A friend and I got out today for my first paddle of the season, the earliest I think I've ever paddled, in spite of the late cold winter. We paddled down the flooded Wodehouse Creek, into the ephemeral Wodehouse Lake, where the sinkholes back up and the creek overflows. It creates quite a lake that only lasts for a few weeks in the early spring.
I paddled my small pack canoe, and my friend his kayak. This flooded lake is the overflow that creates the ephemeral waterfall 2 km. downstream which I featured in a post two weeks ago. Note the bit of snow still left, on the northeast lee slope of the hill where it only disappears slowly.
We started from the flooded bridge on the 7th Sideroad, just east of the hamlet of Wodeshouse. All of this is just a small stream for the other 10 or more months a year, and it felt very strange to paddle straight between the trees while we knew the creek underneath us was winding back and forth.
The back-up of water is so high that you can paddle past the sinkholes, through the old fence, and south over the flooded fields downstream. At this point I'm paddling right on top of a walking trail that is about 4 feet beneath me!
We paddled across the flooded fields, scaring some ducks and geese in the process (see the first picture above), and then paddled back through the old fence and into the one area of this unusual system that retains water all year. Ahead of us is the perched pond of about an acre, sitting 18 feet higher that the nearby sinkhole. Obviously there is no hydrological connection between them - except right now, when the flood connects them.
And this is the picture that answers one of my key questions about how this system works. I'm sitting on the perched pond, looking out toward the flooded sinkholes (the water drops to about 20+ feet deep just beyond those trees). The trees and shrubs are growing on a ridge of land between the pond and the much lower sinkholes, where I have stood to get pictures of the sinkholes in the summer. Currently it's under about 3 feet of water. So I have proven to myself at least that this pond gets recharged during the spring flood.
Pretty soon we were headed back up the creek to our vehicles, on a very beautiful afternoon for paddling. The sky just got more spectacular as we went, so maybe I'll add some sky photos tomorrow.
By the way, my canoe (one of them anyway), is a very small lightweight model, only 13' long, and only about 36 pounds. You paddle it in a kayak seat, with a kayak paddle (keeping my camera out and ready for use in front of me). It's just a dream to paddle!