In between flying to Boston and staying in Vermont, we spent a couple nights at a lakeside Airbnb in Stoddard, New Hampshire. This house was down a dirt road in the woods. Quite remote from town, but not from other homes as the shore of the lake was pretty well surrounded by houses. Some seemed older and somewhat humble, but most looked quite nice with a few appearing new and gigantic.
The Airbnb we stayed in on Highland Lake had a couple kayaks and a paddle boat out in the backyard for guests to use. A dry-entry platform for kayaks next to the dock was half covered by the paddle boat, but there was still room enough at the end to hold a kayak while getting into it. Highland Lake is a 697-acre lake sprawling between two counties in southwestern New Hampshire. It’s popular for summer activities and winter snowmobiling.
Our visit was during October. Too cold for swimming, but we took the two kayaks out for a paddle around the area of the lake near to the house. It’s definitely still in use at that time of year as we saw other kayaks as well as a sort of party barge type boat full of people, and a bass boat with a lone fisherman. Also a small boat that the people were rowing when we first saw it, but under engine power later. The lake is classified as a warm water fishery and is home to several species of fish of the sort that can survive under winter’s ice.
Of the home’s two kayaks, John had the blue one and I had the red. Both were one-person kayaks. We paddled across the channel to the scenic bridge linking the island where the bnb host lives to a smaller uninhabited one, around the owner’s island, and into a shallow cove on the other side of a neighboring peninsula.
The water in the little cove stayed calm and flat even when a sudden short burst of wind brought heavy ripples to the surrounding area. All of the near shore areas seemed pretty shallow. There were lots of lilypads with no frogs on them. We did not see any frogs at all. Some areas also had seagrass or milfoil, which liked to tangle itself around the kayak paddles.
The weather was one of those sort of if you don’t like it wait 5 minutes days. It could be sunny, windy, or overcast one minute and something completely different the next. The water had a bit of a current going, which got noticeably stronger anytime the wind picked up. It wasn’t much of a hindrance to paddling but setting the paddle down to take any photos meant drifting sometimes speedily toward shore, rocks, the other kayak, or other obstacles so being aware of the surroundings and not just the object of the photo was always important. I have a waterproof camera, but not a floating strap and it would probably be impossible to find if it went overboard and sank so I wore my running belt which is normally for holding a water bottle and kept the camera snugly zipped into the belt’s pocket. It stayed safe there, and had no chance of getting lost even if something disastrous like the kayak flipping over had happened – which it didn’t.
Most of our time out on the lake it was just us. We saw a bit of fall foliage in the surrounding trees, though more had yet to turn than the amount of them that already had. The party barge passed by close enough that we had to cross its wake, but the waves it made were fairly small. Big enough to feel them, but small enough not to cause any sort of problems. The other two boats we saw out there didn’t get that close and neither did any other kayaks.
We had fun paddling around the lake. It’s the first time I’d been in a kayak since our Uncruise around the San Juan Islands, which happened shortly after I broke my arm inside the elbow joint and was under strict instructions by both my doctor and physical therapist not to paddle. I could only ride as a passenger in a 2-person kayak that trip.
Luckily, I can paddle now. Though I don’t have quite full range of motion and have a bit of nerve damage that extends to the fingers of that hand, it appears perfectly normal and none of it is enough that anyone else would ever notice since nobody ever pays attention to whether or not a person can fully straighten or fully bend their arm – and people rarely do either one anyway. I’ll never do a chin-up or anything similar again, but that’s not life hampering for me. It would probably devastate my daughter and granddaughter though since they are into ninja warrior competitions and that requires a lot of arm strength.
The biggest issue for me is that before the break I could make properly folded towel animals with the towels rolled tightly enough to hold them together on their own, but ever since I haven’t had the finger strength or dexterity to do that and have to hide rubber bands beneath folds on the heads to hold them together. The crowning glory of towel animals on my blog is the fire breathing dragon, which besides being my own invention, was the last one I made before the broken arm.
Anyway, I’ve wandered a bit off the subject of kayaking around a lake, but some things end up bringing back memories by association. Kayaking is a lot of fun so I’m glad to be perfectly capable of paddling one by myself now. Cruising doesn’t get any smaller than this!