Friday, April 14, 2017

Opening Day 2017

It's finally here!  Time to be on the water!  That being said there are still a lot of places that are inaccessible due to ice.  Many lakes and ponds are still covered with ice.  I had it in my head today that I could EASILY get to Tenny River, my typical first paddle of every season.  But... when I got there this is what I saw:
The ice was too close to the shore to get to Tenny River!  Noooooo!  

And even where it looked like open water... it wasn't... a thin layer of ice...  I was bummed!  

This was across the street and up 85 a bit looking at the stream... wide open.  I will say there was a strong current coming through that culvert, stronger than I have seen before.  

I was so tempted to put in here... there were Canada Geese off in the distance honking and honking... 


I was bummed!  I had driven over Tenny River and saw that it was open so anticipated being able to get there easily.  I debated about getting to the stream from a different spot and did find a possible place, but it was a bit of a steep bank and I did not have the right footwear to do so safely while pulling my kayak... so with my father's voice in my head, reminding me to be safe, I decided not to risk it and drove towards the Songo Locks and put in there... 

I got to the Songo Locks and the water was HIGH! Check out the comparison pictures

Today: 


Usual levels looking from a different angle at the same dam: 

It may be hard to tell, but there is a huge difference! 

There were a couple of nice new additions to the place where I usually launch for the Songo and Crooked Rivers,  a launch for paddling vessels and a couple of fishing platforms.

Check out this nice new launch!   I bet it will usually be out of the water!

Here are the fishing platforms. 


 Very nice additions!

As I watched people fishing and looked at the water... I decided the current here was a bit strong...and decided I would go down to the state park launch and see how that looked.

Body of Water: Songo River via Sebago State Park

Directions:  From Portland head to Windham via 302.  Stay on 302 through Raymond and into Casco.  Follow the signs for the State Park.  (I apologize for not thinking about directions today as I was just trying to find water!)

Boat Launch: concrete/grooved, with nice dock

Parking: Lots of parking, most spots are for vehicles with boat trailers, but there are a few other spots as well. 

Fees: There is a fee for access to the state park. Even though the ranger's booth is unmanned fees are still expected to be paid. 

Bathroom: There are outhouses that are kept in very good condition. 

Wildlife: Today I saw a blue heron, several water fowl, and I think an osprey

Notes:
 There were a lot of boats here today which surprised me... it was Friday and it is early in the season... but they were here!  I talked to a couple and some had good luck catching salmon and togue.  I could see the current of the Songo River from the boat launch which is unusual.  I also could tell that there were areas I would be able to explore that normally are inaccessible because of the high water.  I decided to stick close to shore and explore. 

Here is the view from the launch.  (It was about 52 degrees in the parking lot... cooler of course on the water!) 


There were patches of ice in most of the off shoots.  

It was cool to see the reflection of the under side of the ice... 

I headed towards the Songo Locks, but did not get that far.  

I can imagine in just a few weeks that the trees will be green with leafs! 

There were some pine cones holding on to their branches.  

There was a lot of water fowl... some I did not recognize, including these beauties... they were quick... one minute they were there... 

And the next... they had flown away... I kind of like this picture though, their splashes from take off! 

Juuust enough room to get through... and put my paddle in the slush on top of the ice as I paddled... cool sounds! 

I got to watch these Canada geese climb onto the ice which was kind of cool.  

They are pretty birds... I know they are often nuisance animals but they are beautiful.  




This one tried to hide... or maybe nap!  



This inlet was inaccessible due to the ice... 

This bird flew over me... and I think it is an osprey, but it seemed different to me... as it flew over me it's belly was white but the under side of its wings were not the typical plumage of osprey... but a beautiful bird.  


I heard several woodpeckers...and saw some of their recent work... I thought it was cool that the sap was dripping... 




I enjoyed being on the water today.  I feel such peace when I am out in my kayak.  Today I was reminded that safety is such an important part of this sport.  I saw a canoe with a man and a boy, I presume a father and son.  The son had a life jacket on, but the father did not.  With the very cold water temps and today's breeze and current... that is very risky.  Especially when you have a kid with you, you have to be able to stay afloat to help your kid.  
So... while I know many of us have been 'jones-ing' to get on the water.. please do so safely.  Temps are rising and as things warm up it gets safer.  

But..man did it feel good to be out there again!!!  
Happy Paddling! 

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