Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Paddling Smaller Lakes

We all dream of paddling bigger and bigger waters, challenging ourselves with rougher seas, larger crossings, exotic locales and so forth. It's part of the thrill of seakayaking to discover that you have what it takes to take on more difficult paddles than you've done before. Yet, there are small lakes that, taken in detail, can offer up great satisfaction as well!

This past long weekend a few friends and I set up our camp on Lake Clear, Ontario and settled in for some paddling, some socializing and story-telling. The troubles of the world disappeared with each stroke of our paddles as we left the launch site. The warm, clear water and the quiet and rustic camp-site became our world for the next several days.

We explored the lake with its islands of crown land, We drifted past the quaint log cabins and the newer, monster homes. We slipped up narrow, rocky inlets and watched the turtles slide silently off their sun logs and into the water. We smiled to see the baby ducks still swimming together now their parents have left them to fend for themselves. Blue herons drifted over the water in front of our kayaks. We paddled to the far end of the lake to replenish our ice supply and then arrived back of the camp with bags of cold water and peels of laughter. We screamed at the sudden wind-storms that turned quiet ripples into white-capped waves, sending our kayaks surfing down their fronts. We felt the hairs on our necks rise when something came crashing down in the night. Was it a bear? Only in the morning did we discover it had been a tree.

At home today, I washed the camp-fire smoke off everything, my clothes, my tent, my dishes, even my water filter smelled of wood smoke. What a wonderful, sensuous memory of a long weekend hidden away from the world on Lake Clear with good friends.