Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Three Generations in a Canoe

This past Sunday, we had my father and my great-aunt over for lunch and during lunch, both my father and I were looking out the window at the beautiful weather and discussing what a nice day it would be to go for a paddle. It was looking a bit breezy and cool, but after the rain that we've had of late, it was looking like a fantastic day by comparison.

After lunch and the clean-up that followed, I asked DS if he'd like to go for a padde with his Grampa. The response was wordless bouncing up and down in the kitchen. We grabbed paddles, life jackets and headed out the door.

Paddling with my dad can be an adventure - you have to decide which canoe from the livery that you're going to bring and where you want to go. Because it was nearly three in the afternoon, we opted for the easiest canoe to get at (A Wabnaki to Gil Gilpatrick's design) and the nearest destination - a pond in a local conservation area. This particular trip was planned with DS in mind - it's an easy walk in on a paved path and a boardwalk to a dock. (These are intended to give access to people visiting in a wheelchair.) We take advantage of the path and boardwalk by using a canoe cart to wheel the boat in - only about a 1/4 mile, but it beats portaging.

There are usually lots of things to see at this pond. There are usually frogs and turtles along the bank, dragonflies, beaver, red-winged blackbirds, herons and on occasion, hawks. Cat-tails grow in abundance along with lily pads, pickrel weed and water shield. In the spring, there are wild iris growing along the edges which are quite spectacular.

I hadn't been paddling at this particular place in two years and was astonished at how overgrown it was with vegetation and algae. Nearly 1/2 of the acreage of the pond was covered. There were spots you felt that you could just get out of the canoe and walk across the surface of the pond weeds to get to shore. It made for some difficult paddling in areas, but it was well worth it. The breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay and wasn't too strong for paddling. We did see a beaver making a hasty exit and some type of large bird of prey (osprey?) but no herons or hawks. Candian geese and mallard ducks were playing hide-and-seek in the tall grass along the water's edge.

It was a wonderful day and DS had a blast, although he didn't stop talking and asking questions the entire time. I'm sure we missed a bit of the more timid wildlife because of it, but it was OK. Next time , it'll be DD's turn for a three-generation paddle!


Almost American said...

Hah! At least no one capsized this time!

Canoez said...

To be quite honest, you would _not_ have wanted to be in the water. It was probably a better location for bog snorkeling than for canoeing.

Hmmm... Perhaps we're due for a bog snorkeling post...