October 06, 2017
A Chance to Explore Outdoors
It had been a long, busy – too busy! – week, and I was chomping at the bit to get outside and do some exploring. Our beautiful weather found me wanting to paddle all week. And so as Friday afternoon came, Wren and I loaded up the canoe and headed for the water – first taking an afternoon walk along Lake Colby. The walk was pleasant and we found small groups of fall songbirds like Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Golden-crowned Kinglets, White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Blue-headed Vireos, Brown Creepers, Black-capped Chickadees, and a selection of woodpeckers. Wren swam at the lake as she always does and I eventually had to hustle her away from the water so that we could get out in the boat with our limited time and light.
Little Green Pond
Given that our time was short, I chose to paddle Little Green Pond – the small, picturesque waterbody is easy to cover in a short amount of time. There were more of the same species of birds chattering near the parking area as I stood admiring the placid surface of the pond, and Wren swam and explored at the put-in while I unloaded the boat. The sunny day had been giving in to the pressure of the clouds that afternoon and the evening was still and gray as we pushed off onto the water.
Since I had plenty of daylight to cover the small pond, I took a leisurely approach to the paddle, poking along the edges and peering down into the clear, green waters at the logs and other wooded debris which have made the pond a good choice for snorkeling in the past. We took a counterclockwise loop around the edge, immediately spotting a pair of Common Loons dive as they searched for their dinner. The loons seemed unconcerned about us and we sat fairly close to them, Wren watching them with quiet interest. They slowly moved off feeding towards the middle of the pond and we kept going, our progress marked by the glowing lights of golden trees which accented the otherwise dark, forested shoreline."
A Chilly Fall Evening
The shoreline was also highlighted by a couple fires from the campsites which dot the pond, and once out on the water we could see the colorful tents as well. We waved to the folks as we passed them on our loop. One couple sat huddled beneath a blanket in the cooling evening air on the edge of the water – enjoying the autumn chill.
It was not hard to notice it. The temperature was rapidly dropping as we paddled – even though the sun was initially hidden behind the clouds, there was a noticeable difference once it dipped below the horizon. It would be a frosty fall night and one that would help bring about more changing leaves on the landscape. I slid my hand through the water which felt warm in comparison to the air. These cold nights meant that the water temperature would soon drop too – I knew my swimming days were numbered. But Wren and I have been swimming most days this summer (we have not been cheated), and even if I won’t be able to tolerate the water soon, she will continue to dive in until ice freezes the lakes solid.
As the pastel light of sunset found me considering these things, three Hooded Mergansers flew overhead towards Little Clear Pond, and the Common Loons called softly to each other as the day – like the warm swimming season – came to a close. We returned to the take-out with enough light so I could load the boat without the aid of a headlamp, which I had on hand anyway. Wren took a long drink from the pond and swam one final time before we headed off for home and dinner.