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
Monday, June 06, 2011
Kayaking with Derek - Lake Alvin, June 2011
What can be better than spending a couple of hours kayaking with your adult son on an area lake! My son, Derek, called last night and asked if I was up to a kayak cruise on Lake Alvin. This morning he arrived on a bicycle at our home by 9:00 a.m., and I had the kayaks all loaded up: my 13 foot dagger on top of the car, and the Folbot Aleut bagged up and on the rear seat of our Honda Civic hybrid.
When we arrived at the public access area on the northwestern end of the lake, the temperature was already near 90 degrees and there was only a whisper of wind; the lake was nearly mirror calm. There were a couple of fishing boats out on the lake, and from a distance we saw someone launching a kayak.
We headed northeast on the lake, keeping to the southeastern shore, trying in vain to find some shade under the tree cover.
As we moved to the northeastern end, just to the right of the fishing dock, we ran into a herd of cattle trying to cool off in the lake. This is not a sight that I have seen before on Lake Alvin, although part of the land on the eastern shoreline is private property. Derek was amused by the loud conversation among the cows as more of them crowded into the shallow water.
We continued into the spillway, just to check out the flow and the scene. There was a brown coating on sections of the lake today, sort of like algae, but brown rather than green. I think this was apparent because of the exceptional calm over the surface of the lake. A few people were visible on the swimming beach soaking up some rays.
Our return to the southern end took us past the public access dock and into Nine Mile Creek. We crossed under the bridge and stopped for a few minutes to observe the cliff swallows in their pouch shaped mud nests. I could see heads peeking out of the entrance hole of the nests and clouds of birds flying in the nesting area under the bridge.
As I normally do on a Lake Alvin cruise, we continued up the creek to the point where it narrows down into a rocky channel. There was plenty of depth to the water today. We did not see much in the way of animal life, except for a few jumping fish, an occasional turtle, and lots of perching birds. I guess that it was just too scorching outside for animals to hang about on the shoreline.
This was the first cruise of the year for the Folbot. It went together easily today and seemed eager to get back on the water after so many months resting in bags within the backyard shed.
It was altogether a fine day.