Paddling Popeye

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I was up before the sun this morning with visions of Pickerel dancing in my head, and my arms already moving with paddle strokes, as if to get a running start. It’s been a while since I got some water under my stroke, and it seemed that Popeye Lake would be the perfect solution for that malady.

First of all, here’s the layout of this lake, so that you have some kind of reference to go by, as I describe my outing to this locally known bone of contention;

As you can see from the map, there are 5 or 6 cottages on the north side of this lake, and I believe that there are 6 more lots that haven’t been sold yet. I understood that this lake had been made a ‘Green Lake’, which regulates what you can, and what you can’t do on the lake. However, I saw no signs indicating this status, if in fact it is in effect. Nevertheless, it didn’t affect me anyway, so I wasn’t too concerned either way.

As a rule, I don’t usually like to paddle where there are cottages, or at least groups of cottages. It’s hard to get away, completely, from lakes with cottages, since many lakes will have at least an old cabin or two, no matter how remote it is. But, built up areas are just not my cup of tea, when I’m trying to enjoy the wilderness, as it was created.

Still, I’d heard quite a bit about this Popeye Lake, and I knew that there weren’t too many cottages here, besides, it was touted as a prime Pickerel lake, and that, in itself, deserved some attention.

I arrived very early in the morning, with enough time to get all my equipment ready, and launch, before the sun came up. Of course, I had a lot of help getting ready, and everything moved along quite quickly, thanks to the mosquitoes. I’m telling you, there’s nothing that can make a simple inflatable kayak harder to set up than hordes of mosquitoes lending a hand. I lent them my hand also, a number of times.

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The light was still dim on the lake, as I readied my steed but, in stark contrast to what it has been for some time now, the water was almost dead calm.

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I made my way out, across to the south side of the lake, in order to keep, what I feel is, a respectable distance from the cottagers on the north side. Actually, the cottages, if you want to call them that(seem more like mansions to me) were mostly buried in the bush, and were only slightly noticeable from the water.

As you can see, when I first set out, there was some breeze on the water, but it soon quieted down, and I was left with almost complete calm while I was there. However, as promised, the wind did pick up later in the day, after I had left Popeye Lake.

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The sun was threatening to break the horizon at any moment.

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And without any further notice, there it is.

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I set a course for a sunny day.

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As the sun was rising, the mist was also starting to clear off the lake.

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It was quite a sunrise, wasn’t it? We only get so many of these in a lifetime, so it is wise to enjoy as many of them as possible.

You’ll have to excuse the line down the next video. My Olympus camera is not as good at sunrises as my Canon is. It’s not as good at colour either. I don’t use the Olympus anymore, except for videos, but this sequence has a Loon calling and you can hear it’s echo answering back. Pretty neat.

I did get some pictures of the Loon’s also, although there was still a lot of mist on the water at that time.

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You would think that a paired couple would still have young ones with them at this time of year, but, the truth is, many young loons don’t make it. The wilderness doesn’t play favourites. All things wild are subject to the same chance of survival, which is determined by the balances that nature has put in place. Unfortunately, we have circumvented those balances for ourselves, and, at some point, we will pay the price for that.

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Another shot of that beautiful sun, as it rises higher.

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As I moved along the south perimeter of the lake, I caught a couple of otters playing onshore. As soon as they saw me, they dove into the water, never to be seen again.

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The newly risen sun was glowing off the rocks here.

When I reached the end of the lake, I started to do some fishing on the way back, I have to admit, it was halfheartedly though. What I really needed here was some minnows, and I did have the minnow trap with me, but I wasn’t all that fired up about setting the minnow trap, and then waiting for some minnows to come along.

I think from now on, if I intend to go fishing, I’ll have to set the minnow trap before I leave shore, and then do whatever paddling, or exploring, I want to do and, by the time I’m finished, I should have some minnows in the trap.

Anyway, I think in my subconscious, I knew that I wouldn’t get too much fishing done today. I need to set up for deep water fishing for these Pickerel, they don’t like light, so they stay down deep, especially in the summer. Also, I would probably prefer to come back in the evening to fish for them, or at least in the afternoon, to catch some minnows, and then fish in the evening.

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Here’s another island at the far end of the lake. It looks like a good camping island, but I didn’t even bother to land on it. I had already checked out those two ‘official’ campsites on the mainland, and found that they had been ‘unofficialled’. The signs were gone, although the sites looked nice. Fact is, they don’t want anyone staying overnight on this lake. It detracts from the lifestyles of those who paid a lot of money for the privilege of owning a piece of property on this lake. Would it be rude to say, ” I hope they choke on it”? Naw, I know that, eventually, we all reap what we sow.

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In the end, they didn’t get what they wanted anyways. As I was taking my kayak out of the water, I heard a guy over on the other side of Stanrock Road, firing up his chainsaw to spite the silence seekers. Fact is, people are people, if you want silence, you need to get away from them. Take it from someone who knows. šŸ™‚

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