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Archive for December, 2013

Ashmere Lake – Hinsdale, MA

As I’m always looking for a new spot to kayak, I joined the Western Mass Kayaking Meet-Up group. Sadly it looks like most of their trips are either during the week or on the weekends in the afternoon. I’m an early morning kayaker so I may have to wait for a vacation or until I retire to do a few meet-ups with the group. Anyway, I was intrigued by Dotty’s description of Ashmere Lake. It sounded like it was my kinda lake with some nice areas to explore.

Mallard waiting for???

Mallard waiting for???

So on a beautiful Sunday morning in August, maps in hand, Don and I were off! We set our sites on Ashmere Lake. It’s a fairly long drive for us, over an hour, but the back roads winding through the countryside made it a pleasure.

When we arrived we looked for access as there was no public boat launches marked on the map. We tried a few side streets but ended up at a nice put-in right where Route 147 where it intersects the lake. We should have tried that spot first. There’s room for several cars and it’s a short carry down to the lake. There were a few fishermen which to me means, if there are fish, there will be birds!

Another Great Blue - I'm just visiting!!!

Another Great Blue – I’m just visiting!!!

We first put off to the south where we could see a fairly wide open expanse, we explored an open cove but then decided to head north through the culvert as the map indicated there would be a more interesting shoreline to explore in the northern section. Sure enough, Dotty was right in her description of the lake, the first cove we explored on the left was beautiful. A few houses tucked back on shore with great little wharfs and a well manicured walking path complete with a Great Blue Heron who looked like he owned it. I already didn’t want to leave… But, there was more to see. We continued northward hugging the shore and enjoying the Sunday morning calm of the lake. Once again I am longing to own any of the lakeside houses, all so inviting.

Camp Taconic - (Photo Credit - Don Samson)

Camp Taconic – (Photo Credit – Don Samson)

As morning progressed we began to hear the stir of many children and then the screams of excitement as they cheered for their favorite soccer team. We were drawn to a large camp which was positioned on the slope of a small hill which spilled into the lake. On one side we see the game going on and on the other side a collection of docks with many teams of kids participating in a variety of water games. The camp up on the hill was quite nice with quaint log cabins laid out all in a row. I later learned that this was Camp Taconic. I joked with a fisherman in a small rowboat what a nice “little rich kid” camp that was, he laughed in agreement.

The journey begins!

The journey begins!

Paddling back to the south we explored one of the many inlets. There was a big old Great Blue Heron that drew me in to the cattails. After he flew away I found a nice little water channel winding into the thick grove, I couldn’t resist… I paddled into the channel fighting my way every foot. I felt like I was Humphrey Bogart trying to get the African Queen out of the river to freedom. Great movie, but I could do without the leaches! Anyway, crazy as I am, I finally hit the end of the road not seeing anything of real significance. Time to turn around. Oh,,, that’s not possible when the water way is only the width of your kayak! Oh, but the adventure, and the memories of Bogart and Hepburn!

Heading back through the culvert between the north and south I realized how narrow it was, too small for any good size boats, in fact it is kinda tight even for a kayak but keeping your paddles tight its’ fine. I was sorry to leave and found myself wishing it was closer to home. Even still, I will return.

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