Monday, January 23, 2017

South on Lake Steed

The Falcon Sail making easy work of the south end of the lake.
(Kayak & canoe sails at

For the next day, the wind had gone east at 5-8 mph, so I set the Falcon Sail and made a leisurely paddle/sail to the west.  Instead of the variety of birds I saw yesterday, this part of the lake seems to be the domain of pelicans.  I paddled gently. Someone experienced with the sail could have gotten more out of it, but I was being conservative and hugging the shore. I still got a good boost from the sail while hitting 4 mph in total comfort.  This was great, because paddling in open water in the fall means being on the lake pretty much alone.  I’m still not entirely at one with the sail, and swamping or capsizing in the cold water could be a problem.

Just chillin'.

The goal was to paddle the circumference of the lake, but this became difficult since the northwest quadrant of the western arm of the lake was made up of stump fields.  I did go in among the dead stands far enough to get a picture of a couple fishermen tied to a stump.  He was a local fishing guide, and offered some interesting background on the lake.  We had been having severe drought for a decade that had dried up many of the lakes.  I asked how Tom Steed Lake had been affected.  He said, “Oh, there was no water in here at all except right down the creek channel and a puddle in the middle.  This whole area around here where you’re paddling (as he made a sweeping gesture around the lake with his arm) could all be driven with a pickup truck.”

It's always good to call ahead for reservations.

Flies have been especially bad this year.  It may have to do with dried vegetation being soaked for the first time in years.  For the last two months, they have reached unbelievable populations.  But, if you have a pet lizard and need to harvest a good supply of flies for it, pan-frying fish will do it.  This drew so many bugs that the screens in all the windows and the door were so densely covered that we didn’t dare open a door.  Even then, those that did manage to find a way in kept us busy with the swatter.

Wetting fishing lines in the stump field.

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