The Crooked Canes Journal


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Lake St. Catherine "Bayou" Paddle ~ Aug 2, 2017

Journal entry by Diane Wisell



As an outing leader, it's a lot easier to have a good weather forecast for the day of an outing that was scheduled a month or two in advance, but it doesn't always happen. Changing both the day AND the outing location makes it all the more fun when weather forecasts are not necessarily awful, but just iffy. In the case of what was supposed to be a paddle on Thursday at Henderson Lake, a paddle on Wednesday at Lake St. Catherine turned out to be a punt that saw the football fly dead center through the goal posts.

The main part of the lake can be VERY busy this time of the year so we chose to paddle the southern end of the lake, from the bridge south to the town of Wells which, in Kurt's and my near 60 years of living on, or being around, the lake has always been very quiet. And very pretty in a bayou kind of way, but different than a Louisiana bayou because here we had mountain views the entire day for our roughly 4 mile paddle.

We arrived a bit after 10 am at the VT fishing access, our put in, adjacent to the bridge. A little nervous about the possibility of thunder storms, we spotted cars a mile down the lake at the Wells Town Park where we intended to have lunch and would give us a good bail out if needed due to weather. Then, off we went, headed south through a cattail and marsh rimmed half mile channel to what opens into what is known as the "Little Lake." Not far from the put in, our first heron greeted us and from then on it was ducks, ducks, ducks. Mallards are having a VERY good year.

Arriving at the Little Lake we found a pretty surprise: acre upon acre of white water lilies in full bloom where yellow ones dominated years ago. This lake became infested with Eurasian milfoil twenty or so years (maybe more) ago and residents have struggled to control it by various mechanical and chemical methods ever since. Kurt and I were actually surprised that the Little Lake was as easy to paddle as it was, though definitely NOT weed free, it was not choked with milfoil as it had been in recent years. Populations of native aquatic species, whose presence was like seeing familiar old friends, seemed to be increasing.

We soon came to what appeared to be a fountain of bubbles, appearing as though someone's scuba airline had broken. Fran got scared and paddled off quickly. I thought it might be the Creature From The Black Lagoon but upon checking around, Peter was still in his canoe. And then we found more of these and Peter found out there are 28 of them. Hope he will add the results of his investigation to this narrative (see link at the end of the entry).

Mountains, frequently punctuated by cliffs and a sunny sky with picturesque clouds never left our view as we paddled from the Little Lake through the narrow, lily and marsh lined channel, south to the lake's very narrow end where one of the lakes two islands is located. Then we headed off to the Wells Town Park for lunch where we had a VERY leisurely lunch, the whole park to ourselves, at picnic tables along the shore. Jo-Ellen, having seen "For Sale" signs on a few properties mentioned that we really ought to have a Crooked Canes Clubhouse. Everyone reacted enthusiastically to her comments and the result is in the photos that follow. Still no threatening clouds in sight, we left the cars spotted at the park and headed north, past the put in and out into the main lake, far enough that we had more lovely views before returning to our cars and heading back home.

It's always fun to take folks to a place that's nice and where not many Canes have ever been and some have never have heard about. So, many thanks to Sharon, Linda, Linda & Peter, Jo-Ellen (welcome back!), Don, Fran and Bonnie for accompanying Kurt and I "back home" today.

8/5/17 - Wanderer . added 10 photos.

17 photos



We saw carpets of white lily covering acres.



Very near the lake's south end.



A view north from the south end of the Little Lake.



Upon observing large quantities of bubbles rising from the bottom of the lake, Fran, remembering the scary Creature From The Black Lagoon last seen on our January 2015 trip to Rich Lake and thinking he'd come here to get us, RAPIDLY fled the scene!



A view to the south from the Town of Wells Park.



Nothing like a good old family photo!



Jo-Ellen, your dream has come true! Peter and Kurt found this lovely chateau and bought it for the Canes. It's not real huge, but there's a camper up in back for overflow. Imagine the enjoyable hours we can spend communing with the skeeters on the swing under the porch. Comes with a real big salt shaker so everyone can get leeches off after swimming.



Our group abiding to the "no wake" zone on Little Lake - added by Wanderer



Great day for a paddle - (L to R) Jo-Ellen, Don, Bonnie, Kurt, Linda and Sharon - added by Wanderer



We weren't the only ones enjoying the day! - added by Wanderer



A single purple loosestrife taking root on a half-buried log - added by Wanderer



A colorful display of purple loosestrife along the shore - added by Wanderer



Turnaround point on our journey south on Little Lake - added by Wanderer



There were lots of Canada Geese along the shore - lounging between meals - added by Wanderer



A mechanical millfoil harvester in action - one of the methods being used in trying to eradicate the huge problem in both Lake St. Catherine and Little Lake - added by Wanderer



Lunch at the Town of Wells Park - added by Wanderer



Kurt, Diane and Don at the end of a great day! - added by Wanderer




Kurt suggested that I add some information regarding the aeration project that we witnessed on Little Lake.  Rather than try and explain the specifics I thought that this link would provide those that are interested with enough information to satify their curiosity -

https://www.clean-flo.com/case-studies/clean-flo-inversion-oxygenation-helps-reduce-organic-sediments-and-milfoil/

Peter

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