Friday, June 22, 2012

Fish Creek Pond Loop: 3 Days, 6 Portages & 8 Ponds

We unloaded our boats at the launching area just as the sun was beginning to set. A cool breeze swept toward us across the lake and a chorus of loons, singing in harmony marked the passing of the day. This trip was gonna be something. We could just feel it.
We paddled down the lake, tying to find a secluded spot amidst what we were surprised actually had four other groups of people. Just a small yellow marker and a fire ring of stones designates the wildeerness camping site, with just enough reflective to blind you. But we settled in fairly quickly, on the adirondack standard: a bed of pine needles with the occassional tree root if you weren't paying close enough attention when picking your spot.
The next day was a little heavy on the portages - especially since we had willingly left the wheels at home. Totally do-able, but extremely exhausting especially with the temperatures rising into the eighties. But we paddled on, even walking an extra canoe carry just to check out the lake for another time :) These ponds were lined with old pine trees, reaching as high as mother nature will allow, with bog laurel everywhere on the shoreline. It was captivating and I will have to remember to come back to this paddle when the laurels are full bloom pink.
On one of the canoe carrys - we did six in three days, so they all kinda blur together - we almost stepped on a lunar moth. It's been one of those wierd summers where everyone has seen one. I don't remember this happening in a while. But we continued along, passing through the murky Middle Pond and finally finding a place to settle for the night on Polliwog, in a small alleyway behind a larger island. A perfect beachy area, apparently frequented by an aggressive family of ducks.
While our first night in the woods is usally rushed because we are pure and simply exhausted, the second is much more relaxed. We had opted to deal with the weight of the cast iron skillet, so cooking became more fun, creative and delicious. And finally remembering to bring a sharp knife didn't hurt so bad either :)We ended up having Teriyaki chicken meatballs, diced yellow pepper and red & white quinoa blend. The difference in using the can iron skillet over the backpacking ones...priceless.
The next morning began one of the wierdest and most diverse days of paddling ai have ever expereinced. Our first water passageway we ended up fording upstream after passing two kayakers quickly floating along in the current. The byway was so tight, you could barely fit my fourteen foot canoe through some of the low canopy sections. It was like a water park ride...if we had been going the other direction.
But we saw so many interesting things. Either that or I was going a ittle crazy because the batteries on our SteriPen went out and we made the rookie mistake of not having backups. Seriously though - FOUR AA batteries? That is rediculous. Anyway, in between jumping out for necessary cool offs repeatdly throughout the day, I was spooked several times by wildlife: a 50 member tree frog attack as I was paddling through the lily pads and was gonna end up in my boat, a woman following behind her two dogs (where she came from I have no idea), a deer eating berries on the shorelline...oh yeah...the swimming chipmunk!!
The next few ponds would lead us through a public campground, past a water skier, under two road bridges and through a marshy, meandering snake like river lined with tall, tall grasses. Some of the ponds were quiet, where it felt that no one had been there for centuries. And then you would round the corner and a flotilla of kayaks would be coming at you from the other direction or there would be two old ladies jeut chatting away on an rock island. You would meet up with people twice - it felt like you were going in circles.
Finally, six hours and one last tunnel later, led by Vespi we wound up popping out of a culvert directly the the right of where we had launch only two and a half days earlier. Exhausted, but super stoked...we hustled up and headed down to Tale o'the Pup from what we ahd been dreaming about the whole trip: BBQ and a pitcher of strawberry margharitas :)
May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum & Vespi
Our Route :)

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