Sunday, September 11, 2011

Signs of Fall

Lower Lake Champlain

We woke up Sunday morning to a very fall like day. The previous night had been cold but the morning was pleasant. A layer of fog obscured the mountain tops. It made us feel like we were in a confined space.

Yesterday, we saw a V-flight of geese going over. That's the first time in several years that we saw that sight. In previous Octobers sailing on Champlain I remember seing the sky almost blackened by the huge number of geese and having the sound of their incessant honking becoming louder than the sound of wind and water. In recent years however, we migrate south before the geese migration arrives and in the spring we come north after the geese leave southern waters. I guess the V we saw yesterday were trailblazers.

Two weeks ago, on the main body of the lake we saw a mirage image of Valcour Island floating suspended in the sky. If the fall, such mirages are the norm. They are caused when the water is warmer than the air causing light to be refracted down toward the surface. Seeing them so early in September is not usual. Since that day, the temperature of the lake water dropped 20 degrees because of all the inflow or rain.

Again this morning we could see touches of color beginning to appear in the trees. Indeed, the colors seemed to emerge as we watched. Of course, that's an illusion. What we really saw was the illumination on the colors increase as the morning sun climbed over the ridge behind us.

What a crazy mixed up year. We have so much anxiety over being landlocked over the winter that we are actually departing 1.5 weeks ahead of our normal schedule. We also are having regrets about leaving the lake at all as we approach the nicest time of the year. However, we got word this morning that locks C5-C12 are open, C1-C4 still closed. We'll leave the lake in a few hours.

By the way, we anchored last night for the first time on the southern part of the lake. This area has its own special charm. The navigable part of the lake narrows to only 100 feet wide. On either side are extensive marshes. Not salt marshes but fresh water marshes, but they look like salt marshes. Flanking us east and west are mountains. The mountains here are much closer than those around the lake north of here. The closeup views are extra nice. 

Just over the mountain ridge to the west is Lake George, a lake more famous in some circles than even Champlain. 

To the south we see another east-west mountain ridge that marks the mandatory end of the lake. One can imagine 10000 years ago having glaciers forced to make a 90 degree turn at that location.

1 comment:

  1. Dick! Waxing a little poetic, are we? Red Wine or Scotch inspired? I like it!
    I hope you guys make it out of the lake/lock system - you have had a tremendous adventure up there over the summer and need to head south to brag about it!


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