Once the ice clears off our area lakes we head out to do a circuit of local lakes. The first three to paddle once or twice each are Paul Lake, Heffley Lake, and Lac le Jeune. With cool spring weather we are warm in our kayaks with spray skirts on and we wear paddling jackets to block the wind. When we paddle Paul Lake, we usually launch from the beach area of the Provincial Park. The whole lake is 12 km around the shoreline, but we adjust the route to the conditions.
As the winds picked up and the rain threatened, we crossed the lake before Gibraltar Rock and completed the loop back to the launch spot where a few geese escorted about 20 goslings on the flooded beach. We will return to paddle the other half of the lake soon.
When we paddle the larger lakes in the early season, we keep a number of things in mind:
- we check the Environment Canada Weather Forecast, paying particular attention to the wind
- we stay close to the shoreline if there is any wind; we usually paddle into the wind to start our route on the lake
- since the water is cold, we would probably swim to shore in the event of a capsize close to shore, rather than do a self-rescue in cold water
- we always use all of the required safety gear
- we usually wear good spray skirts, and we make sure the pull tab is not tucked under
- a good paddling jacket helps, along with paddling gloves, and neoprene boots
- we try for a dry launch to keep our feet dry, but we don’t worry about the exit, though we keep a towel and a change of shoes in the truck