You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
memorializing 16 to 19 July 2021, for the archives
A quiet morning, 16 July 2021, and the treetops have been reconnoitered for vicious raptors before we let the cats out.
-- Hey, what's all this then?
-- Here now, you just move along will you!
(Looks like a turkey vulture, to be honest)
It's gone off to terrorize some other stretch of shoreline, no doubt.
Melvin keeping out of the hot afternoon sun for his nap, under the trampoline
Merganser ducks in repose. We've just been alerted by a fellow hydrobiker that the Duck Superfamily are all dozing on a fallen log in a southern bay, and we've sped here to record all the inaction ourself.
Only eight of the little chappies at the moment
We're sneaking in, extremely quietly, so as not to disturb.
Mama's watchful eye is upon them, but some of them appeared to have wandered off.
They're around, possibly off having lunch, but when our colleague passed here on his way to alert this camera-wielder . . .
. . . all 15 were cuddled up, plus Mama (photo by Cousin Rob).
Like the Anatidae class photo of 2021. 'Hold that! Don't any duckling move now!' ('And smile if you can')
(photo by Cousin Rob)
Another trip into the canal, 18 July 2021 -- we're now at the mid-lake, or Mirror Lake.
One whole length of the swampy shore, mostly the northern side, looks, to be honest, doomed.
Skeletal, in fact. Not long ago, we could scrutinize this shoreline for sunning turtles, whurping frogs, and on a few occasions, basking snakes, all luxuriating out on their fallen trees.
Nowadays, we find few of them -- only one fairly faithful little turtle who hangs out on at small supine tree at the far end of the pond.
Our fairly faithful little friend is taking some time off today, so we have no up-to-date photos of him or her to display at the moment. Now we're proceeding to the second length of the canal, towards the spillway to the next lake.
A thoughtful travellers aid, that informative arrow. In the winter, the skimobiles come through on the canal and can't get through the culvert, so they're shunted up over the far side across the road above and down the other side.
Oh, so alone, dejected. Abandoned, almost.
Through the culvert, and . . .
. . . then along the 400 meters to the farther lake, zigging and zagging over the wreckage below that might knock back the bikes' propellers. (The propellers are protected in front, so that the shaft pushes up backwards to slide over obstacles if possible. That doesn't work if one is pedaling backwards, propellers in the lead.)
It's like a visual metaphor for the old world collapsing in upon itself, or is that fetched from too far off?
A very decayed and squishy sort of environment -- stepping off one's water vehicle to stand on the canal bottom, in most places one would find that there is no bottom.
We're at the spillway, and Rob is investigating what appears to be a breach in the ancient mechanism. In the meantime, we're joined by a rental kayak party paddling along from the big lake on the far side.
The evident leader has just had a rollover into the muck, but assistance is quickly at hand. The rocks along the side of the canal here are slimed over and exceptionally unreliable.
An impressive wetland -- impressive and impenetrable
Three of them are sorted out and on their way.
A fourth is struggling with the undersea impediments, but is soon on his way, too.
The concrete along the spillway part of the spillway is wearing away, after many years, but Knowledgeable Rob believes that it will make little difference to the facts on the ground, errm, the facts on the lake levels.
Calling upon his magic wand to get our bikes bustled round in the right direction
All four of these friendly gentlemen are now en route, or are they? The first three are presently puzzling out a maze of underwater second-thoughts.
Now it's a proper tangle, but surely it will soon work out okay. (Just don't get out of the kayak to push it through. They may never find you.)
And away they go, happy, but alert.
Here's part of the mess that stuffed them up -- we should spend a little time trying to clear this out a bit, if only for our own sakes. Nature can be such an inconvenience sometimes.
A few moments for a little chat about purposes and plans -- they've come all the way across the larger lake next door with the high-minded intention of investigating our little lake here.
Undercut canal banks and complicated root structures -- and signs of ancient attempts to keep the canal clear, presumably with chainsaws.
Remarkable things to see here, but sometimes icky.
Another doomed tree, and those root systems might someday bring some mighty chunks of swamp-hell right out into the canal.
At the end of the day, having idly pedaled our time away, it's a dash back up to the north end of the lake as the wind accelerates a bit.
The next day, 19 July, we're indulging ourselves in a leisurely coasting around our own little sort-of-a-bay near Mussent Point.
A lot of history has probably been played out here.
Come ashore at your own risk.
Remains of the dock that preceded that one, perhaps.
Referred to by us informally as 'Pradt's Point', though it's not known . . .
. . . what the Pradt family call it.
A little farther south, towards the Tigertail, a vile eagle prepares to swoop on its unsuspecting prey.
Wham! Its prey was probably unsuspecting because eagles normally only go after corpses.
Scooting along the lake, trying to get airborne with his cargo
And away it goes, into the woods on the far side, away from our prying lens.
How the other half lives (with wakeboat fins on the back of the boat)
Erratic boulders and an undercut shoreline
Muskrat habitat at the far end of the South Shore Drive bay (awkwardly called 'Indian Bay' on the unofficial map below)
More photos of the nicknamed 'Palisades'
-- Mind your head!
Formed up like tree soldiers at parade rest
Mussent Point is at no. 12.