Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snodgrass Slough

We paddled until we could paddle no more. It was a stunning day on the Delta for our "Wednesday Wandering."

We launched from Delta Meadows in Locke at 10:25 am with high tide predicted for 11:49 am at New Hope. The small boat ramp was surrounded by some tiny green plant life floating on the surface but it was easy enough to paddle through. There wasn't much hyacinth which was my main concern because it can make launching or landing impossible. The sun was shining brightly and there was no breeze to speak of as we paddled north on Snodgrass Slough.

Our plan was to see how far up the slough we could get and see if we could reach Stone Lakes. We paddled with purpose as a sea lion surfaced behind and then passed below us. We continued to follow him most of the trip up the slough. The sounds of Sandhill Cranes soon filled the air and as we looked above we saw a flock of at least two dozen pass overhead. A Red Tail Hawk circled above the glassy water and Cormorants spread their wings to dry as they rested on bare branches. Greater and Lesser Egrets, Night Heron and a Great Blue Heron  also blessed us with their presence. Turtles leaped off half submerged logs as we paddled quietly past them and hundreds of coots accompanied our journey. The day was filled with almost magical encounters with God's precious creatures.

We entered the heart of Snodgrass Slough after passing under the Twin Cities bridge. The levies were lined with varying types of trees and brush. Tule also hugged the edges of the levee and blackberry bushes abounded. The waterway itself widened and it felt like we were on a small lake. The slough is surrounded by farmland and we came upon a couple of places that looked as if they could be parks but in actuality were private property with signs posted no trespassing. We paddled on and the slough became narrower with each progressive stroke. Tree branches hung over the water and small side channels appeared like private rooms beckoning to be explored. After paddling a little over 6 miles we finally reached a dam and could go no further. We exited our boats and climbed a steep hill to see what was on the other side of the dam. We had made it to the edge of Stone Lakes.

We returned to our boats and headed back to a spot we felt would make a good lunch spot under the shade of some trees. After refueling we paddled with the current back to the put in. We met our sea lion friend halfway back and it looked like he found a good fishing spot so he was too busy filling his tummy to take notice of us. We almost missed the channel that would take us back to Delta Meadows which reminded me to be sure and take note of landmarks when paddling this area. It's easy to get lost in this beautiful mesmerizing stretch of the Delta.

Join us for an adventure on the California Delta!

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