Friday, June 15, 2012

Lake Evans Chambers - 2

The yucca is a common prairie plant.  These are just starting to bloom, but can develop a fairly large column of white blossoms.  On the Plains they are often called "ghosts in a graveyard," because in low light they can appear to be floating apparitions. 

I counted on seeing not a single person either here or later at Lake Vincent. I was wrong on both counts. Water is life to everything, and if there’s any of the stuff around, people will come. Pelicans and geese certainly wouldn’t be anticipated in No Man’s Land, yet here they are, drawn by the water. As remote as these lakes are, I was joined by two fishermen here in small boats, and probably a half dozen at Vincent.
This is the reality of Plains lake paddling.  The flat land can stretch for a hundred miles and more, with not a thing to slow or break up the wind.  There is no lee from hills, banks, or trees to hide behind most of the time, and the only protection is if the lake is small enough that the fetch (the distance that wind can blow over water) is small enough to not create large waves.  Plains winds come from a couple things:  by the time winds reach here after being pushed high above the Rocky Mountains, they are now sliding back to the surface and rolling fast; the Jet Stream commonly loops down through this area; and any lows draw winds and moisture up from the Gulf.  Once we have the three coming together, especially with the warm, moist Gulf air, we have severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
 This is a beautiful yellow blossom, but I haven't been able to identify it yet.  I'll keep looking.  If anyone has an idea, please chime in.

One thing that was different was paddling on a lake and looking at prairie with its yucca plants and ruderals, which means rubble plants, which in a few weeks will be bowling across the prairie as tumbleweed. The lake is just northwest of the town of Slapout, and while the lake is small, it had a number of coves that helped shelter wildlife, and it gave me a nice 2.9 mile paddle.

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