The 2011 Season Starts

posted Apr 21, 2011, 8:18 AM by Richard Sevenich   [ updated Apr 24, 2011, 9:07 AM ]
Kayaking here in the winter is not feasible, especially with a good stretch of ice between the shore and open water. Our ski season ended here on April 10, with about 14 feet of snow remaining at the peak. But all the ice is off the lake. Further, this winter's lake drawdown was only about 5 feet, so most launch sites are usable. This suggests that I would be kayaking on April 11. Unfortunately, wintry weather lingered, continuing to sap my motivation. Rain mixed with snow, often graupel, has been the norm.
Note in the above photo that the south facing ski runs on the right are still well covered on April 20. In some years, their snow has become sparse.

Finally, on April 20, I had my first short outing (maybe 1 1/2 hour) on the lake. It was dry, temperature around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and not windy. Dressed appropriately for cold water immersion, I rolled my kayak to 3rd Avenue Pier (3AP) to launch and made my way under the Long Bridge, then the long BNSF bridge, and into the mouth of Sandcreek - site of a short BNSF bridge and several new overpasses for the Sandcreek Bysore project. After stopping to stretch, I made my way back to 3AP.

Despite spending the whole outing on the edge of Sandpoint's civilization, I saw various congregations of water fowl - coots, western grebes, buffleheads, and so on. I also a raptor hovering over the water looking for fish. It was probably an early arriving osprey - I wasn't close enough for a positive identification. Here's a long shot of a Western Grebe:

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