A peaceful evening paddling under the moonlight.

Full Moon Paddle

Yesterday’s paddle trip was a special recreational offering by HWRC and a gem of an experience.  Most of the paddle trips we offer are distance paddle trips starting at ‘point A’ and ending, many hours later, at ‘point B’.  This summer, our paddle trips have included challenging lake crossings, interesting encounters of wildlife, a stretch of residential use, and high traffic on the river.  Each of these occurrences have added to the excitement, spurred great conversations, and increased the educational value of the trips.  But yesterday the water was calm, our surroundings were natural, and we had the lakes to ourselves!  However, we did see many fantastic birds, and thanks to Dea Armstrong (City of Ann Arbor Ornithologist) we kept a trip list to record our sightings!  Our trip list of birds includes a hummingbird, purple martins, and a family of sand hill cranes!

Pickerel Lake

The trip started out on the tiny beach at Pickerel Lake in the Pinckney Recreation Area.  With a small group of paddlers, we gathered together out on the water for an educational discussion led by Barry Lonik on how the local landscape was formed by glaciers thousands of years ago.  He also explained how this area was first settled and how the land in the Pinckney Recreation Area was later protected from development.  In the middle of lake and in the middle of our discussion, a pair of swimmers joined us to explain how the Friends of Pickerel Lake fought to eliminate motorized boat use on the lake!  What a great success for the health of the lake and for its visitors!  After the discussion, our group leisurely paddled around the lake, exploring banks strewn with sedges, reeds, and tamaracks.  We had a great group of folks on the water who savored their surroundings and enjoyed the relaxed nature of the trip.

Sand Hill Cranes at Crooked Lake

From Pickerel Lake, we paddled through a narrow channel lined with pickerelweed, arrowhead, purple fringed orchids, and lily pads.  Barry led us through this channel to Crooked lake, where we got our first glimpse of the full moon and saw a family of sand hill cranes feeding in the lily pads.  We observed them for a while as they fed near their nest and then continued paddling to Crooked Lake Campground.  HRWC staff member Pam Labadie was waiting for us at our campsite with a roaring campfire, s’mores fixings, and plenty of chairs to rest.  Upon the request of Dea Armstrong, many of us made our s’mores with potato chips stuffed in between the marshmallow and chocolate!  Salty-Sweet, as Dea would say.  We all enjoyed the fire into the evening and paddled back to Pickerel Lake under the moonlight.  Thanks to everyone for a great trip!

Potato Chip S'mores

NOTE: the last two paddle trips are  full and registration is closed. Please join us next summer!

If you have any suggestions for summer recreation events, please contact Emily at recreation@hrwc.org.