Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lake Memphremagog is an international lake straddling the Canada/USA border between Quebec and Vermont. A small part of the lake just north of the border is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. This interesting water path makes its way from the central Adirondacks in New York state all the way to the New Brunswick border in northern Maine following a series of lakes and rivers. Visit their site to see the exact route and other details.

In the photo above, one can almost see where the trail enters Lake Memphremagog on the western shore near the center of the shot. From there one paddles southward to the border.

This photo was taken at the Canadian border check-in wharf. Paddlers working their way south need not stop at this point and will clear American customs at the town of Newport at the head of the lake. However those entering Canada must stop and call in their information.

We thought we would try the system, but found it not very well suited to paddlers! The phone at the end of the red suspension system was out of reach. Only by waiting for a wave high enough to pass under our hulls were we able to grab the handset cord and pull. Not the best of methods and sure to eventually wreck the phone. Once we made the call, all we heard was static and various ringing sounds, but no one answered...

We paddled on and enjoyed exploring the trail. Highly recommended!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I recently made a day paddle on Eagle Lake near the town of Sharbot Lake, Ontario. This whole area is riddled with small lakes, many of them interconnected. If one wished, it's possible to paddle from one to another and camp on 'crown land', places which are still in the public domain and available to all. The photo above is one such parcel of land and was actually a designated camp site at some point in the past complete with a 'human waste management device' locally known as a 'thunderbox'.

While the lovely campsite still remains, the 'device' has sadly rotted away. It's a pity as the lake made for a delightful paddling venue complete with intriguing bays and mysterious islands. While it's cottage country, we found the natives friendly and twice we were asked in for a coffee!

There are two geocaches within easy reach for paddlers so inclined to look for. What's not to like on Eagle Lake?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Paddling Variations

While visiting Gloucester, MA recently I was treated to how varied even a simple kayak outing can be. I visited Milk Island, a bird rookery. It's really more of a pebble and small stone bar reaching perhaps an elevation of 25 meters or so. It's clear that storms frequently rearrange the place on a regular basis. Even the highest parts of the island had mangled lobster traps strewn about. Vegetation was minimal at best.

Along the way, following the shore, I passed several sandy beaches, some over a mile in length. Other nearby beaches were composed of small pebbles. Why they didn't share the same sand as adjacent beaches was a mystery to me. Between the beaches were rocky outcrops which you can see in the photos above and below (Both taken by Katherine Richmond).

The photo below is Good Harbor Beach, a favourite sandy stretch perfect for families wishing the spend the day at the beach doing all the normal things families do at the beach. I was happy to try my beginner surf skills once again in the mild surf, something I don't ever get to do in my home waters...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I love paddling out of Gloucester, Massachusetts. There is the working harbour with all it's fishing boats, old time schooners and fancy yachts. There are tidal marshes and gushing channels where the tide streams in and out. There are glorious sandy beaches where you can work on your surf launches and landings. There are sea cliffs where waves have been known to knock down houses perched high above the water.

A few days ago, I tried something else just out of Gloucester. I paddled a nearly calm sea out to Milk Island to see the birds. I had a lunch, admired the lighthouses on another island and then paddled back. It was a wonderful day on the water in a wonderful town of the east coast. For dinner that evening I visited a retired lobsterman and his family, who regaled us with past stories. We then chose seven frisky ones from his homeside tank to take home for supper. Delicious!
Thank you, Gloucester!