Sunday, April 30, 2006

Lily Lake

I got talking with a guy (Curtis) at the office the other day, and we discovered that he hunts north of our property, and he’s familiar with our area. Curtis is a duck hunter (Kev is not), and he mentioned that he had run into some old geezer that told him to try Lily Lake. Curtis asked me if I had ever heard of it, and I hadn’t. So... I asked my Dad.

Dad told me the first time he ever saw Lily Lake was when he was around 10 years old, so about 1940. By then, the State had put in a lot of drains, and the one that runs through our property is called Carroll Creek Drain. When we first moved out here, I thought it was just a creek... but when you see an aerial view of it, you can clearly tell it is man-made. It runs straight. Carroll Creek Drain runs near Lily Lake. Dad said that the drain had eventually managed to drain much of Lily Lake, and that if it was still out there, it was likely to be a fraction of its size. Dad said when he saw it, Lily Lake was huge; it had a beaver dam at one end and several lodges all over.

Dad also told me that the Carroll Creek Drain had also helped to drain out a real low spot right near us. Back when FDR took office and with his New Deal, one of the PWA projects was building up our road. Our road was a main thoroughfare at that time, linking this area with another settlement (both due to logging camps)... this was back in early 1930’s, and way before then, too, I suppose. The PWA project had men working to build up this road. During those days, the area around our road wasn’t wooded like it is now, but rather, mostly pasture and farm land. (The drain helped accomplish that, too, so the low lands could be farmed and run cattle on.) So the men would use teams of horses and wagons and load up the wagons with sand from along the roadway, haul it up to the road and manually shovel it out. What a helluva lot of work that must have been.

The one particular low spot near us, in fact, not too far across the road from our driveway, was still quite wet then. It was known as a sinkhole. Dad said he was too little to have seen it, but he knows of people who saw a team of horses and a wagon get stuck in it during the PWA project. The men got out, but they couldn’t get the team and wagon out, and they slowly disappeared in the quicksand. Dad said to me, “Just think, a short ways off your driveway, under the earth are the carcasses of those horses and that old wagon.” Gee, thanks, Dad.

I had heard that story when I was little, but I didn’t know it happened so close to us. I know the spot. It’s still marshy, and not any place you’d want to try and walk through. Especially not now.

Anyway, our road is a dirt road and just a ways north of our driveway turns into a 2-tracker, then is pretty much impassable... as one of my previous posts mentions. Strange to think our old dirt road was once a main thoroughfare of this area.

So, Friday afternoon at work, following Dad’s description of its location, I tried to find Lily Lake via some aerial photos on the Internet, but couldn’t. I mentioned this to Kev, and he said he knew just where Dad was talking about, but he didn’t know it was locally known as Lily Lake. We made a plan to go there. So this morning, while the kids still slept, we filled up some thermoses with coffee and headed out on the 4-wheelers. I took my camera with me. These were some fiddleheads along the roadside where we began to enter the trail out to Lily Lake. I just liked this photo.

We hit a lot of mud holes. I’ve realized the photos are very different from being there. This one freaked me out... we were so far out in the woods, and to get stuck would be a mess. (I was clenching my teeth so much while Kev was trying to get out, that I ended up breaking off that damn chip the dentist fixed again already! Jeez.)

Some of them, I would drive through, but some I just got off and demanded Kev drive my 4-wheeler through for me.

It is springtime, so mud and water are expected... there was just so much of it.

Then finally, after a few miles, we came upon Lily Lake. This was my first view of it.

We scared off a passle of Canada geese, but 2 remained.

They chewed us out over and over for most of our time there. Further on up, we came to the end of the lake. It is much smaller than Dad’s description. We saw only 2 beaver lodges. They both look actively inhabited, and we saw scat, too.

The lake is covered in water lilies. Lily Lake is aptly named. It is beautiful.

While there, we constantly heard running water. There were small pools of water and small waterfalls all over the edge. The water is brown, brown, brown.

This is one of the lily pads with a perfect pearl of brown water on it. There were so many buds on the lake... I can’t wait to go back and see all those lilies blooming.

I’m pretty sure the 2 pair of geese must be nesting on this lake, and I think I saw where. They did settle down a bit, but then 2 more geese came in and landed on the lake.

This caused a ruckus. We enjoyed our coffee while listening to them talk. They were either arguing or really bitching about us. Loudly.

The birdlife was amazing. I saw so many different kinds of birds, some I didn’t recognize. I really got excited to see so many Eastern Bluebirds. We had one that kept flying at us at one point, so maybe we got too close to its nest.

I took so many photos of the bluebirds. This one of a take off from the tree limb turned out pretty cool.

This shot of a goldfinch is cute... doesn’t he look like the neighborhood guy that thinks he knows everything... puffed up on his own importance.

We had a wonderful time there. We headed home, and then I noticed the tires. On the way in, I was so awed by the lake, I hadn’t noticed them. They were everywhere.

I am always amazed that people who would take the trouble to get that far out into the woods would litter. Along the trails we drove today, we saw so much litter. We also saw a whole lot more mud and water... we took a different trail home, and that’s one trail I won’t be going on again any time soon.

Some of the holes were super tricky. At this one, my camera battery pooped out on me. I thought this hole was bad... some we hit after it practically made me pee my pants. Kev got a little tired of driving me through them, and he shamed me into trying them myself. I finally told him, hey, I never said I was so strong, I just said strong... get over here and drive this thing.

It was such a fine day. Funny living here in this area for most of my 46 years and never having heard of Lily Lake before... can’t wait to go back.

1 comment:

  1. Love the pic of the ferns! Very cool.... :)