Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Back to Cross Creek: Kayaking

I returned to Cross Creek Lake County Park yesterday for the first time since I served as a lost hiker for a mock search and rescue.  This time I went to the park to go kayaking.

Cross Creek Lake is a 258 acre Big Bass and a Panfish Enhancement Lake located in western Washington County, PA.  Horsepower is limited to 10 HP or less but that did not matter much yesterday afternoon because I saw only three small fishing boats during the hour and a half I was on the lake.  I almost felt like I had the lake to myself.

I put in at Lynn Portal Road Boat Launch primarily because it is the closet to where I am living, but unlike the County Park Road Boat Launch it also offers a low floating dock great for getting in and out of a kayak.  Since it is located in a shallow no-wake zone, entry into and exit from kayaks is easier.  There is a concrete handicapped parking pad next to the dock that makes it convenient to unload and load.  The main graveled parking lot is just a few yards above the dock, an easy walk.  A new restroom facility with one side dedicated to men and other to women sits at the end of the parking lot.  One or two picnic tables are nearby.  There was only one other car in the parking lot when I was there probably belonging to a couple fishing from the bank nearby.

With the sun shining brightly on the warm and humid afternoon I occasionally splashed my face and bare arms with water to cool down and made sure I stayed hydrated.  My paddle occasionally became tangled in weeds when paddling through shallow areas near shore but they were easily removed.

While paddling I saw fish in the clear water and a few jumping in the distance.  Several water birds rested on trees or bushes near shore until I approached and then they flew away.  Once, when paddling about fifteen yards from shore I saw some bushes move.  On closer inspection I saw a mother raccoon and three or four baby raccoons drinking from the lake.

While I did not explore every cove and inlet I did paddle from one end of the lake to the other, from the Lynn Portal Road Boat Launch to the breastworks at the opposite end of the lake and also an area where large earth moving equipment was excavating, perhaps developing a new use area.  During the hour and a half I was on the water I paddled 5.5 miles according to my GPS.

My paddle at Cross Creek Lake County Park was only my third paddle this season and the first time ever to paddle my Necky Chatham 17 on fresh water.  While I missed the expanse of Jamaica Bay, my former paddling location, I did not miss the Bay’s power boat traffic or occasional garbage.  Cross Creek Lake, in comparison, was almost pristine and secluded.

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