Friday, April 25, 2014

The Ritual

I turned right, headed towards the Lieutenant River put-in, planning to explore the higher reaches that I didn't on my last trip, but as the put-in came into view, I made a u-turn and headed the opposite direction.  It seemed at that last moment that it was too soon to return to the Lieutenant, maybe the memory still too fresh to make the section that I would have to paddle again something different to me.

I stop at Pilgrim Landing, across the channel from Calves Island, not far downstream from Lord's Creek and I put in from the gravelly driftwood strewn beach.


I explored some of Lord's Cove not long ago, but as large marsh areas go, I like to figure out the scheme of the islands and channels and there reference to landmarks...or else one gets lost...a second trip is preferable to a grueling day of being lost.  I have one destination, the odd round opening in the marsh known as Coult's Hole.  After that, I have the northernmost parts of the cove to visit.

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I paused to jot some notes in "hunting blind bay", a wide open expanse of water boardered mostly by phragmite marsh and six or eight equally spaced duck hunting blinds.  There are a few osprey around, a pair of black backed gulls, and a fine line of cormorants sunning on a drift log.



I am frequently asked how often I go canoeing.  And, while there is a number, an average yearly rate, a distance, and who knows how many other statistics, my preferred response is that I try to canoe often enough so that I am in my canoe when I dream.   That is the point when my canoe trips cross over from a "something" to a ritual.  It is the point when I cease to be a visitor and become part of the landscape.  I know no other way to do it than by being there, a lot.

Mute swan nest..no eggs, yet.


I find Coult's Hole and recognize that I touched its far side on the earlier trip without knowing it....it is only a round shape on a map.  On the north side of the hole, I hear my first marsh wrens of the spring.  I spot one briefly as it flies between clumps of cattails.  With a bit of patience, the call of another takes my eyes to it as it perches on the side of a cattail.  They have not yet begun building nests, so they seem timid, preferring to hide.  Once the males begin building nests, I suspect they will be much bolder, staying exposed and singing endlessly to protect their turf and attract a mate.

marsh wren
The wind has shifted when I finally decide to return, and the predicted NW wind has been replaced by a stronger unexpected SE wind that blows right in my face at some 15mph.  It is a bit of work paddling through waves that are stacking up - current against the wind, until I make my way across hunting blind bay where I can paddle in the lee of Goose Island and Calves Island until I cut back and downwind to the take out.





1 comment:

sarmila said...

hei dear mr. scott, this first pic, of lining blckies are a real scott shot ! thank. and the one of mute swan is also i love sooooooo much. i turned your solitery bird oic as my pc's screen saver. haha thank.