Saturday, January 1, 2011

Out With the Elf

My friend, Mike, joins me today. We paddled together last during May, a 150 mile trip down the Yakima River. We do the Harrison portage, setting out on the very calm big lake with bright sun behind us. I point out ducks as we move north when an otter pops up. It is busy opening a small clam and works the shell while watching us. As I get to my camera, it dives and reappears a few moments later some 60 or 70 yards away.

The canoe moves quick and steady with the two of us padding. Mike is using a paddle that I made for him and he likes it much better than the wide blade Sawyer that he used previously. It is also good to see that the paddling technique that he developed during our spring trip is still with him.

It is calm as we get to the bay with what are probably the south nest eagles on perches near the east marsh. We don't see them hunt and they fly off to the far side of the point that makes the east shore of the bay. From a mile away, I spot the swans and I count six today. Ducks are scattered about the bay in what are best described as loose flocks. We break through a thin layer of ice to get into the NE lagoon and walk the new trail out to the road, just to know where it comes in from. I need to get a photo and thank mike for dressing like one of Santa's elves.

There is thick ice in the west island channels, so we follow the outer cattail edge on the alert for a snipe. We flush two at once. Then we head into the s lagoon as far as the ice and back out. Mike hasn't had enough yet, so we paddle the crossing under place and then head west and down the dead lake direct into a brilliant winter sun.

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