Friday, August 26, 2011

Paddling Toward the End Of Summer

Hard to believe that it's been a month since we've had our hiking boots on.  Definitely past time to be back on the trails.  Even harder to believe that with August almost over we finally got the kayaks out of the shed and onto the water for the first time of the summer last weekend.  Fall is coming in a just a few more weeks and with it our favorite hiking season.  Better yet, it's the best time for peddling and paddling as well and with several shortened vacations this summer and a lot of vacation days left to take we plan to make the most of it on all three fronts!

Last weekend we got in our first ride of the summer on the East Bay Bike Path.  It was a beautiful day and a great ride combined with lunch at Quito's reminded us that we need to repeat this several more times in the fall. The next day we hauled the kayaks out, brushed off the dust and headed to our favorite fresh water RI location  - Beach Pond.  OK, technically most of the pond is in CT but close enough.  I didn't even bring the camera along so the only picture is the one from the phone during our stop at our favorite little island (which is really just a rock big enough for us and the kayaks).  We took a lazy paddle around the perimeter of the pond and enjoyed watching everyone who lives on the shore enjoying one of their final perfect summer weekends.  We stopped for lunch on the island and were lucky enough to find the blueberry bushes just loaded.  We ate our fill of them for dessert and left plenty behind for the next lucky visitors.  It felt great to be back out on the water again!

Lunch on our private island

Now that the kayaks had found their way out of the shed we couldn't wait to get back out again.  With hurricane Irene heading up the coast we didn't figure that we were going to get a good day for it, but the forecast for yesterday looked perfect and we decided to enjoy the calm before the storm at one of our very favorite RI paddling spots - Quonochontaug Pond in Charlestown.  When we got to the boat launch at 10am is was calm, sunny and HOT!  We paddled up into the east end of the pond and the water was like glass.  I always love this kind of smooth paddling but we actually found ourselves hoping for a breeze.

As we turned the corner the breeze began to pick up a bit and for the rest of the day it was perfect.  Just enough breeze to stay cool and nice conditions for paddling.  We stopped at "lunch rocks" for our lunch and a nice swim.  The water was just beautiful!!

Nat heading for "lunch rocks"

Thinking about jumping in?

Guess not - taking the easy way in

Water is beautiful!

I'm taking the fun way in!!

After lunch and our swim we headed along the north shore, admiring all of the beautiful waterfront homes and thinking how bad a place this is with the impending hurricane.  I was surprised not to see anyone working on storm-proofing the houses.  Hope they all make it OK.

That's a lot of glass to be facing right into the storm. 

After turning the corner at the west end of the pond we pulled up on the shore and headed across the dunes to Quonnie Beach.  This is an absolute hidden gem and we think it's the best beach in RI if not in all of New England.  The only way to get there is by boat on the pond or with a long walk from Weekapaug.  There still wasn't a cloud in the sky and the water was beautiful.  There were warnings about strong rip currents beginning before the storm but at that point there was just a bit of extra surf and a perfect time for a swim in the ocean.

Nat heading over the dunes

Just enough surf to be fun

Gorgeous beach!

Nat enjoying the day

Heading back through the beach roses to the pond

Heading back to the boat launch we explored several of the inlets into the dunes and salt marshes.  Quonnie Pond is just such a wonderful place to paddle on a day like this!  When we got back to the breachway it was slack tide and the water was like glass so we paddled out to the mouth and checked out the shore birds that were all hanging out along the banks.

Exploring the salt marsh

White Heron

Green Heron

Breachway is glassy at slack tide

Only house that was boarded up for the storm

Mouth of the breachway to the ocean

All in all a perfect day and a real bonus to catch "the calm before the storm".  Hopefully we'll be able to come back here in a few weeks and find everything the same.

The full photo album is here: