Owasco Lake Inlet
It was a hot one! The Owasco inlet and lake were especially bright for the 20 paddlers who left their cool sanctuaries to brave the humidity that nature had to offer on Independence Day. The inlet was motor boat free, but not without obstacles. It looked like a severe storm traveled though the area the night before. There were plenty of downed trees to duck under and maneuver around. The water level was high. It also felt quite cool and refreshing. The splashes were welcome this day. A cool breeze refreshed us a couple of times, as we passed the numerous shady areas. Birds chirped from both sides and a couple of blackbirds crossed ahead of us, back and forth, for most of the trip. A family enjoying the quiet on a lone picnic table on the bank of the inlet took pictures of us, and a youngster told us about the “one that got away”. After 4.1 miles, an area of rapids was selected as a good point to turn around. We stretched our legs on a small landing with a few rocks and a pile of mushy clay soil to sink some of our feet in. Dan’s feet were buried and the gunk was up to his mid calves. He pulled his brown legs out and found a better place to park. That muck sure leaves a mess in the kayak, too!
The paddle back was more of the same, zigzagging under and around trees, single file at times, avoiding an accidental hanging by twisted vines. Jody was looking good in a borrowed kayak (thanks to Rick and Cindy) and did a great job finishing the whole 8.2 miles. Eric, Howard, Greg, Hugh, Jody, Sandy, Rick, Cindy, Bill, Dan, Sue, Patty Y, Kim W, Christine, Phil, Charles and Mary began paddling at 1 PM. Dave, Aneta and Rob started out earlier in the day at the north end of the lake and met the rest of the club as they finished up the inlet.
We travelled back on the dusty dirt road so the car could get as dirty as the kayak. We ate some tasty meals at Cascade, where Kitt & Kathy joined us on their anniversary. What a great way to spend the 4th!
Kim W. met Dave, Robert and I at Emerson Park in Auburn at 9:30 in the morning to shuttle cars to Owasco Lake Inlet so that we could enjoy a one way paddle and have our cars waiting at the destination. Big thanks to Kim!
It was already hot, and the lake sparkled brilliantly in the sun. We set out at 10:20 and maintained a steady pace of over 4 miles per hour. Dave, whose 21’ long and 19” wide race boat requires a much greater speed to stay afloat, was doing laps as usual. The heat didn’t feel as oppressive on the lake, although we made sure to drink a lot of water. We stopped for lunch 2/3 of the way.
About a mile and a half from the southern tip of the lake the motorboat traffic increased significantly. Dave was paddling leisurely for a change next to us when a series of confused waves swept in and his boat flipped. It happened so fast there was no time to blink. Dave exited safely and declined a rescue. For the first time I understood why he preferred keeping close to shore, and why he had to keep going so fast: his ultra light kayak had no bulkheads to assist with a rescue in case of capsizing, and it was very unstable at slow speeds. There was no easy way to empty the boat, let alone climb back in when it was full of water. We happened to be quite far from the shore, and we watched helplessly as Dave swam his kayak back to land. He got quite a leg workout. After he skillfully emptied the boat and secured himself back in the seat with two Velcro straps, we set out once again.
We arrived in the inlet a short while later and took a break. The western shore on the lake was 11.5 miles long, but Dave put in much more than that. He decided to conclude his day’s paddle, while Robert and I continued paddling the inlet to meet with the club. We completed 18 miles.
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