Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Clear Lake

I had a wonderful weekend with my daughter and the Sacramento Sea Kayakers at the Clear Lake Campout which SSK hosted. It was a great opportunity to meet new people and paddle another outstanding location in Northern California.

This trip provided a chance for my daughter and I to test some new camping gear and evaluate whether this type of trip is something Delta Kayak Adventures should offer. We learned a lot from this brief trip. For example, we discovered our new sleeping bags are nowhere near warm enough to sleep in a tent in 40 degree weather. Also, your tent will be a little warmer if you remember to close the vents. I learned that I'm not a huge fan of freeze dried food but that it does fill you up. I also found out that if I drop my fishing line into a school of about 100 large fish, they still won't bite. Despite the disappointments this was a great trip that I will surely do again!

We arrived at Clear Lake State Park early Friday afternoon and we were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the park was and how friendly the rangers were. I had read Yelp reviews and they were very mixed.  Blue oak, foothill pine, California black walnut and numerous other trees dot the landscape and many animals call this place home. On a short hike my daughter and I counted over 30 turtles, a dozen squirrels, half a dozen deer and hundreds of lizards. That night we discovered racoons are also present and a couple of them tried escaping with my deck back which contained a half bag of Doritos. Thankfully we were able to retrieve my bag and it was undamaged.

In the evening Amanda and I paddled Kelsey slough and explored the edges of the lake that surround the entrance to Kelsey slough. We spotted about a dozen white pelicans resting on a gravel bar. We discovered another slough and paddled into it and saw many turtles and a couple of deer walking through the dense foliage. It was a lovey start to the weekend.

After thawing out Saturday morning our group headed to Rodman Slough, located in the northern area of Clear Lake. We launched across the road from Rodman Slough County Park. The weather was perfect with temps in the mid to upper 70's and a very light breeze at our back. We headed north until we could paddle no further then turned around and found another branch to explore which led us through an amazing rookery of Blue heron. We stopped for a few minutes and watched in amazement as a Mommy and Daddy heron brought something to eat for a baby heron. I'd never seen anything like it except for on TV.  We ended up paddling a little over 9 miles for the day and went back to camp to enjoy a potluck dinner.

On Sunday some of the group went on to paddle "the Narrows" but I decided to hang out at the park and paddle Soda Bay and do a little fishing while Amanda went for a hike. The water was like glass except for the spots close to the rocky shore where carbon dioxide bubbled to the surface. Clear Lake has a lot of history and there is much to learn and explore. I didn't catch any fish but really enjoyed the peaceful surroundings and Amanda got some amazing photos while on her hike. She even had a spider photo bomb one of her pics.

Can you spot the spider?                                                                                         Photo by Amanda Bunton

I would highly recommend visiting Clear Lake for a paddling adventure, especially during the Spring when the water is clear. The water does get very green with algae in the summer and it is busy with lots of skiers and other visitors. Konocti Regional Trails has a great site with maps and descriptions of some water trails they have developed. Keep an eye on my calendar as you may find a Clear Lake adventure on it next spring!

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