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:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Nippy Cruise on Lake Alvin

With the season quickly slipping away, it seems imperative to take advantage of any reasonable opportunity for another cruise.  So, with a decent forecast ahead, last night I loaded up my kayak in readiness for a rendezvous with Dave Finck and DeDa Odekirk this morning at Lake Alvin.
I arrived at the public access area on the south end of the lake first and gazed out over a smooth body of water with no wind and a midst drifting off with the early sun. Soon, first Dave and then DeDa arrived, and we set off heading south toward the entrance to Nine-Mile Creek.
It was chilly as we set off; the temperature was in the low 30s, and we were wearing hats, jackets, and gloves. 
We moved up into Nine-Mile Creek through water deep enough to make it an easy passage, even around the left bank and into the main channel of the creek.
We saw only a few birds along the way, mostly ducks or small duck-like birds that quickly few off upon our approach.  Otherwise, it seemed as though much of the bird life had departed for more a more agreeable climate further south.
The effect of a frost was evident in the grasses along the bank.  This was my first sight of frost this year, although we have already moved delicate plant life away from our yard and deck in preparation for the deepening chill of the fall.
We passed under the bridge and continued upstream until the normal blockage at a small rapids about a mile up the creek.  I continued upstream until grounding my kayak on rocks and had some trouble turning around for the return downstream.
The trip back downstream went smoothly, and soon we found ourselves entering back into the main body of the lake.
We moved north on the lake along the right bank and continued up to the north end by the fishing pier.  From there, we moved across the lake and paddled up the channel leading to the spillway.  It seemed to us that there was about 18 inches more water in the channel than this time last year.  The water was flowing across the top of the spillway today; last year, Dave Finck and I were able to rest our arms on the top of the spillway and look down the precipitous drop of 30 or 40 feet.
Backing out of the channel, we continued our return to the public access area on the southern end of the lake.
We spent about two and a half hours on the water this morning.  By the time we pulled out our kayaks, the temperature had risen into the 40s and a light wind had begun blowing across the lake.  While paddling, I did not notice the cold temperature or any wind.  Standing around as I loaded up the kayak, however, I began to feel a deep chill throughout my body.  I have often repeated the old saying: “There is no inclement weather, there is only inappropriate dress.”  Well, I was wearing only a thin long sleeved shirt and a thin nylon jacket.  That was inappropriate dress, and I experienced a penetrating chill.  Next time, I will be better prepared!
A complete set of the photographs taken on this cruise can be found on my Flickr page at the following URL:

No comments: