Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kayaking Rainbow Lake, Part 2

According to the real estate listings Rainbow Lake offers either 12 or 15 miles of interconnected waterways to explore. From our spot of the southern end of Rainbow Lake the longest paddle heads north on Rainbow Lake, through the Rainbow Narrows and Kushaqua Narrows and across Lake Kushaqua to the dam. Two years ago I made it as far as the Buck Pond Campground but not into Lake Kushaqua itself.

This year I decided to take an afternoon and head north toward the dam again. Because I hadn't done a lot of kayaking this year (the kayak hadn't been in the water until we got to Rainbow Lake) I wasn't sure how far I'd make it. I loaded up the boat with 2 bottles of water, and snacks and headed out. Spurred on by Soozie, one of our hosts, who mentioned the record time to the dam and back, I decided to see how far I could get. Start time was approximately 1:50pm.

The lake wasn't as calm as I would have liked - stirred up by a light breeze and a few power boats - but was not a it's worst. (I've paddled the length of Rainbow Lake when it had 2 foot waves as a storm blew in - not fun.) Good time was made to the bridge separating Rainbow Lake from Rainbow Narrows. Along the way I stopped to admire the flamingos in one yard.

Note the skeleton flamingos (they're the black ones).

Finally, the bridge comes into view, marking the end of the first segment of the journey. Time check 2:30pm.

This bridge separates Rainbow Lake from Rainbow Narrows.

The water beyond the bridge was much calmer - probably because the narrowness prevents power boats from going very fast.

There are a lot of trees down along the shore. This particular tree sticks out into the channel as the lake widens. To help prevent accidents someone has helpfully added a reflector. This amuses me everytime I see it.

From here you pass a small bog, then the rope swing - known to everyone on the lake. Then under a couple of bridges. I was delayed at the second bridge, which is quite narrow, by four paddlers from the other direction.

After the second (third on the trip) bridge the water widens into the Kushaqua Narrows.

This windswept tree sits on a small island near the Buck Pond Campground. On my previous trip, I circled around this island before heading back. 3:06pm

I made a brief stop at an empty campsite (to the right of the small island) to stretch my legs before heading toward the dam. After winding my way around the next point the water opened up into Lake Kushaqua.

little haystack
If I'm reading the map correctly this is Little Haystack mountain, which rises on the East side of the lake.

Kushaqua is a wide open lake. I saw a loon as I was headed toward the dam. The closer to the dam I got the rougher the water was. This is not entirely unexpected any time you are near a dam, waterfall or the like there is going to be at the least a more apparent current. The water from Rainbow Lake and Lake Kushaqua empties over the dam - it's used to control water level - and given all the wet this summer there was a significant amount of water heading over the dam.
I ventured up to the rocks at the right of the picture but didn't feel comfortable getting any closer to the dam. 3:38pm

As I headed back across Kushaqua the waves seemed to pick up strength. This may have been an actual change, or the fact that I was now heading into the wind and against the current. I paddled as close to the shore as I felt comfortable doing, as waves broke across the front of the kayak. This was not a fun part of the trip. It was hard paddling. I was very happy to get back to the entrance in the Kushaqua Narrows, and have the opportunity to take a breather.

I made another stop at the empty campsite to rest, and have my snack. I was very quickly joined by a dozen ducks - clear sign that too many people have been feeding them!

One of the hopeful ducks. I did not feed them.

After a 10 minute break I headed back to Owl Cabin.

under the bridge
The first of the two bridges between the Kushaqua Narrows and the Rainbow Narrows. 4:40pm

On the way back I came upon our hosts, Noel and Soozie, Laka (their dog) and a friend finishing up on the rope swing. I declined the tow they offered and headed home.

This loon kept me company as I headed down Rainbow Lake, but refused to move so that it wasn't backlit.

owl dock
Finally back at our dock - and yes this picture is crooked. 6:00pm
I could have straightened it, but the crookedness is evidence of how truly tired I was.

Total trip time 4 hours and 10 minutes - or so.

It was a fun trip. If we get a nice calm day next year I may have to try the trip again to see if I can lower the total time.

(The times listed are the time stamps from the photos.)

Stay tuned for Part 3.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kayaking Rainbow Lake

One of the highlights of our annual vacation to Wakanda is kayaking on Rainbow Lake . There are several routes to take on the lake.

At the southern end there's a bog where I've seen ducks, geese and heron. I headed that direction one afternoon. I did see ducks and geese but mostly just water and flora.
marsh boathouse
I love the reflections of this boathouse on the water.

in the log
The circle of life.

fallen log2
Log becomes home to new growth.

fallen log
I love the gracefullness of the limbs.

Tree Reflection.

Taking a swing around the end of the esker opens up another stretch of water, heading either to the stretch known as the Flow or through the Clear Pond loop. My brother, nephew and I did the Clear Pond loop one afternoon. As we have many other times, my nephew N sat at the front of my cockpit (I've got a very open cockpit on my boat).

N riding
N looking back at me.

This was not the only kayaking N did this year. He's finally big enough to handle a boat on his own, so one afternoon he had a paddling lesson. We got him into a boat, I took hold of the line on front and swam nearby while he practiced his paddling skills.

N paddle1
Note the intensity on his face.

N paddle3
Concentrating on proper technique.

Once we were comfortable that he wasn't going to flip his boat or throw the paddle, we hooked his line to the back of my boat and headed off on a short trip from the afternoon beach to Boot Bay and back. N did very well and made it just over 2/3rds of the way before he got tired, after which I towed him the rest of the way.
N paddle2
Early on during the trip.

Stay tuned for more about kayaking on Rainbow Lake. (I'm tired and this post is long enough.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer Project

Recipe for summer woodworking fun.
Project parts - in this case for a boat.
The dowels, both large and small, serve to align the other parts.
Additionally, the large ones are also the smoke stacks.
The darker parts are walnut, the lighter (except dowels) are maple.

Tools - clamps, glue, dead blow hammer, glue brushes and sand paper.
We ended up only using the large clamps.

Eager helper.
My nephew, N, 5 years old.
If you look closely (click on the picture to make it larger) you'll see the holes for the dowels.

ready to clamp
Ready for clamps.

Clamped and drying - time for a kayak ride.

look what I made 2
Look what I made!

(If you look closely you'll notice that the boat still needs sanding and finish.
We'll have to do that the next time we get together.

A couple of design notes: I'm not entirely happy with the prow of the boat.It needed some more shaping but I was having trouble getting my head wrapped around how to do it so it looked right. Oh and the kid better not drop this on his foot, cause it's heavy!

You may have noted that we used regular wood glue, not waterproof glue, to hold the pieces together. This was intentional . If I were building this by myself I'd have used polyurethane glue. However, as anyone who has ever used it will tell you, it's really messy and if you get it on your skin it turns your skin brown. I wasn't comfortable using it with a 5 year old.

As far as I know, the boat has not been tested for seaworthiness. At some point we will have to see how it floats.