Wildlife Wonderland

First off, we are so sorry about such a long pause in blog posts. We needed a break – life in a pandemic and the whirlwind of all that comes along with that phrase had us stressed and in a much needed time-out from things. And while we are still in the midst of all of it, we are feeling that life is a bit (a tiny bit) more manageable. Anyway, we hope our readers are doing okay and to kick off our “back to blogging”, we have a fun wildlife filled canoe trip to tell you about.

Last weekend, we realized that we hadn’t paddled in a year! So a few quick google searches we found a few lakes in the Lyman, NH area that we’ve had our eyes on for awhile. We wanted to steer clear of the overly crowded lakes like Partridge and Ogontz, but there were a few ponds in between called Round and Dodge that looked promising. Andrew looked on google earth and saw what looked like a pull off downstream from Partridge Lake that looked promising.

We drove around Patridge Lake and easily found that pull off with room for a few cars on what some maps called Round Pond. Other maps only showed this as a stream, but the pull off had a “Stop Invasives” sign from NHDES, a clear path down to the water, and what looked like slow, wide, and shallow waters. Perfect for paddling.

We packed up our gear, slid into the water, and immediately saw a log full of painted turtles. They quickly slid into the water and we hoped we would find more. The water was shallow here and small fish were abundant.

We paddled downstream toward Dodge Pond and were delighted to find log after log covered in painted turtles of all kinds. The water was clear and we easily saw fish hiding among the vegetation. Belted kingfishers called overhead as we paddled onward. Andrew thought that the water was so clear despite being in a bog-like area probably since it flowed out of the deep and clear waters of Partridge Lake.

The water started to get deeper and the fish were bigger. Lindsay remarked at how important this entire wetland complex was for the entire wildlife community. Big groups of whirligig beetles circled around our canoe and dragonflies buzzed overhead.

In a particularly narrow spot in this long pond, a cormorant swam alongside us, dipping into the water and popping up again nearby.

Just as the cormorant swam away, we spotted a great blue heron standing tall and still on a log. We floated by quickly and quietly in hopes that we wouldn’t disturb it.

Eventually, the water opened up into a larger pond with many camps surrounding it. Some occupied with Labor Day visitors enjoying the beautiful day. We paddled all the way to the end – to the spill dam and public access. Turns out the Town of Lyman provides a public boat access with several parking spaces at this location that, but we rather enjoyed our journey to get to this spot.

We opted for a quick lunch break and then slid back into the water for the return trip.

Meadowhawk dragonflies seemed to really like landing on us and Alden enjoyed taking pictures of them. As we headed back into the narrow section, the great blue heron quietly soared toward us. It unfolded its’ huge wings and flapped a few times, opting to stay just 20 feet from the water’s surface.

The turtles that slid into the water as we passed them on our way by, were back up on their logs – ready to slide or ungracefully fall back into the water as we passed them again. We admired some of the widest pitcher plants we’d ever seen.

There was one other boat out while we were out paddling for a few hours. It was peaceful and such a wonderful wildlife sighting day. After we packed up and put the boat back on the truck, we drove past where we had just paddled and noted many more boats out (kayakers and stand up paddlers). Lucky for us, we seemed to have timed it just right.

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