Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kayak Paddle at Sesquicentennial State Park, March 31, 2010

Sesqui 1 February 21st I wetted a paddle for the first time this year. [Click here to read all about it.] You may recall that I’d intended to cross the road for a short paddle on the lake at Sesquicentennial State Park, near our home. The little lake where I first learned to paddle a kayak.

The Lake, it turned out, was closed for its annual maintenance. So I had to drive clear to Lake Monticello. Well, that’s not all that far. But still a longer drive, so less time in the water.

sesqui 2The Park crew had finished their maintenance, and the Lake was back to normal. In fact, nicer than I’ve seen it in years. Just look at that water! That’s a view from the kayak back toward the area from which I launch, and where the Park keeps its rental paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks.

sesqui 3 The water now is crystal-clear again. This may not be the best example to make the point. But to take the photo I purposely paddled over across the lake to the cove where the water is least clear just to see. It was much clearer than it appears in the photo.

sesqui turtle For several years I’ve seen this same turtle basking on a semi-submerged log, about 30 feet from where I took this photo. And there he was again. A bit bigger, and a bit less skittish. Good and bad in that. I’d prefer him to maintain a healthy fear of boats and their human occupants. Not everyone afloat on Sesqui Lake may be a member of Tamia Nelson’s TurtleTaxi Corps. We all should be.

The late morning and early afternoon of the 31st of March featured near-perfect paddling weather here in the South Carolina Midlands. Temperatures in the mid-70s; just enough of a breeze to keep things cool; and sunlight adequate to fill the camera’s lens with a beautiful photo no matter where it was pointed. What a treat!

picnic shelter Here’s one of the several picnic shelters around the park. On weekends it’s a popular spot for church picnics and family reunions. Often featuring barbeque cookers. I can’t count the times I’ve been invited to join in when paddling by. This particular picnic shelter has a nice white sand “beach.” Though swimming is no longer allowed in the lake.

bridge Here’s a view of the charming wooden bridge that crosses the lake’s southernmost outlet. Taken from the wrong side, by the way. Note the near-perfectly shaped tree on the left. It’s a great spot, and this photo simply doesn’t do it justice. You’ll have to visit to see for yourself!

sesqui 4 Back across the lake again. Somehow the view from the seat of a kayak always looks different. The lake is only 30 acres in total. Small by any standard. And not very deep in most places. But its diverse shoreline and clear water gives it a charm that’s hard to resist.

sesqui 5 Not to mention the wildlife! This is the northernmost shore of the lake. Marshy, wet, and ideal for birds, deer, rabbits, raccoons, turtles, and ducks. With enough dead trees here to keep any number of woodpeckers and eagles happy for a lifetime. The walking trail around the Lake runs fairly close to the shoreline here. With enough wooden walkways and bridges to satisfy the most fastidious of walkers. In years past I’ve seen huge nests up in those trees. Hawks? Eagles? Something bigger than a wren, that’s for sure.

sesqui 6 Well, back in to the take-out near the boat dock. Time to get back to work on the new CarolinaConsidered website. Click on over when you have a moment for a look around. I’ve made a few changes, and at last have an “about” page drafted. It, like the rest of the site, is a work in progress. So send along your suggestions.

Next stop will be Little Pee Dee State Park. So stay tuned.

Click here for the CarolinaConsidered website.

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