Friday, April 29, 2011

Across The Lake

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was looking forward to paddling across Lake Champlain from the Vermont side to the New York side.  Near us, the New York side of the lake rises hundreds of feet.  The cliffs are home to falcons, and after a lot of rain, covered in waterfalls.  The lake has little boating on it this time of year.  It  is a great time to explore the cliffs and take in the wildlife.

Though we have had a lot of storms and rain the last few weeks, the winds were light today.  The lake is at record heights (102.5 feet around noon today).  By late summer, it will be 6 or 7 feet lower!

The skies were unsettled.  I ran into a few sprinkles driving to my put-in place.  I unloaded my kayak, checked I had my spare paddle, paddle float, bilge pump, camera and other gear.  I was off.

I encountered a few 1 foot waves by the mouth of Kingsland Bay, but the wind died down by the time I reached the New York shore.  It was about a 2 mile crossing at this part of the lake.

I stopped paddling and heard the sound of rushing water.  There were numerous small streams pouring down the steep walls.  I paddled south along the cliffs.  In the distance were waterfowl.  Ducks, geese and heron were about.

I saw a heron fly off to the west.  I then saw more herons flying about.  I wonder if there is a rookery nearby...

There would be a small waterfall every 100 to 200 meters.  I love watching the water.

You have to paddle right into the falls.  By summer, they will be gone.

I continued paddling south.  I was nice being on open water.  I like to paddle the local rivers, marshes and slangs, but there is something about being on big water that is appealing.  Maybe it is the ability to have unobstructed views, or being able to just focus on paddling towards a far-off place.  Its very relaxing, just picking a point far away and traveling to it.

Overhead I could hear a falcon cry out.  This part of the lake is home to peregrine falcons.  They nest in the cliffs.

I looked up one part of the cliff face.  I saw vultures soaring overhead.  No, I don't think they were watching me!

I could hear loons calling.  I started paddling back to the Vermont side and ran into several loons.  Their call is haunting.

I was heading towards the Diamond Islands.  They aren't very large.  Just a few large rocks, some gravel and a small lighthouse in the middle of this part of the lake.  I was surprised how high the lake is.  By mid-summer, the 2 islands will become one.  You can see how high the lake is by the submerged trees.

As I paddled back, I could see Camel's Hump off in the background.  Beautiful!  It wasn't a long paddle, but it was full of great experiences.



Simplifying in the South said...

Beautiful pictures! I just connected where you live Uncle Tractor! I just finished reading "The Dirty Life" by Kristin Kimball about Essex Farm, which I think is somewhere near you! It sounds like such a beautiful place (and your pictures are a testament)! Hope to visit there someday.

Uncle Tractor said...

Thanks Laura. We split out time between our house in the Finger Lakes area of NY and the western side of Vermont. We live just a few miles from Lake Champlain. Essex Farm is about 8 miles north of where I was paddling. It is a beautiful area. Thanks for stopping by. - Bob