The Crooked Canes Journal


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A Paddle on the West Branch of the Sacandaga ~ Jun 26, 2015

Journal entry by Ray Bouchard



As it turned out, my fear of having to cancel the paddle on this delightful stream due to weather was unfounded. As the old saying goes, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes", or in this case 12 hours. We were treated instead to blue skies, puffy white clouds and mild temperatures. It was hard to imagine a better day. Our first challenge appeared about a mile downstream from our launch site, in the form of a beaver dam. I've been paddling the West Branch for over 40 years and I do believe this is the first one I've ever encountered in this section. Fortunately there were 2 sluice-ways that allowed us to make the 3-4' drop and continue on our merry way without having to get out. As long as the beavers don't get too ambitious over the summer months it shouldn't be a problem for paddlers, but you never know. My real concern was the log jam that I've encountered over the past four years, about a mile further downstream. On 9/4/13 the Canes, with the assistance of Peter's rope and saw, had to push their way through the floating logs in order to continue on. In the fall of 2014 I had to circumvent the tightly packed log jam by dragging my kayak along a muddy path to an equally muddy spot on the downstream side of the jam. This year I'm happy to report that most of the logs have been pushed tight against the right shore. My kayak did scrape as I glided over a sunken log, but the passage was very easy even though the water level seemed low. About a quarter of the way into the trip I suggested we take a short detour into Trout Lake for lunch with thoughts of paddling into Little Trout Lake afterwards. Unfortunately the water was too low to even consider entering so the bog plants will have to wait for another time. With only 3 of us on this trip there was time for quiet conversation as well as time for contemplation. There was even time to the listen to the sounds of nature, if only the gentle breeze that occasionally stirred the grass along the shore and the leaves on the trees. It was a wonderful time. It was time well spent with friends. I would like to thank Margie Litwin and Ray Boucher for joining me.

11 photos



Ray paddling his brand new kayak.



Margie cruisin' down the river.



We encountered a lone loon on Trout Lake.



Sheep Laurel. My thanks to Margie for spotting it.



Photo by Ray



Photo by Ray



Margie paddling through the clouds.



After much searching Ray finally found the Crock he lost in the primordial ooze when he stepped out of his kayak.



We stopped at this lovely spot for a bit of a respite before paddling the last mile or so to the take out.



There were times when the only way you could tell which way the current was flowing was to look at the grass growing in it. If anyone knows the name of this grass please ID it for me.



Yellow Pond Lily; Bullhead-Lily (Nuphar variegatum) I recently learned that if a water lily has been pollinated, its coiled stem will retract, pulling it under the water to complete its life cycle. Apparently this lily is still waiting for the insects crawling inside it to do their part.



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