Unseasonable warmth has slipped away and today the temperature approaches something that is more normal. A chilling wind out of the north brings the air to a properly cold feel. Overhead, clouds come in wide rolls...waves of air laden with moisture, the cores of them grey and dark. But, there is enough open sky that a bright and "happy" sun comes through more often than not.
I put in on the back channel of the river and near the mouth and head upstream into the wind with little help from the flood tide. Perhaps the recent rains have raised the level some, but the water seems high and the current weak. The bird life is outnumbered by fish sightings. Something is running in reasonably large numbers, the backs cresting the surface as I paddle.
The channel opens to a wide bay when I pass the line of rocks...they have a name that escapes me. The story is that it was a watch point for Native Americans. A short river comes in from the east and my route continues to the west...a stretch that I call the cornfields. Phragmites has colonized some of this area, pushing the cattails and wild rice out, and not making for good habitat in general. Paddling through phragmites is just as interesting as sitting in a canoe in the middle of a cornfield. Fortunately, it isn't long and I enter the Lieutenant River, on which lies the halfway point.
|the line of rocks|
It has taken the full half trip to spot 2 swans, 4 wood ducks, about 10 hooded mergansers and a dozen or so black and mallard ducks. Halfway is coffee. Halfway is when I notice that my binoculars are missing. They are either in the car, on the car, or on the ground where I launched the canoe. It is not something to be worried about when you are restricted to about 3mph. What happens in the next hour and a half cannot be helped.
When I take out and carry my gear to the car, I find the wayward binoculars hanging from the left side rear view mirror. The strap is wet. Someone has retrieved them from where I launched... a favor to be passed on.