Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lake Tom Steed -2

Working the shore features, I was able to stay out of most of
the wind on the open lake.
We drove 133.8 miles to reach Tom Steed, and the lake couldn’t help but be a bit of a surprise.  After passing Hobart as we headed south on Rt. 183, we drove across brown, featureless prairie that showed little promise of anything.  We had about given up on the appearance of any lake as a humorless joke when we saw a small sign telling us to turn right onto E1570.  We drove straight at rock formations until we crossed a railroad, and curved right into an oasis of grass, trees, and miles of water in the middle of Downtown Nowhere.  The park and facilities are great.  The staff we met couldn’t have been friendlier.  While we had the park nearly to ourselves, it is apparently the mecca in the summer that draws crowds from near and far.  For our stay, it was quiet and peaceful.

In protected areas, I encountered large flocks of American Pelicans.
The next morning, a north wind of 15-18 mph. ran the full fetch of the lake creating an impressive chop.  A kayak went out, but didn’t venture beyond the little cove in the shoreline.  A couple people offered the opinion that they didn’t think I should go out in a canoe, but I wanted to at least give it a try.  I played the shoreline and did fine.  Best of all, every time I was able to fall off the wind a bit, I set the Falcon Sail and beat my way to weather.  Another creek, which I never found a name for, enters the northeast corner of the lake, and I had hopes of paddling up it to the Rt. 183 bridge.  The surrounding wetlands give me the chance to see great numbers of Canada geese, grebes, pelicans, ducks, egrets, and herons.  Apparently I was within a stone’s throw of the bridge when I became totally blocked by deadfall.  Along the north bank was the largest beaver mound I have ever seen.  The inhabitants of the beaver condo were undoubtedly the cause of all the fallen wood.  Now, this is no exaggeration.  If there had been a way to get my pickup in there, it could have been totally enclosed within that beaver mound.  That is huge.

Much of the shore was bold and rocky.
When I got back out of the creek, I set the Falcon Sail.  I held the paddle in case I needed to brace, but the miles flew by as I sailed back to the campground without more than about a dozen strokes.  I’m loving that sail.

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