A Swampy Swim – Drew Lake 7/16/11

Drew Lake is part on an Army Corp of Engineers flood control project.  The dam for it is visible from an overpass on one of the area’s major highways.  I had always been curious while driving over the bridge what the rest of the lake looked like.  I went onto google maps and found where I could launch my kayak.  I found that the launch was on the far end of the canal shaped lake.  When I got to the lake it seemed to me like it was not the kind of place that attracted many visitors.  NHDES had posted a sign warning of it being infested with invasive milfoil and that boaters should make sure they clean there boats well after they left.  The lake was pretty on the surface.

But looking into its depths it was pretty ugly with all the Millfoil

I took my fishing pole with me and caught a few little bass

Fishing and paddling leisurely I reached the Dam 2 miles away in about 2 hours.
   The dam is where my excitement for the day started.  Even though you are near major highways there  really is no practical way to get to the road or back to your car in the thick brush that surrounds the area.  I pulled up to the dam and got out of my boat. I had no rope to tie off the kayak , but I noticed that the flow going through a little channel in the spillway held my parallel to the dam kayak in place quite well. 
Little channel in dam

I fished from the dam near my boat for about 20 minutes, and my boat stayed held in place by the flow through the channel  quite nicely in spite of the breeze. It didn’t seem like the boat was going to go anywhere so I stopped paying attention to it and started fishing below the Dam.  When I came back up, MY KAYAK WAS GONE!  The breeze had pushed it about 100 feet away, and it was still drifting.  My GPS was on the boat so you can see from the loop in this part of my tracks how far it had drifted away from the dam.
I had no other way of getting off the dam or getting back to my boat, or car for that matter unless I went for a swim.  I was not real happy about the idea of jumping into the nasty swampy water full of Millfoil!  But the longer I delayed, the further I would have to swim in the nastiness to catch my boat.  I pulled my wallet and keys out of my pockets set them on the dam and jumped in and swam through the swampy water for about 200 feet to my boat.  Since I had my camera and phone in my boat I didn’t want to attempt getting back in it and getting everything wet, even though I have practiced this maneuver before, so I swam back to the dam with the kayak in tow.  Once back in the boat I had to laugh out loud to myself at how funny the unplanned adventure would have looked if anyone had been watching.
I paddled back towards the other end of the lake moving a little quicker than the pace I came at, only stopping this time to take a self portrait and pick some blueberries.

The whole journey took about 3 ¼ hours, and I got really sun burnt.  But most notably I will always remember this adventure for the swampy swim.

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