Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sokokis Lake, Limerick, ME

Body of Water: Sokokis Lake, Limerick, ME [Maine Gazetteer Map 4, E3] 

Directions: From Portland take Rt. 25 through Westbrook, Gorham, and through Standish into Limington.  Once in Limington turn Left onto Rt. 11 and drive 7 miles.  The public boat launch will be on your right.  (If you put 174 Washington St. Limerick, ME  04048 into your GPS you will get there!) 

Boat launch: There is a cement ramp that goes into the water.  


Parking: There is a generous parking area for several vehicles with parking designated for boaters & anglers. 

Fees:  None

Bathroom: There is a porta potty! 

Notes: 
The weather was supposed to be cloudy today with chance of showers.  I debated about getting on the water or not, and after seeing some social media posts from yesterday where people got out despite the weather, I decided to not let the weather get in the way.  I looked at the map and found Sokokis Lake which is next to Pickeral Pond.  I pulled over at Pickeral Pond, but decided it looked a little smaller than I wanted and decided to keep driving to Sokokis Lake.  

Sokokis Lake has a sign at the launch site that tells people which direction to travel, counterclockwise.  There are two sections of the lake, the smaller section is where the public launch site is located.  Both sections ask boats to travel in the same direction, counterclockwise. 


 This lake is well developed.  It is a busy place.  The locals use the water well.  I saw several power boats pulling kids/teens on inflated tubes or wakeboards. 
 Not long after being on the water it began sprinkling.  I paddled close to shore to stay under the trees and found some blueberries. 


There were very few places to explore that were not lined with homes, but there were small pockets of places to explore.  


It rained pretty hard at one point.  (I had a rain coat and found some large trees to hide under until it let up) 

And found a coupe of ripe blueberries (good size!)  to sample!  


The rain made bubbles in the water...

This was looking back at the small part of the lake...


This was the passageway to the bigger part of the lake..


I went by this area, and researched it when I got home.  This is a public beach area, located on Washington Street.   I did not get out and look at the area too closely, but there were a couple of picnic tables there.  This may be a good alternate launch site if the other site is busy, but I am not sure if there would be any fees or not. 





There were a few islands to paddle around in the bigger part of the lake.  Be forewarned... if there are motorboats going around the big part of the lake, they make decent size waves and despite my staying close to the shore, at one point a water skier was within 20 feet of me.  (I was not happy about that!)   



 It was at that point where I was debating whether or not I was a fan of Sokokis Lake.  With little uninhabited shores, and with every nook seemingly filled with boats/camps, I didn't feel like there was much to explore. 

Then I decided to check out this island...which was pretty cool... (and provided a little protection from the circling speedboat..)  


I saw a couple of loons here.  I was surprised about seeing them because there was so much boat traffic.  At one point this guy surfaced within 5 feet of my kayak, too close.  It was shortly after one of the boats had gone by and I wonder if it was a bit disoriented.  It quickly dove again. 


I then noticed another small channel... and wondered if it, like the rest, would not go far and would be lined with camps.   This flag was pretty cool.  I am not sure if it was there because it is always there or if it was put up for the 4th of July, but it was a big flag. 






The rain left lots of raindrops on the small lily pads...


I like how they look...

I was glad I went further in to this final channel... it turns out you can paddle quite far back here, and it is beautiful and peaceful.  I would expect that there would be a lot of wildlife here in early mornings or late evening.  


It looked like this was just an open area of water, but keep paddling... it curves around and keeps going for a bit...



Until you get to this dam... (Notice the duck swimming above the dam.)  

It was beautiful back here... wild roses and lilies added to the charm.  

This is when I decided I did in fact like Sokokis Lake...
 well, I like the stream that is attached to it anyway! 

As I returned to the big part of the lake, the boat traffic had slowed down, and I liked it a lot better.  I remember similar thinking when I first paddled Highland Lake.  I thought it was too busy, but after returning it is a gorgeous place to paddle.  

On my way back this family of four seemed to be heading in the same direction.  I gave them space, but they kept coming close, at one point I was worried they were going to get on my kayak!  I would guess they are well fed by people here.  (Don't feed wild animals, as it changes their behaviors!)  


As I was leaving the bigger part of the lake I looked back and it was a bit misty, I like this picture of the lake.  


 I liked this bench!

This is re-entering the smaller part of the lake.  If you look closely you can see the boat launch.  

Sokokis Lake is a nice place to paddle.  I would bet the locals will be picking blueberries within the next week or so, especially if the sun returns as predicted.  It is a lake that is well used, more highly populated than other areas I paddle, but I can see why people here enjoy it.  I am curious about the boat traffic on the weekends vs. weekdays.  To be honest, given that it was a dreary day I assumed I would be solo on the water, but there were 3 or 4 power boats, a couple of fishing boats, a pontoon boat, a canoe, and as I was leaving a couple of other kayakers were beginning to paddle around.  
I am not sure how paddleboarders would feel here, though I did see some paddleboards at some of the camps/houses.  It is nice to see the houses along the shore being used!

Oh.. and the boat launch is next to Sokokis Seafood... I didn't sample the food, but it seemed to be pretty busy!  

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