~Clear Lake….Really? Rodman Slough

Before I ever dipped my paddle into Clear Lake for the first time in April 2015, it took a lot of convincing.  And, I mean a lot!  If you’re like most, you’ve driven along the shoreline of Clear Lake on Highway 20.  At least this was my memory since I was a kid.  It looked like the water was always choppy and who wants to paddle along the highway.  Not me.

But, thankfully, there were a few paddlers I knew who were rather adamant.  One fellow had actually paddled here a few times with another kayak club, so he was rather persistent about the beauty.  I didn’t believe him!  It wasn’t until someone shared with me the Water Trail details (there are 7) for, you guessed it…Clear Lake.  Hmm, this was what I needed to set the wheels in motion.

This particular story is focused on Rodman Slough WT7, as it is my favorite.  The put-in location is at the Nice-Lucern cut-off, in Nice (pronounced like Niece).  There’s a huge parking lot and the best part, no fee to park.  You’ll just need to offload your kayak and gear before parking, but please be careful crossing the road!

Once I was on the water, I wait along the shoreline for the group to gather for this photo op.  Looks like we’re going to have a great day on the water.

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Linda gives me a big smile!  If you’re curious about the lack of a PFD in this picture, it was taken before I instilled strict enforcement of always wearing your PFD when paddling with our group.  If I recall, the temperature was in the high 70s.

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So, we begin to head away from the main lake to explore the slough.

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A beautiful American White Pelican flies overhead.  One of my favorite birds to capture either in the air, or in the water.  They’ve a wing span of up to 62″!!

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As we meander along, I stop to capture this rather cool picture of some Cattails that have recently busted out of their sausage shaped ‘flower’ exposing what looks like huge puffs of dirty cotton.

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As you can see in the next couple of pictures, the water channel is not very wide and is somewhat protected from the wind, but try to paddle here in the morning, as there’s not a lot of protection from the sun overhead.  We had unusually warm weather while paddling here in April 2015.  This wasn’t going to be true when we came back in April, 2016.  More on that paddle in another story.

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Why, hello there Mr. Frog.  Looks like you’re enjoying the sunny day as much as we are.

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If you paddle here in the Spring, which I highly recommend.  Not only will you get to enjoy more water in the slough, but you’ll also witness something that’s rather extraordinary.  Great Blue Herons, Egrets and Cormorants all nesting in the trees overhead.  This is known as a ‘rookery’, in case you didn’t know.  Watching these birds fly in and feed their young was very rewarding.

 

Oh, and did I mention the Swallows?  Well, there were thousands!  They darted in and out of their nests, built under this bridge, multiple times as we paddled by.

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After paddling about 2+ miles, the water becomes a little cloudy and the channel isn’t as wide.  Water levels were a little low in 2015, as the picture below on the right was our turn around point.  What we didn’t know then, is that when the water is higher like it was in 2016, you can continue to paddle out into a rather large, but shallow waterway.

I’m not sure what we would have found had we paddled through this, maybe we’ll find out the next time.

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We found the perfect spot to take out for lunch.  If you’ll notice the opening on the other side of the water, that’s where we had to get out in 2016 as the entire area where our boats are in this picture, was underwater.

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There’s nothing better than stretching your legs and having lunch in a beautiful grassy field scattered with poppies!

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Hey Jack!  Can you do a little modeling for me??  What do you think his answer was!!

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As we paddled back, I captured a picture of the elusive Black Crowned Night Heron.  Such beauty!

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This was my view too!  Can you believe the glass like water in this shot?  Winds were non-existent, and if you’ve read how much I dislike wind, you’ll understand my gratitude.

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So, if and when someone asks you; “Hey, have you paddled Clear Lake before?” perhaps your answer will be “not yet”, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful.

 

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