Friday, September 13, 2013

Birch Lake - 2

The girls were enthusiastic about getting into a canoe. I had tried to get them involved last summer, but with their broken family, getting time to do anything meaningful with them is nearly impossible. With only one brief outing a year together, being able to pass on anything meaningful is even more difficult. Anyhow, we took Buffalo Gal, the 15-ft. Mohawk Odyssey 15, down to the beach to launch her outside the swimming area for what would be the canoe’s maiden trip. We paddled to the northeast toward the dam and up a branch that leads southeast. We worked our way up as far as we could. The bottom was covered with razor-sharp rocks, and the water was very turbid and shallow. The girls had seen several fish jumping, and a Great Blue Heron that played leap-frog with us along the shore six or seven times. When the rocks and depth would allow us to go no further, we came about and drifted back down the creek with the wind. I was trying to impress on them the importance of paddling quietly if they wished to see any wildlife. In this extremely rare few minutes of quiet, some movement in the weeds to starboard caught Maggie’s attention as she silently pointed in that direction. What was undoubtedly the largest beaver I’ve ever seen came waddling out of the tall grass and to the water’s edge, looked at us with no apparent alarm, and slid into the water. As we drifted, we could see the disturbance of the water’s surface betraying the fact that the beaver was swimming directly under us. The breeze allowed us to just keep pace, and we finally saw it surface along the shore to port, and probably only 18-feet away. It continued ahead of us, resurfaced again ahead, and then just swam on the surface for some time.

The girls in the Mohawk Odyssey 15 for its maiden trip.
Three hours was about as much time as the girls could spend being still, so after a short break and leg-stretch on shore, we headed back to our put-in, loaded the canoe, and climbed up the hill to our campsite for lunch. In all, it had been a very successful outing. The girls got to see something unusual, and I found myself happy both with them and the handling of the new canoe.

Jean and the girls at our campsite overlooking Birch Lake.
With the swim suits and towels on the line, and the canoes
cabled together and to a tree, it's a sure sign of the end of another day.

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