Paddle # 25….heading out at 0900 ( late for us!), on a clear, sunny fall day. 48 degrees air temperature, no wind, foliage well past peak—yet not a single other person or boat on the water. What a delight!
The lack of wind, and lack of powerboats enabled us to paddle freely and explore some areas we avoid during the summer season. The dogs were relaxed, and even got to romp when we put in for a break at the off-season beach.
There were no loon, herons, or eagles…just a lot of seagulls and blue jays….maybe those wonderful birds know something we don’t…in a few weeks we’ll be into Shivery Season, and we’ll be snowshoeing and skijoring. But for now, we enjoyed a placid morning on the water, taking in the remnants of foliage, and checking out remote campsites not visible when the trees are green.
This paddling season has seen us progress from a very short,tentative excursion introducing Edgar to the old heavy OT Discovery boat…to multi-hour day trips and canoe camping in our lightweight kevlar Swift canoe.
I am fortunate to have 3 of the best paddling buddies anyone could ask for. As we put the canoe to bed for the winter, we have many great memories to keep us warm on the frigid winter days ahead…and great anticipation of the first time we get the hull wet in the spring!
We have been fortunate this past year, in that we have faced very little in terms of adverse weather, or paddling conditions. This weekend was our final canoe/camping trip of the year. Though we only made it as far as 24 paddling excursions, we have the possibility of one more paddle, if the air and water temperatures don’t start to plummet.
We took the paddle pups to a new ( for us) campground…small, on a small lake, in New Hampshire. Very different in terms of geology and flora from our home areas, and a nice change. The colors were a bit past peak, but nicely noted, against the grey sky.
We managed to get in an easy afternoon paddle, and even a bit of solo practice. The dogs were relaxed ( more likely tired, as they had been to a sled dog fair that morning), and we realized we have almost taken for granted how good their boat behavior has become. We did have a near catastrophe when a shore dog suddenly bolted out, barking up a storm…we had our two dog suddenly bolt upright, looking for the source of the commotion…but all is well, and control was maintained.
A shore hike took the place of an evening paddle. Unfortunately, our plans for sunrise paddling were washed away ( along with most of the leaves on the trees) by a windy rain, which arrived 8 hours before the forecast had indicated. We managed to get the car loaded in the pouring rain, didn’t leave any gear behind, and selected a preferred site for our return next season!
An unseasonably warm ( 70’s) late fall afternoon…foliage still hanging on to the trees, light fading…a weekday paddle, taking advantage of the lingering paddling weather.