Sunday, July 12, 2009

Writing from the Canoe

It's a warm cloudy day with occasional showers. For a Sunday in July, there are very few people on the water. I see some newly hatched ducklings - ducks seem to hatch their young over a much longer period of time than do canada geese (the geese hatch earlier and in a 2 to 3 week period). Going clockwise around the bay I pass the mouth of the Montlake Cut and think about how it is now obsolete. When it was opened in 1916, it gave ships access to the 30 sq miles of Lake Washington and let loggers move timber to Puget Sound in large rafts instead of by feeding them through the log flume that was built on top of the ancient canoe portage. Now the cut is just a connection for pleasure boats. But the cost of the cut was one river (yes, with a salmon run) that stopped flowing and the lowering of the lake by ten feet, turning rich wetlands into unusable almost dry land.

Beggar ducks are surrounding me. Time to paddle on.

The lake, or at least the shallower parts, is covered with hunreds of thousands of lily pads. These are the white flowered lily pads, the yellow ones bloomed late in the spring. There were many fewer yellow lily pads. The lake is the highest that I have seen it at this time of year. Perhaps that contributes to more lily pads than normal.
The wind is strengthening.
Kingfishers have a minor convention going in the north lagoon. I see five at one time, but there must be a dozen up here.
Paddling south to pick up the last 55 gallon barrel, the wind is picking up the scent of fresh water. I breath deeply through my nose to catch the flavor of the bay. It reminds me of the pleasant aftertaste when one gets water in their nose while swimming. It is an old smell from a long time ago.