I had been paddling on Lake Cunningham twice in as many weeks, so I decided it was time to give our little backyard lake another try. Large snapping turtles and burrowing water rodents had made a mess of our bank, so I really don’t have a good canoe/kayak launch anymore. Also, the siltation has gotten really bad since the last time I paddled, and I wasn’t sure if there would be a clear route out of our little channel. However, I was determined to give it a try, even if I had to drag the kayak out into the main body.
The lake behind our house looks more like a little stream than a body of water. It opens up to the east, but the silt has really filled things in on the upper end of the lake. Fortunately, our little channel is fairly deep, so I knew I had enough room to at least get started. I set the kayak on the bank and slid into the water. At least launching was easy.
I scraped bottom a bit get on out into the lake. I had to paddle closer to our bank under a very low-hanging tree, but I made it. I was actually surprised at the amount of clearance in our channel. Out on the lake proper it wasn’t deep at all. Most of the lake is only 3-4 feet deep, with it deeper than I could measure with my paddle near the dam. The lake is large enough so that I could get a good workout if I paddle laps around it, which I did a couple of times. As I paddled a white heron flew around the lake, and kingfishers fussed at me.
Even though just about every house on this lake has a canoe, I hardly ever see anyone out hear. I guess they think that the lake is just too dirty or too shallow to make paddling worthwhile. As such, someone on the lake tends to get attention. I waved at startled neighbors as I made my circuits.
I paddled on up to a cove on the other side of the lake where my neighbor races remote-controlled sailboats. I startled a couple of huge snapping turtles. This cove was in danger of silting in, but a new channel seems to have been cut to replenish the water . I’m not sure how much of this is natural, but I know that winter storms helped it along. I entered the channel and paddled as far as I could, which wasn’t much.
Leaving the channel on far side of the lake, I paddle around to our side of the lake. The end just west of us used to be very very shallow, but more open. That section has narrowed, but the main path through there is now deeper. Another channel leads across the lake, so I headed that way. I used to be able to paddle much further back on this little stream, but now vegetation has choked off my route. I retraced my steps back to our bank.
Getting out of the kayak was more of a challenge than launching. The bottom of the lake here is muddy silt, and I wasn’t confident with my toes exposed in sandals with big snappers lurking. I stepped out and promptly sank into mud up to my ankles. I wound up crawling onto our bank very ungracefully, dragging my boat behind me.
Despite the silt, low water, and vegetation it was a good paddle. I’ll have to do this more often. In the meantime, here is a slideshow of the photos I took along the way…
One thought on “Paddling Lake Fairfield”
It’s a shame that there isn’t a way to remove the silt from lakes like this (or Saluda Lake, for that matter) without breaking the bank. Everything simply costs so much today that nothing can be afforded to be done. At the same time, that silted in area likely has a really cool ecosystem going, which has value in itself.