Monday, April 20, 2015

Paddling the Karst

My next adventure was paddling down the length of the temporary lake created by the flooding of the karst sinkholes.  Two years ago a friend told me this was possible, and last year another friend and I did it, enjoying the exploration.  Others heard about it, and wanted to try it too.  So quite a group of us headed off the other day for a short explore!

It was a mixed group of canoes and kayaks, and we started down the lake from the sideroad.  Most of the year this is a little stream among tall grasses, perhaps 4 feet wide; my buddies were surprised at the size of the temporary lake, flooding far out into the trees.

We paddled down the course of the stream until we were over the main cluster of sinkholes.  Some of these guys (they were all guys) haven't been here in the summer to see the contrast, so we're going to have to organize a follow-up walk.  But based on my experience coming in all seasons, I estimate that the main cluster of sinkholes is 20-25 feet below us at this point.

The final sinkhole of the main group is beneath me here, as I paddle toward the gap which takes us into another corner of the flooded lake.  This is the 'perched pond' which in summer sits 18 feet above the sinkholes, but is unconnected to them.  Remarkably, it gets recharged each spring during this flood.

Here two of the kayaks emerge from the lake over the sinkholes behind me, to paddle across the pond - though at this time of year it's all one waterbody.

Then we paddled across the old fence line and out into the flooded old field to the south.  There are two large sinkholes here too, approximately beneath that red kayak, though they only have tiny streams draining into them (except for now!).

We managed a short paddle down the stream channel beyond this before it became too narrow and we had to turn around - but I liked the startling reflection of these old willows!

Then it was back across the old fencerow.  Here I'm floating about 4-5 feet above the trail you can walk during the summer.

In the pond area you could convince yourself that you are on a remote lake in northern Ontario!  Most of the time we were out of sight of signs of civilization.

Then it was back through the gap onto the main area of the flooded lake.  As you paddle through the gap you can easily touch the bottom with your paddle, but out in the lake you certainly can't.

And back to the road we went, not even an hour and a half, but I think the earliest in the year that I've ever had the canoe in the water.  You can just barely see the upper curve of the bridge emerging from the water.  In the summer the stream is about 6 feet down.  I'll share some contrasting photos in the coming days.

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25 comments:

  1. Quite a way to enjoy a day! Beautiful shots!

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  2. Over the sink holes, is there a whirl or a small eddy? Beautiful place to have a trip out with friends.

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  3. Wow - that's a lot of water! Amazing to think that this is just a stream in the drier months.

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  4. We have a two person sea kayak that we've used on rivers and lakes (and of course out in the ocean). It's a fun way to travel. The only down size is the size and weight on land. But once in the water, it is a very stable ride. - Margy

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  5. Beautiful shots! Must have been a great experience!

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  6. Looks like a fun adventure for a bunch of guys. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos.

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  7. Lovely shots :-) Beautiful scenery

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  8. What a great way to explore such a beautiful area.

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  9. That must be a beautiful experience. It is so interesting to be there on both seasons, summer and spring to feel the place with different atmospheres.

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  10. Wonderful shots from your kayak, it looks like a lot of fun! Have a happy week!

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  11. What fun! And your pictures are great, with perfect clouds to grace the skies as well. :-)

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    1. Looks like a great little excursion- did you put in/ take out at the 7th side road bridge?

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  13. Such a pretty area and looks so peaceful and tranquil to ! Lovely photos . We some times go Kayaking up and down our Otter river it is lovely to and we get to see all kinds of nature and travel through forests to . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

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  14. Beautiful photos. Has anyone ever dived down the sink holes or is that even possible? Just curious as to what is down in them and where they lead.

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  15. It's an interesting paddle when you can float over fences. It's also an interesting paddle to go up the four foot wide channels when there's enough water.

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  16. Amazing. Does it flood like this every year? I used to live in a small village in Gloucestershire where we had a winter-born river some years but not every year. And it wasn't very deep either.

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  17. Oh what fun that looks like. I'm sure looking forward to when we go kayaking again this year. : )

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  18. Gorgeous scenery! I can't wait to get out for a paddle.

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  19. beautiful shots! my youngest likes to go kayaking too :-)

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  20. Gorgeous, bright, beautiful colors!! Kayaking is on my to do list this summer, I can't wait!!

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  21. You had some gorgeous scenery, nicely captured with the camera.
    Please come link up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/04/at-keyboard.html

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