Sometimes You Get Lucky!

By John Little, Missisquoi River Basin Association

Who would have thunk it? I figured that two weekends ago would be my last paddle before stuffing my green Tripper up in the attic of the garage. BUT NO! Thanks to procrastinating, and a belief in the uncertainty of NE weather, the boat is still out, and got a chance to get wet yesterday. It rained Saturday, and I should have headed for the Missisquoi River because it was up and running well. However, I was looking at no wind, and clearing out in the late morning. Instead I headed for Lake Carmi. Its a small lake nearby, and with a few hours to kill, I headed that way. It was a great choice, and as always a lesson was learned. Carmi is a small lake, maybe a couple miles long by three fourths wide. It has a VT state park covering about one fourth of the shore line, and the rest is camps.

Well…the camps are basically shut for the season, all the docks are up and out of the water, and I had the lake to myself for the afternoon. The older I get, the more I seem to take advantage of the off season paddling, and loving it more. I do however always take along a dry bag of spare clothes, etc, and I spend my time close to shore. It’s tempting to cross a larger bay, but the water is cold, I’m not built like a seal (although I’ve enjoyed too much beer over the years!), and swimming while towing anything is exhausting. Besides, all the wild life is along the shore line.

Speaking of which, I got to see some on this trip, although not as much as last week on the river. There were a few Great Blues, a very shy loon out in the middle, a couple of Ring Billed Gulls, Blue Jays, chickadees, and a species of duck out there. They hung out in groups of a dozen or so, and were very shy. They spooked very quickly, and a long way from me. I believe they were Golden Eyes, but I have an email out to a former student of mine who is an award winning decoy painter, hunter and all around duck nut. I sent Eddie the traits I recognized, and asked him what he thought. I’ll hear from him at some point in the future, but with deer season in full swing, I don’t expect it too soon. The thing that surprised me the most, was the lack of Mallards. During the summer, Carmi has lots of Mallards cruising the camp docks. There were none yesterday. I wonder if it is the lack of docks for resting spots, or just the lack of ready food hand outs. At any rate, it was a wonderful time to be able to circle the lake, be off from the rest of humanity, be warm, and not having to do anything.

Well, my wife has a home made pizza coming out of the oven, and I’ve got to get off the computer if I’m going to get some of it. Later! My boat’s still in the yard, and hoping for another chance.           John