This blog is designed to highlight the paddling opportunities within South Dakota, mainly within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls. While Sioux Falls is far from the adventure of coastal regions, there is a certain satisfaction in utilizing the available waterways to observe weather, water conditions, and the landscape along the shoreline. In addition, there is a wealth of animal life on the waters of small South Dakota lakes, rivers, and creeks, including geese, ducks, pelicans, great blue heron, egrets, hawks, owls, perching birds, deer, raccoons, and beaver. Eagles, fox, and coyote are also sometimes spotted.
The sites described are places where I have kayaked over the past few years, mostly in South Dakota but sometimes including locations in Iowa and Minnesota. One of the best sources of information on the accessibility of small lakes is the South Dakota Atlas and Gazetteer, the large map book of South Dakota. Lakes with a public access are generally identified by a boat symbol marking the location of a launching site on public land.
You will notice the menu of paddling locations on the right side of the blog. Each of the postings is linked to one of the areas, and my intention is to provide a continuing review of the places where I paddle. Perhaps these narratives will help readers select waterways of interest to them. Please feel free to offer a comment regarding any of my postings; I would welcome the dialog.
I also maintain a companion blog that describes hiking opportunities within the Sioux Falls area. You can access that blog at: http://hikingsiouxfalls.blogspot.com
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
A Return to Familiar Waters: Lake Alvin – Late August 2010
My son, Derek, called last night and asked if I was available to go out kayaking this morning with him. After kicking back for a week after my days in the Boundary Waters, I was happy to take him up on the notion. We tossed the Folbot into the back seat of my Honda Civic, loaded up the Dagger on the roof-rack, and headed out to Lake Alvin about 9:30 a.m.
It has been very hot and humid in Sioux Falls over the past few days, and today was a gift: light winds, sunny skies, and a temperature in the 70s. It was a wonderful day, especially on a weekday during “working hours.” The lake was nearly deserted, as is usually the case on weekdays after school has begun.
We arrived at the public access area of the lake and headed south into Nine-Mile Creek. The water level is high, and there was no trouble making it around the southeastern point leading into the mouth of the creek. It was pleasant moving up this increasingly narrow waterway towards the set of rapids that ends further navigation.
After reaching the rapids, we then turned around and cruised easily back down the creek to the main body of the lake. From there, we paddled to the northern shore of the lake and turned into the channel leading to the spillway.
Going back down the lake to the access point, there was a head wind, not enough to cause any strain but just enough to be refreshing after so many hot sticky days here in SD.
We spent a couple of hours paddling the length of Nine-Mile Creek and the main body of Lake Alvin. This was a great time to chat, observe the shore conditions, and experience the sensation of moving across the water.
Derek again reminded me of how accessible Lake Alvin is to our home and of how easy it is to take a nice kayak cruise without spending much time on the road. From driveway to the put-in is less than 15 minutes!