Friday, April 8, 2011

Rearranging the Map

I'm up before dawn, driven by my wife's early start. It is heavily overcast and my plans for an orange sunrise watched from the marsh are postponed. I think about paddling somewhere different, for a change. Saltwater sounds like a good idea. But, as I'm packing my gear, I think to myself that I don't need to go somewhere else to see something new. The idea of portaging my canoe through my neighborhood on my portage routes seems so fine. I know well enough that I will see something new, I always do. And I know that I will meet someone new while I do the portage, I always do.

The new design for the east marsh

East Marsh -
As I turned Potlatch Point coming in from the big lake, I spotted change right away. A small piece of the floating cattail island, perhaps 10 ft on a side, has broken free and floated north some 20 yards. This island is a good sized marsh island that started moving a year ago. It is anchored by sedges and tree stumps in the NW quadrant, but the rest of it is floating mass of cattails. Over ten days last year, in early May, the island moved and sealed off a 70 foot wide channel that I had known for more than 15 years. 2 days ago, that channel opened up to 20 feet. Today it is 30 feet. But today, the southern third of the island has broken off and drifted south about 35 feet. It is a remarkable change in my eyes. I wonder where it will all end up.

I paddle into the bottom end of the east marsh to photograph a redwing blackbird nest left over from last season. They rarely survive as they are usually built on cattail leaves and fall away as the cattails do. This nest was built in a tripod of willow saplings. As I near, a female pops up out of the nest. I did not think that they would reuse the nest, but then again, they almost never have one to reuse.

As I leave the south lagoon, I find a goose sitting firmly on the workbench lodge. It might be a nest sometime soon, but at this point there is nothing to protect and the goose doesn't lower its head like geese sitting on eggs.

I continue on, west and then south into the dead lake on what has become a fine spring day.

My new portage cart design - tows better, takes less space in the canoe


Richard Powell said...

Great photo of the Marsh and interesting to see your portage rig. Such a great time of year. Loved the bit about the Redwing Blackbird re-using the nest. Interesting....

Anonymous said...

Can you post your design specs for portage cart. I have been look for this exact thing.