June 25, 2016: A lap around Paugus Bay

After last weekend’s 10-miler, I needed to give my body a little break from hiking (which is really hard, because there’s not much better than being out on a trail). I love kayaking nearly as much, and after checking the weather forecast Friday morning, it looked like Saturday was shaping up to be the perfect kayaking day.

I was a good girl and didn’t stay up too late on Friday night, so that I could get up bright and early Saturday morning, and after a quick little breakfast I was on the water by 5:45 AM. Why so early? Avoiding all the boat traffic! Only a handful went by during my paddle, and there were many quiet, calm moments between.

The water was nice and calm when I started out, and there was hardly any wind at all. Forecast said 1-2mph, and that seemed pretty accurate. I did my usual thing and paddled around the docks, around Cass Point, and up along the western side of Paugus Bay. I wanted to paddle at least as far as Pickerel Cove, which is nearly at the other end of Paugus Bay. Just a little further beyond that is the Weirs channel, which passes under a bridge, the other side of which is the main body of Lake Winnipesaukee.

As I paddled to the north, only a couple of boats passed by – a fisherman or two, and a couple others on the far side of the bay. Oh, and a couple really annoying jetskis. They go way faster than the boats do, and every time I see one I want to holler, “cheater!” (Yeah, when I was younger I thought they looked pretty fun, but as long as I’m able, I find it much more satisfying to get somewhere under the power of my own body.)

Near the north end of Long Bay (a gated community, not a body of water), I spotted an enormous gaggle of geese along the shore. I didn’t count them all, but there were at least 25 or maybe 30 of them.

Just beyond Long Bay and before Pickerel Cove (an actual body of water), there’s a beautiful section of shoreline that’s part of the Paugus Bay State Forest. It’s a bit rocky there, though, so I don’t get too close.

After passing the state forest land, there’s an archway under the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad tracks, which leads into Pickerel Cove. I’ve never been back there, but maybe this is the summer I will paddle through that archway. There are some homes around Pickerel Cove, but not many, since it’s small.

Past Pickerel Cove, there is a stretch of shoreline with more houses, then Chattle Cove on the other side of the railroad tracks, and finally Paugus Bay Campground, before the bay narrows heading into the Weirs channel. When I got about halfway between Pickerel and Chattle coves, I noticed how quiet and calm it still was, and decided today would be the perfect day to finally cross the bay and paddle back along the eastern side.

It was well worth it to get a different view of the bay than I usually do, and I was even rewarded with a loon sighting. It could very well be the same one I saw twice last week, as it was headed toward the opposite side of the bay. After watching the loon briefly, I continued along, passing by the Margate resort, which seems to have a wedding tent up all summer long. Just past the Margate is a large cemetery, bordered by trees along the shoreline. Here, the water became much more shallow; I could actually see the bottom, and the water appeared to be only three to five feet deep. (It also made me a little nervous. For some odd reason, unless I’m right at the shore, looking at the bottom of the lake from a kayak freaks me out a bit. Like I’m afraid of what I might see under the water? I have no clue.) After a short bit, the water became deeper again and I could no longer see the bottom.

Then, I spotted the seaplane at its dock! Apparently they didn’t have any early flights scheduled today, since I didn’t see anyone around it. Several times now, I’ve seen it flying low overhead, just before landing or just after takeoff, and I’ve even seen it take off from the lake as I’ve been out paddling. It’s a pretty fun thing to watch, and I’d love to see the lake from the air someday.

IMG_4125From here, it was a pretty straight shot across the bay to the docks by Cass Point, and I headed back to shore. Definitely one of the most perfect ways to spend a couple hours early on a Saturday morning! Total time was 2:15, and the total distance was 6.5 miles. I was paddling pretty much the whole time, except for stopping long enough to take a picture or swat at a bug.



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