Wednesday, August 26, 2009

13-Mile Canoe Trip

Yesterday I embarked on an approximately 13-mile canoe trip with three of my friends. Although my canoeing experience is rather limited, several of my friends were more experienced and I learned how to paddle with my body rather than just my arms. I am still sore despite this, but not nearly as much as expected. It was a great trip and we hope to take this one at least once more before it gets cold.

After a 'portage' where we carried a canoe through the streets of Burlington and Winooski, we 'put in' at the Winooski River just downstream from the waterfall and dam. The trip down the river was about 10 winding miles; the flow in this part of the river is quite slow so we mostly made progress by paddling rather than by the current. Once we arrived at the lake we paddled south for about three miles. The water was actually rather rough on the lake with swells of at least 1 foot and a bit of a headwind to paddle into. It was never dangerous but it made the ride more interesting. Eventually we landed at a beach north of Burlington, where we went for a swim and some of us took a nap in the sun.

Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera, because I didn't want it to get wet. However, we did get to see the following things:

-an osprey carrying a fish (or something it killed but they mostly eat fish)
-Other birds seen: green and great blue herons, snowy egret, kingfisher, turkey vultures, red tailed hawks (which look totally different here).
-a pileated woodpecker (heard but not seen)
-raccoon and skunk tracks (and smelled a skunk).
-mature floodplain forest with silver maples
-invasive plants
-goldenrod and jewelweed
-interesting species of wild cucumber, morning glory, and cocklebur that look somewhat similar to the species seen in California
-Mussel shells (possibly just invasive zebra mussles
-A great view of the Adirondacks
-watching the tiny canoe informally named 'The Tate Crate' brave fairly large swells and not capsize.

Things are going to get more busy now but I still hope to go canoeing one or two times before it gets too cold. Then, it will snow, and I'll try cross country skiing and snowboarding.

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