October 20, 2012

Hard aground - in a kayak - near the Watkins Glen boat ramp

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA -  By 3 p.m., today both the front and back lawns at the cottage were mowed. The hot tub and its circulating pump stowed safely. The shade/rain structure used to shelter the hot tub folded up neatly. The solar lights were put away for the season. And the Crimson Tide sailboat is sporting a new tarp to keep the leaves and debris off it for the winter.

It had been a busy morning and afternoon and so I considered simply collapsing on the couch when I got home to North Glen Avenue. Just mowing the lawn had proved daunting. It hadn't been touched since before Labor Day and had grown to about five inches tall in spots.

But the 20-knot cool breezes that had kept me cool up the lake suddenly let up here in Watkins Glen, making a quick kayak voyage seem like it might be in order.

Watkins Glen creek, approaching the channel
And it was a spectacular fall trip.

I paddled south, into a light breeze, following a flock of ducks who led me straight onto a sandbar where I experienced a kayaking first for me.

I ran hard aground with a crunch that had I been in a fiberglass boat, I would have been concerned.

Normally it's easy to rock my kayak off the bottom and simply back out. But oh no!!!!! Not this time. These wily quackers had lured me up onto some kind of ridge and it was only with a lot of effort, muttering and saying a string of magic words like these: (^^#*$^(*^&()%)) that I was able to get free.

I was not going to wade to get the kayak floating again. Well, not if I didn't absolutely have to. The water is very cold already.

In my paddling, I saw that the marinas are all emptying quickly with only a few holdouts left in their berths in the canal off the lake. Some of the holdouts were aboard their vessels as I paddled by, heaters running and cups of grog in their hands. No grog was offered to me however, even after several folks witnessed my encounter with the ducks and the sandbar.
Not many yachties left at the Watkins Glen Yacht Club
The weather forecast for Sunday is good enough that I left my kayak in the truck, all ready for another expedition. That probably guarantees precipitation.

But I'm going to risk it anyway. I'm too tired to haul the kayak out of my truck.

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