Thursday, July 18, 2013

Canoeing Bell's Lake

Last Friday I had the chance to canoe into Bell's Lake, a small undeveloped lake near here that seems like northern wilderness when you get in there.  It's not very large, but completely surrounded by forest (except for two old boathouses), mostly with a swampy shoreline and dead trees falling into the water, and beautiful scenery, at least on the bright sunny day we enjoyed.

Parts of the route were narrow channels like this, and parts widened out into actual lakes or large inlets.  We were followed along the shore by both kingfishers and kingbirds, and saw at least one kingfisher dive into the water to catch a tiny fish, though usually they quickly flew away, squawking their raucous call.  In the second picture below you can clearly see the white band across the bottom of the tail that marks the kingbird; it's an insect eater, catching them on the wing while swooping out over the water.  The first picture is the kingfisher, with its distinctive dark and reddish bands across its breast.

You have no idea how hard it is to hold a canoe steady in the water, trying to get a picture like this one.  I was in my single person canoe, in which I use a kayak paddle, and there didn't seem to be any breeze blowing, but as soon as I got in position the canoe seemed to instantly slip out of position.  I tried several time to get this patch of water lilies in the foreground of this picture, and even then ended up with a blurry background!
My partner in crime spotted these flowers on the shore of an island, and thought I should venture in among the dead branches to get a picture, so I ducked my head and did my best to appease him.  I believe this is actually a swamp rose.

There were lots of reflections too,sometimes of the entire horizon, and sometimes of the dead trees along the shoreline or in the water. Made for lots of photo opportunities.

We only paddled for two and a bit hours, but this is clearly one place I'm going to come back to.  A fascinating shoreline, wildlife, and an easy paddle, only 15 minutes from home.  Thanks Steve.


  1. Great series of photos. Kayaking looks like a lot of fun. Have a great weekend.

  2. What a peaceful place. Love it. Love the water lilies, the kingfisher, and the reflections... Awesome.. Thanks for sharing the beauty.

  3. oh yeah the first paddle of every season, you remember how hard it is to take photos from a drifting boat ! everything's moving ! it can be an exercise in frustration.
    try using a "faster" setting (I have a compact camera and switch to the "sport /kids" auto setting, that helps sometimes). I try to find spots to "park" and brace myself too.
    That looks like a great place, rich possibilities...

  4. Wow, what's the beautiful lake! picturesque looking cool and calm. Nice post.

  5. What a great spot! Great photos, too! Sounds like a wonderful excursion.

  6. I so know what you mean!
    I haven't been able to canoe this summer. Maybe next month.
    Cheers from Cottage Country!

  7. Sounds like a totally delightful adventure!

  8. Thanks everyone! It was really an interesting place, and there are lots of photographic possibilities around the shorelines. The scenery the day we went was fabulous. But the water level still puzzles me. It seems stable now, but it has obviously risen at some time in the past to kill off so many trees. And there is virtually nowhere that you can step out onto a dry shoreline. But it's great canoeing.