before modern civilization took over. It was here that we came across the Heron once again. He manage to escape getting his photo taken again but gave us a thrill watching him make his way up the narrow tunnel between trees. About a half mile up river you come to a bridge that in the past marked the end of the road. This year however somebody had done some stream improvement and we were able to go maybe two hundred yards farther. It is always thrilling going back down river. Everything comes at you a little faster on the way back down. It is by no means white water but with large submerged rocks and tree branch arches you have to be ready to move quickly. Once we were back down to the flowage as expected the wind was in our face with a vengeance. I tried to stop a couple of times to take pictures and without forward momentum you were soon sideways and going backwards. It had been great trip up until this part but now it was just a forced march back to the car.
Heading up to the River

Starting up the River

Up River

Eileen

Approaching  the Bridge

Under the Bridge

Monday, June 22, 2015

Two for One

Throwing sand
Day 5 (6/18/15)
Our plan had been to get up and head to Mauthe Lake for some kayaking but as we were getting ready our son called and asked if we would be interested in going hiking with his family at Harrington beach. We decided we would try to do both so we could spend some time with our grandson, Wade. It was a great day for a hike. The weather was cool but not cold and there was a slight wind to keep the mosquitoes at bay. We started out around the quarry lake. Wade is almost two now and gets very excited about any kind of exploring. He would prefer to walk the whole thing but for safety sake, especially around the lake, he had to be in his stroller. There were a lot of fish close to shore so you could see them swimming around which thrilled him. It is just fun seeing things through the eyes of a two year old. After we made the loop around the lake we headed for the beach. At first Wade was very apprehensive and didn’t even want to walk in the sand. With a little prodding from his Grandmother he was finally convinced that water and sand were just about the coolest things in the world. By the time we left he was covered in sand from head to foot. I can’t wait to get down there on a warmer day. We got home from Harrington around noon, had a quick lunch and headed out to Mauthe Lake. Last summer we didn’t get a chance to do a lot of kayaking and we are hoping to remedy that this summer. The last time we were there we had come across a narrow entry way into a spring fed creek that branched off from the main river channel leading into the lake. We were hoping with all the water we had been having that it would still be open. At first we thought we had found it and it was impassable but on further investigation we found that it was the wrong inlet and we were able to find access. Once you get a distance up the channel it is like a whole different world. It is so peaceful and even the wind seems to be calmer. The main attraction however is the boiling springs themselves. The water is only a couple of feet deep and crystal clear so you can see the hundreds of little bubbling springs all over the bottom. My guess is that the bottom is very deceiving and what looks like the bottom is only the top of a much deeper layer consisting of suspended particulates much like quick sand. Next time I may have to experiment with my paddle. We spent well over an hour at the springs videotaping the bottom and later trying to get a picture of some tree swallows that were flying in and out of a hole in a dead tree. Finally we reluctantly paddled back down to the river. We were slowly drifting down the river when Eileen gasped and pointed at a Blue Heron that was standing on the bank not three feet away from me. Unfortunately by the time we collected ourselves and got the cameras out, it was taking off. We spent a little time trying to get in range to take another picture of it but couldn’t really get close again. It was starting to get late and the wind had changed direction so we decided to start heading across the lake and home.
Walk around the Lake

Bubbler's are cool

A little prompting

Slightly foggy

Patterns in the Sand

Father Son Moment

Cool Flower Any Guess's

Eileen recording Springs

Tree Swallow

Another Pic

Spring

Blue Heron

Love the Telephoto 
video