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Category Archives: kayak

Molly’s dad was hoping to get Molly some experience in his new canoe and I just wanted to enjoy some lake time before winter really gets started. Molly got very little experience and after jumping out of the canoe twice, she got to spend the rest of the afternoon in the truck. Next time I won’t be along to distract her. There were quite a few ducks, some grebes, a couple of herons and an otter to provide entertainment as we enjoyed one of the last nice afternoons.

It had been a long time since I had my boat out on the water. Last year I suffered from moderate to severe back pain for months on end and I was unable to load and unload the boat on my own so it gathered dust in the garage for over a year and a half. This year I am feeling much better and yesterday I took it out to Patterson Lake and enjoyed the beauty and solitude of an April morning. Two weeks ago the lake was covered in ice.

My dear friend came to visit from Wenatchee early this week and we got to enjoy good times spent outdoors. She and I learned to paddle kayaks on the Columbia and now she is a competitive paddler while I simply enjoy a day in my boat whenever I can. I do miss the water of the big river. Up here I have small lakes and they have their own charm, that’s for sure. On Monday we took our boats over the North Cascades to Diablo Lake, a reservoir on the Skagit River. Diablo and Ross Lakes both have greenish-colored water from all the glacial deposits of the high Cascade Mountains. They are deep and cold. We had smooth glassy water to begin and as we went up the gorge we had a nice wind behind us. Of course that was a wind we had go against on the return trip. As we got to the big open water, it was pretty stiff and we had an interesting swell when we turned up the Thunder Arm of the lake. It was lots of fun!

The next day we had planned a hike to a lookout but after a big rain storm and the threat of more rain showers we decided to stay closer to the valley bottom and enjoyed a nice three mile walk in the woods. The early morning rain left everything fresh and fragrant. The flowers were outstanding. The scent of the wild roses was enough to make a person swoon. Well, maybe not so much. It was lovely though. I managed to lose my lens cap along the way so if you are on the Patterson Lake trail and find a small lens cap, please let me know.

Last week there were several good weather days and twice I managed to get my kayak in the water. Last year I hardly used it due to persistent lower back pain from gardening. I am trying to really take care of my back this year with more yoga and being very aware of how I move when I am carrying heavy stuff and trying to get help when I can. So far, so good for the most part. Of course with kayaking there is the business of getting the boat on and off the car to take it to the lakes. That worried me. I was able to do it and paddle two days in a row and I am happy to report that I didn’t have any pain! What a relief. Here’s hoping it stays that way all summer. Here are some highlights from two lakes near Winthrop.

Patterson Lake is my favorite



Interesting rock formations



Non-native trees line one end next to hay fields



Last year’s cottonwood leaf



Folks keep adding to this lakeside sculpture



You can tell from the line on the rocks that the lake is not yet full



These trees died after the lake level was raised some years ago. Now the snags are good habitat for nesting swallows and other birds.



Red-necked Grebe



Pair of Wood Ducks



Patterson Mountain reflected in Patterson Lake



More reflections near the boat launch



At Pearrygin Lake State Park, it’s still cold for swimming



A pair of Mallards



The hen decided to go her own way





The drake had to fly to catch up with her



4 Bufflehead ducks



They didn’t like me or the motorboat approaching from the other side



Pearrygin is a pretty warm lake with different vegetation types.



The reeds make nice reflections



This float had broken away from its moorings



In addition to motorboats, I saw this stand up paddler and a rowing scull



Killdeer on a mud flat



The mouth of Pearrygin Creek. This creek ‘blew out’ two years ago, resulting in flooding in the state park and the loss of this boat launch. They say that the state will replace it.



There are LOTS of Yellow-rumped Warblers out and about these days.



And Osprey are commonly seen above any water that might have fish in it. There were lots of newly-planted trout for the next day’s fishing season opener.




Yesterday with my boat piled up high on the truck I drove to Patterson Lake. It might be the last paddle of the season. Snow is in tonight’s forecast and according to local predictions, we may be skiing before the end of the month. I sure hope to get my boat out again before winter sets in for good.


The weather was chilly with a light breeze and brilliant sunshine on the fading autumn foliage. It’s been too long since I’ve been in my boat and I felt clumsy to start but soon got into a rhythm. A Pileated Woodpecker crossed the lake in front of me. Hooded Mergansers acted as though I was a threat and flew before I could approach closely. The males are already showing off their big hoods while the females act disinterested. I heard but didn’t see, Mallards. No little birds were heard – no chickadees, nuthatches, finches.


At the south end of the lake, I observed these green round ‘things’ in the water. They were small, mostly less than a quarter inch in diameter but some a bit larger. Are they algae? Some sort of eggs? Seeds? In some places they were piled several layers deep; other places they covered the lake bottom in a single layer and in some places they were sparse. I’ve never seen them in the water before. With me on a boat and these underwater, they were hard to photograph. I got some in my hands their texture was spongy. I should have taken them back to shore to get a better look.


My boat matched the scenery.


I also saw a number of dead fish at the south end of the lake. Are these 8-10 inch fish planted kokanee? Are they spawned out? I also saw schools of similar fish swimming in the same area.


This not quite grown-up Bald Eagle flushed from a pine as I paddled by. Looking closely, you can see that it has one of those small fish in its bill.

A few seconds later it flew back in the other direction but now the fish is in its talons.

Life is full of excitement.

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