Friday, May 28, 2010

Beaver Dam Lake Paddle - Excellent!

5/28/2010 - Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC

Howdy from the kayak cockpit! Thursday afternoon, my boss sent an email to our department, instructing employees to take off "early" on Friday to get a jump start on the Memorial Day weekend. Well, my interpretation of "early" was about 7:30 am Friday morning as I pointed my truck with kayak toward Beaver Dam Lake! ;-) Robert, who I had met during my recent Lake Holt paddle, had suggested Beaver Dam Lake to me as a good paddling area since gas motors were prohibited here. The weather Friday morning was 68 degrees, sunny with a slight breeze... excellent paddling conditions. There was nobody manning the booth at the entrance to Beaver Dam Lake, so no cost to put in! I met two nice young ladies, who worked for the park, as I was checking out the put in area. We chatted for a while about the lake bird and wildlife... I gave them my Durhamblogger "business" cards... and asked that they check out my blog.

Near the boat ramp, I saw this sign. Could not agree more. Always wear your PFD!

Beautiful view looking NE from the boat ramp.

I arrived at Beaver Dam Lake around 8:30 am. There was only one other guy here and the parking lot was pretty deserted. I love it!

Put in at the Beaver Dam Lake boat ramp. There are two boat ramps located here.

I paddled NE. I wanted to investigate the swampy area of the lake. There had been reports of bald eagles in that area.

I saw several elaborate fishing and observation docks built along the shoreline. Many of these structures had deck lights.

Approaching the Old Weaver Trail highway bridge, about 1.5 miles into my paddle.

On the underside of the bridge, were many mud pellet nests made by the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) I saw a dozen or so Barn Swallows diving and swooping under the bridge.

The water level at this point was approximately 12 feet deep.

I spied these colorful flowers growing among the rocks on the side of the Old Weaver Trail bridge.

About .5 miles beyond the bridge, was this "strange" forest submerged in the waters. Had to be careful as I poked around the tree branches since much of this "forest" was hidden beneath the surface.

I encountered many lily pad fields floating on the water. These fields became more numerous and thicker the farther I paddled NE.

Here I captured a heron taking to flight. The bird had just dove from a tree perch and snared a fish. I watched as he enjoyed his morning "breakfast"... then took this photo as the heron decided I had paddled close enough.

The beauty of the swamp!

There was also beauty above! Great cloud formations.

I am getting within 200 yards of "as-far-as-I-can-paddle" in this swampy area. Note the lily pads and growth becoming much thicker.

I saw this larger lily pad species. Much of the plant remains below the surface.

A roadway of green.

I came across several areas where this colorful flower was in bloom.

Swamp plant life becoming very thick and tangled. Not much clear water to paddle and each time I stroked, my paddle blades snagged on underwater growth.

Here, some large growth trees provided much appreciated shade. I enjoyed a quick snack and water break. It was approaching late morning, and the temperature was climbing into the low 80 degrees. Getting hot. I also reapplied my sunscreen.

On my return paddle, a bi-wing crop duster airplane , checked me out. The aircraft came up over the trees along the shore, passed directly over my kayak at a few hundred feet, and then disappeared in the distance. Click on the photo to enlarge.

On my return to the boat ramp, I met a nice couple -Kathy and Dave from Ohio. Kathy was explaining to me how proud she was of her husband being willing to try camping and other outdoor activities like paddling. They had a rental kayak and were going to give it a "go" for an hour or so.

I helped them put in. They were a little unsure of themselves at first, but I soon saw them paddling like pros down the lake! I'm sure they had a good time on the water! Safe travels back to Ohio guys! :-)

And so ended one of the best and most memorable paddles of the season for me! It was a perfect day for being on the water and I paddled about 6 miles. Good workout for me. My only regret is that I never spotted the bald eagles that nest near the swampy area in the northern parts of Beaver Dam Lake. But there is always a next time!

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