It isn't long
no more than perhaps
one hundred strokes of the paddle
I hear the whistle
the wavering call of the bald eagle
and I look
usually able to spot the bird
my eyes sharp and trained
at watching wildlife
keen to pick up the horizontal where it should be vertical
wary of the oval where it should be random
I see it not. I don't need to.
I set out from the Harrison portage on a heavy overcast gray day. It is typical of winter except for the warmth of summer and the extra green that the deciduous plants add to the landscape. A light breeze, a very light breeze comes mostly from the north. My first pause is at the Big Lodge, which is now green in summer growth and appears more to be a hill than a house. I can still get into the beaver forest because of the high water, so I do. I find a heron feather floating. It is very soft, almost limp, kind of delicate.
The big dead end in the east marsh is continuing to close itself. I collect the old redwing blackbird nest, which I had left alone for others to discover, but now that the channel next to it is closed, no one will go that way and it won't be missed. I find a mound of cattail and brush that some animal has assembled. It is a lodge, but I don't know for what.
The parks department has cut away the big deadfall in the east channel of the burial island. At almost 2 feet in diameter, I was never going to clear it myself, although for a bit longer I would have enjoyed the technique of crossing it, the same that one uses when crossing a beaver dam as the top of it was just at the water level. It did keep the traffic down some.
The water in the bay is still quite clear. Typically, the algae has bloomed some, but today I find that I can see the debris field at Marsh Island with ease. It is amazing what people used to just toss into the lake.
I just keep going and work the headwind to the southeast end of the dead lake, where I take out and walk up over the hill.
Historic Paddle Photo: 1907 - With Gun and Guide
7 hours ago