Took advantage of a day of decent weather – sunny, temperature eventually getting well up into the 70s – and drove to Nehantic State Forest in Lyme a few days ago.
Within the state forest is Uncas Pond, a small natural water body that drains into Falls Brook, which empties into Hamburg Cove on the Connecticut River.
Only 53 degrees when I began paddling at 9:30, but it warmed nicely over the morning. There are perhaps 6 or 8 homes on the southeast corner of the lake, but otherwise the pond shoreline, bordered by the state forest and Beckett Hill State Park, an undeveloped park, is forested.
Woods and water. All you need on a pleasant day that would help push thoughts of the coronavirus into the background, if for only a few hours.
That there are no motors allowed, even electric, is a plus for those of us who prefer to explore a lake, to really see it, with our own energy. There was no one else on the lake as I paddled for more than an hour. As I was leaving, an angler showed up with a kayak and fishing rods. The pond is deep in places and stocked with trout.
The forest was emerging as I paddled, the trees and shrubs finally leafing out after a cool early spring. An osprey overhead, great blue heron, eastern kingbird – they like to be near water, too – and plenty of warbler song from the woods, especially redstarts. Mallards, Canada geese and cormorants.
Paddling close to shore it is about 1.9 miles to loop the lake, which is 69 acres. I paddled it twice and a little more, topping out just over 4 miles.
Popped the boat on the Jeep and began walking the dirt roads and a couple of trails in the forest. The bird of the day unquestionably was the American redstart, heard and seen repeatedly as I walked.
Had an outdoor lunch of canned mackerel and a hunk of homemade cornbread before heading home midday.