Sunday, March 30, 2014

First Paddle of the Season

One of several Canada geese enjoying the day, and a
flock could be heard in an adjacent field.
Oh my, what you don’t forget going into the first trip of the season. I started out by forgetting to put several twists in the straps across the canoe. They started such a roar that I had to stop within the first mile to stop the racket. That done, I continued on down to Lake Watonga. The water is undoubtedly near freezing. The lakes have only been free of ice the last week or so, and some hypothermic clothing was needed. I carry my drysuit and Crocs in a separate bag so they are always together. I wear Crocs over my drysuit feet to protect the booties. Well, obviously they are not always together, because I pulled the drysuit out and the bag was empty. I started digging, and they were nowhere to be found. I improvised with boots, but had to go hunting for my Crocs as soon as I got home, and into the bag they went. I guess two things is not so bad after being off the water for a whole winter.

While it was 31-deg F when I got up yesterday morning at 0400, it warmed up nicely during the day. By afternoon it was 70, the heater was off, and the storm door glass was open to allow in some fresh air. What a change.

Unlike so many lakes, Lake Watonga has water.
I had a shock when I pulled down to the lake. There were people everywhere. Fishermen were lined up along the banks like birds on a wire. The campgrounds and parking area at the ramp were chocked. As I mentioned, we’ve been having daily winds of 35-50+mph, but today was calm to 10 mph. Everyone has been locked in hibernation, and the one decent day had brought everyone out at once. One day was all we got though, as we are back in 45mph winds again today. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful day.
Watonga is a teeny lake. I paddled around the lake four times (4.4 miles), and rescued five fishing bobbers from trees and shrubs. Once I had spoken to nearly everyone on the lake and on the banks, had handed out my treasure of fishing floats, realized I was starving, and was satisfied that everything packed in the truck is indeed now in place, it was time to head for lunch. It was a short day, but nice to be out.

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