Sunday, September 25, 2016

Kezar Lake (Lower Basin), Lovell, ME

I don't usually start the blog with a photo, but... this one is so pristine... I must!



Body Of Water: Kezar Lake (Lower Basin) Lovell, ME [Maine Gazetteer, Map 10 E1]

Directions: From Portland Take Route 302 (Forest Ave.) through Windham, Raymond, Casco, Naples and into Bridgton.  Once in Bridgton stay on Rt. 302 as you turn left onto Main Street.  Stay on 302 for just under 2 miles then bear/turn right onto Rt. 93.  (Watch for deer! I saw two near twilight!) Stay on Rt. 93 for 6.6 miles, then turn left to stay on 93 and drive for 4.4 miles.  Turn Right onto Rt. 5 (There is a small store on the left called Rosie's.  It is a store and diner, a very nice place.  Chances are they would let you use their bathroom is you buy some snacks for your trip.  Would also be a great place to have breakfast!)  Stay on Rt. 5 for 2.4 miles, then turn left onto West Lovell Road.  Drive for 1.1 miles, after crossing the bridge (which is very loud when cars go over it while you are paddling!), pass the marina and take your immediate right onto Town Beach Road.  for 0.1 miles to the public boat launch.  Launch will be on the right. 

Boat Launch: The boat launch is very nice.  There is a nice dock here and there is a ramp that goes deeper into the water.  The sand that is to the right of this photo is a bit muddy and I sunk a bit in it when I tried to get out on the sand vs using the ramp.  (I was so excited that it was a misty morning!)



Parking: Parking is before the boat launch, on the left hand side of Town Beach Road.  Lots of parking on the grass and dirt.  I was there solo in the morning, but by the time I was off the water there were several vehicles therewith trailers.  ( I forgot to snap a photo of the area.  It looks like a large yard.  If in doubt about where to park, ask the milfoil inspector.) 

Fees: None

Bathroom:  None

Wildlife: heron, ducks, eagle, red tail hawk, songbirds,  turtles, beaver, reports of moose and deer

Notes:   There is a milfoil inspector on duty here.  I learned that this area is so vigilant about preventing milfoil that the inspectors here are paid, not volunteers. 

My first teaching job was in Fryeburg, Maine.  It is a beautiful part of the state; I like to return to this area a few times each year.  When I lived here I did not have my own kayak so I had never paddled in this area...until now!

There are a lot of places up here to choose from.  High on my list was Kezar Lake...but since it is getting chillier (it was 38 degrees here this morning!!!)  I wanted to paddle in the more protected area.  Kezar Lake is really big, but I stuck to the lower basin area. (See image form google earth below.) I put in where the star is and went south, under the bridge and stuck to the shore that was on my right.  I made it around the corner and paddled as far back in the stream that goes north as it appeared I could and returned to the starting point.  I didn't have enough time to explore the stream at the southern end of this basin, but would love to return there sometime.  On my way back the wind had come up and the wind was going from North to South...which, on my paddle back worked to my advantage.  Had I been going against the wind, I think I may have been nervous because the wind was strong and there were whitecaps.  I was relieved to get back into the more protected area, away from the wind!

Image from Google Earth



I got on the water a little bit before 7:00.  The water temperature was warmer than the air temp and it created the fog on the water.  It was beautiful!  



This is going south from the boat launch under the bridge on West Lovell Rd.  (Remember if you are under it while cars go over it is LOUD!)  

The next few photos were not filtered in any way and were not changed to black and white.  It is the way it appeared as the sun was rising.  It was amazing.  


You can see that the blue sky is starting to come through a bit here as the temperatures between air and water get closer to one another.  



 


In one of the first small coves I spotted this heron through the mist.  It stood so incredibly still that it took me a few minutes to tell if it was a heron or a stick.  

The picture looks a little less crisp because of the fog... look at that yellow eye! 




 
 
As I paddled out form what is called 'The Narrows,' It was beautiful to see the White Mountains in the background.  




I decided to take a selfie with the mist in the photo... 

This was looking back at the narrows as I was heading out towards the main part of the basin.  I love in the back you can see the mist/fog between the tree lines.  


If you want to see a video of what this part of the trip looked like, click HERE . 
I know that people often wonder how it feels, this video will help you get the idea! 
 
 I paddled away from the narrows and into the open part of the basin





This little island with rocks at both ends looked cool in the mist.  

In the basin looking north




As I was paddling I thought how cool it would be to see loons in the mist and then spotted this family.  

This was looking north from the island area where I found the loons.  

The loons were pretty playful.  They came close to me.  

The loon in the upper left is a juvenile.  The adults are starting to change into their fall/winter colors.  When loons go to the ocean for the winter they are more gray and white.  

This is one of my favorite photos of the day.  


The loons look even more iconic with the White Mountains behind them! 

There were signs of fall foliage throughout the paddle.  

The mountains add an amazing backdrop to this beautiful lake!


 This heron was flying and I happened to get lucky to capture this shot. 

In the northern part of the basin there are a cuople of coves to explore.  This is one of them.  





As I was leaving the cove area an eagle flew over.  

I paddled through a lot of lily pads along the north shore to find the entrance to the stream.  As I paddled I heard a lot of buzzing and realized there were hundreds of hornets flying around the lily pads, landing, and I assume eating whatever was on the lily pads that they were so hungry for.  I had never seen anything like that before.  I was fascinated, also a bit nervous with all the buzzing, but they seemed to have no interest in me, perhaps whatever they were collecting was more important.  

There were several beaver lodges around the lake and down into the stream.  I did not see any beavers, but saw what seemed to be some freshly chewed sticks and some dirt near some of the lodges that looked recently dug in or disturbed.  




I found the entrance to the stream!  It was so calm when I first entered it.  Stunning reflections. 
I took a video of going through part of the stream.   If you want to see that video click here! (I took a lot of videos here, I couldn't stop myself!)   

This heron flew across the stream in front of me and landed in this pine tree.  
(I got a video of the heron flying across the stream in front of me, completely accidentally, click here to see it.) 


As I was paddling I saw this one lily.  I think this is the last lily of the season on this part of the lake.  

Stunning.  I just kept paddling through this stream and it kept going and going... 


I eventually reached what I think was the end of the stream.  There was no clear path to keep going.  I turned around and headed back to the open part of the basin.  At this time a breeze had come up and as I said above, the wind was at my back, for which I was thankful!


I didn't stop much to take photos on my paddle back across the open part of the lower basin.  While I was going with the wind there were a lot of waves.  After heading back in towards the narrows I looked back at the more open part of the lake and you can see the water is a bit rough.  (It as much rougher than this photo shows!)  

On my way back I  wondered if the heron I had seen earlier was still in the same area.  It was.  I spent a lot of time with this heron.  It seemed to be smaller than some I have seen.  I wonder if it was a juvenile.  I saw it catch a couple of fish, which was a lot of fun. 


You can see the fish in this photo that it caught. The fish put up a good battle, but the heron won.  

There was a turtle in this area too.  I saw 7-8 turtles while out.  



Returning to the boat launch.  This is the bridge on West Lovell Road.  (From the opposite side as the photo at the beginning.) 

This is the boat launch from the water.  

There is a GREAT wash station here.  Before leaving PLEASE use it to wash your boat.  If you need to use it BEFORE launching, if you forgot to wash off your boat after your last trip, please take time to wash it!  


Kezar Lake (at least the Lower Basin) was a spectacular place to paddle.  It had beautifully clear water, mountains in the background, and a lot of wildlife.  I would highly recommend this as a destination.  

(I posted a lot of photos and videos for this post.  I just enjoyed it so much, I think the tone was set by the morning mist... I HAD to share it all!)