Thursday, February 9, 2012


CM, a local artist, joins me today.  I have been using the canoe to meet people over the past year, inviting people that I have recently met or met only through Facebook, to come out and take a short trip through the marsh.  CM is one of the Facebook people, so this is our first face to face meeting.  I don't worry about

CM and the canoe (on the portage cart)
getting along though.  I have found that anyone willing to go along with me in the canoe, particularly anyone that has not met me before, will be good company...I know they will have a sense of adventure.

It is raining lightly when we meet at my house to begin the portage.  As we start the walk, we chat briefly about which direction we should go.  We have water one to two miles away in 3 directions, but we need to make our decision by the end of the block.

We chat all of the way to Portage Bay.  The beaver colony there has made fine work of a very large cottonwood - 20  or 24 inches in diameter at the base.  It is a good introduction into beaverology.  The large Portage Bay lodge is just another 50 yards away.  We head across the bottom of the bay towards the beaver bank burrow, but the very low water stops us in the mud well short of being able to see the details. 

With that, it is through the crossing under place, CM's first trip through.  Then to the north end of the bay, stopping briefly near the West Lodge to check the mud for tracks - raccoon, geese, possibly a baby raccoon - hard to say, the rain having just messed the tracks enough for them to lose their crispness. 

We get out again (this is what canoes are so good for - jumping in and out of them) in the NE lagoon to walk the 200 yards over to the north eagle nest.  The Yesler Swamp restoration work is looking good, new plants flagged, and a new temporary trail added.

We cross the center of the bay, pass through the east marsh, the east channel of the burial island, stop and look good at the workbench lodge, which is piled high with new wood.  We spot a big patch on the south side of Marsh Island where the workbench colony is doing a lot of wood eating, always good to see.

I tell CM about the people I have met because I portage to and from the lake.  Almost as if by cue, we have a nice talk with a lady that lives along the way as she comes out to walk her dog.  She even has a bit of a canoe story - a canoe always brings canoe stories to the surface.

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