For 20 years I had my small rusty fishing boat lying year-round along the side of the boat launch on Hemlock Lake and my grummen canoe on Canadice Lake. Nothing was said about the local residents who for many years felt they had a special privilege with the City of Rochester. Since the sale of the land to the DEC and the adoption of the Hemlock/Canadice State Forest with new state regulations, local residents were required to remove their boats from the lake shores for a mass clean up, or have their boats impounded with a fine for pick up. Since my canoe disappeared during one May storm many years ago, out of respect for the new laws I was one of the first to remove my row boat and purchased a kayak to continue exploring the lakes by water.
A couple of years ago it was evident that during the planning of our summer schedule for Springwater Trails many of our hikers were also kayakers and canoists. We reorganized our schedule to add a subgroup of boating to some of our weekly hikes to take advantage of what these beautiful undeveloped lakes had to offer during the summer months. This wasn’t an easy task, as now it involved more than just planning hiking routes. Planning boating adventures including boating safety, contant weather reports, earlier arrival times for launching, while continuing to plan hikes around the state forest.
While hikers had their adventures on the trails, last week’s hike attracted 11 boaters and one dog to enjoy the calm waters of Hemlock Lake at the north end. Thanks to our leader Bob, who managed to keep an eye on the safety of beginners to advanced boaters, we traveled the east shoreline, then crossed the lake to find the remains of the beaver lodge we encountered last year when we hiked the west shoreline to Eagle Crest Winery. Linda, Mac in their bumper kayak and a few other kayakers enjoyed a relaxing ride and remained on the east shoreline.
Being that the water level of the lake is much higher this year, we found some wet branches protruding above the water and much to our surprise saw an underwater lodge. On the shoreline, placed over a creek was the old beaver lodge we walked up to last year. Last year this lodge was completely out of water and the entrance and exit holes were fully exposed. What was even more interesting was a deep water channel created between the two lodges. One may have to explore the area at night to have an encounter with a beaver if the lodge is active. Some air bubbles were noticed and boaters should be aware of not damaging the underwater lodge as it is pretty close to the surface and hard to see.
Traveling the west shoreline, we crossed the lake to return to the boat launch and give the climbers a ride back to their cars parked at Rob’s Trail. A fantastic social was enjoyed on the new deck of Bob and Joan’s chalet, complete with fresh vegetables and nasturtiums from Joan’s garden. Thanks Bob and Joan and to all those that provide delicious healthy meals for all to enjoy.
If you would like to kayak during the week, contact Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org