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Kayaking Lake Pleasant
Lake Pleasant Regional Park
September 28, 2022
by Norma Scott

After postponing original September 7 kayak due to Excessive Heat Warnings, on a clear Wednesday September 28, 2022, six AZ Trailblazers met at Lake Pleasant Castle Creek Boat ramp. At 7:30 AM it was 78° as we paddled into new territory exploring the north lakeshore along Bass and Goose Bays. It was very apparent lake levels had dropped significantly since our earlier trip, as were many new islands and shallows to negotiate. The park had placed so many buoys marked “Hazardous Area” in the north lake area that we lost count.

group
Trailblazers ready to start paddling. [photo by Norma]
Ron, Sonny, Roger, Norma, Anna, Chuck
group
Trailblazers ready to start paddling. [photo by Sonny]
Roger, Norma, Chuck, Anna, Ron.
hikers
Norma, Chuck and Roger. [photo by Sonny]

The lake was mirrorlike calm with no wind, perfect paddling conditions as we started out. There were number of Turkey Vultures sunning themselves watching our group, as we headed out north across Castle Creek. We had the lake to ourselves, it seemed, without the usual motorboat roars until after break around 10:30 AM. We marveled at how clear the water was.

The group kept a casual pace with plenty of socializing, watching wildlife, and enjoying the cooler peaceful morning. Wildlife we saw consisted of burros with their foals, a very well fed coyote, snowy egrets, blue heron, cormorants, turkey vultures, bass jumping at insects, rabbits and the usual assortment of ducks.

burrows
Burros on the lakeshore. [photo by Norma]
coyote
A well-fed coyote. [photo by Norma]
bird
Blue Heron. [photo by Norma]
hikers
Sonny and Roger in matching green kayaks trying to sneak up on wildlife. [photo by Norma]

After 3.25 miles we pulled to shore for break at Goose Bay and were greeted by a burro braying loudly. He just kept grazing at a distance and otherwise ignored us. It felt good to get out of our kayaks and stretch, although with the lake so low the shoreline with shade and good sitting rocks was quite a few yards away. Two snowy egrets gave us a little show flying around our break spot.

boats
Taking a break at Goose Bay. [photo by Sonny]
Chuck
Chuck taking a break from paddling. [photo by Norma]

After the break we headed on back, taking a more direct route without going into all the bays we explored on the way in. After a short time we reached the main lake fringes and the wind-swept waves caught us. Norma tried to use her new anemometer to find the wind speed multiple times. But as soon as she stopped paddling to measure wind, the wind and waves took her kayak and had to abort the attempt. The highest reading caught was 18 mph gusts, but some may have been higher.

Sonny and his brother Roger paddled fast and surfed some waves with their fishing kayaks across Castle Creek to the boat ramp. Ron and Anna led the pack in their tandem kayak paddling in sync had less difficulty in the choppy water. Chuck showed he was back in good form after hand surgery taking the slow and steady approach. Norma wishes she’d pulled to one of those islands and taken down her canopy, as it added a lot of drag in the wind. We got our exercise in paddling hard to get back to the boat ramp, but all made it for a total of 6 miles kayaking this fine day.

view
Lovely scenery surrounds us. [photo by Norma]

Four kayakers ate dockside at Scorpion Bay Grill at noon, opting to eat inside out of the wind and heat that had risen to 95° at take out.

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updated October 15, 2022