Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Quamichan Lake

We're house sitting, a dog and 6 chickens. Quamichan Lake is 2 blocks away , a boat launch at Art Mann Park. Goose Shit Park is what Annie used to call it as Isaac happily informed his classmates his first year of school at Queen of Angels, just down the road. Not much has changed.
My shoes are now loaded up as I carefully place them in the hatch after rolling the kayak into the water. I push off, do my stretches and glide into the tules (toolies). The first one I pull comes after slight resistance, so I know now is the time. In the next few days I will return to harvest some to dry and later made into baskets, hats and ..?
I paddle on. A brief visit to the summer program for special needs kids at the Moose Lodge.
Unfortunately they are out at the moment, I'll have to come back ungarbed.
Back in the boat I cruise past more stands of tule, cattail and another reed blooming with yellow and black flower balls. I'll bring my camera next time. there are frogs everywhere,dropping down as I glide past with a slight "plonk" the water momentarily clearing of the peasoup like algae that restricts seeing past the first 4 inches.
Some of the tule has been draped in the prolific weeds that grow below the surface, like netting as the spears rose up from the mud, captured as the water evaporates or is pumped onto the local farmers fields.
An enormous eye looks up at me, the unopened flower of the water lily , they too are draped and clothed in this thick, netlike dense collection of water weed, the pads hung over, enclosed and breaking through the drying vegetation. Little flies and waterstriders skip across the scum and debris as I chase a Great Blue Heron along the shore. Eventually he/she flies out of the reeds onto a snag and I glide by avoiding eye contact. I'm blown away (somewhat) when what looks like a Golden Eagle flies over and around me.
My compass reads 0" I am heading straight north towards Saltspring Island. The perspective down this low is remarkable. I cannot tell where I am in relation to the roads. I'm looking into waterfront properties, some with landscaped water access, docks and boat houses, others a jumble of bulldozed material and the default response, low maintenance willows, reeds and cottonwoods. A huge acreage of farmland then back to the high end houses some as close to water as possible.
On the south side of the lake developers have condos lining the sward interspersed with older houses none of them modest. The lake however remains the same, the reeds and brush lining and dipping in punctuated by great "fields' of water lilies, cattails and the tule in isolated clumps. An Osprey calls and flaps its great wings up onto the thinnest of branches in a big cottonwood snag.
As I approach the park a small child on the swing tries to get his mother's attention as he spots me. I wave, he waves back.

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