Paddling home

Although the local lakes and ponds have been in winter's icy grip for nearly half a year, the season has relented. On Friday, April 22, the ice finally went out and by the following afternoon; it appeared three out of every four vehicles on the road was car topping a canoe or small boat.

Obviously, the enduring winter season was no longer endearing and people just couldn't wait for it to end. It seemed that everyone was out searching for an open pond to paddle or a stream to fish.

Early season adventurers would be wise to scout potential locations, since there's still a lot of snow in the woods, mud on the trails and high water on the streams. Travelers should be prepared for sloppy conditions on land, and cautious of floating debris on the waters.

The combination of spring rains and snowmelt has already served to kick off the annual whitewater season. Rafters can again be found on the mighty Hudson, while kayakers seek out the swollen creeks.

The spring melt always gets me excited, and I have long possessed an affinity for rushing waters. I grew up surrounded by streams and rivers, with a small brook in our backyard and a larger stream, just across the street.

The two flows join with the larger Boquet River, for the annual spring rush to fill Lake Champlain in Willsboro. Fresh flowing waters once filled my boyhood dreams, and they continue to provide opportunities for my adult adventures.

Although I relish the advent of ice out on the ponds, there is nothing I look forward to with a greater degree of enthusiasm than my annual canoe trip down the Boquet. It is a journey that earmarks the beginning of a new season; and provides me with a return to my roots.

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