Steve paddled into Ghost Bay early one day last week and was able to watch a mother raccoon and her three adolescent kits. These are two of the kits. Mom clambered up the bank at Steve’s approach. But the three kits continued their clamming and hamming it up as if oblivious to the approaching kayak. Even at fifteen feet, they were still busy and ignoring him.
Mom must be weary of the mothering gig.
Steve took this photo as we entered Ghost Bay the last weekend in September, early, just after sunrise. The mist had mostly cleared from the water. The sunshine was spilling through the trees, painting this splash of gold on the water. I didn’t want to disturb the scene by paddling through it. Can you imagine what it must be like to be a nice big bass sliding through the dark cold water and come upon this? I wonder if they stop dead in their tracks (or whatever would be the fish equivalent of tracks).
This past Saturday, early in the morning, the fog was just beginning to thin when we headed out to Ghost Bay. The light was filtered through the fog remains and everything was looking very golden. There was no breeze. Like so many fall mornings, there were no other boats or paddlers on the lake. Not even the fisherman turned up until later in the day. We shared the lake with an osprey. A gull snatched a fish from Ghost Bay. We startled three small ducks. Small fish moved about in their usual schools in their usual places. Moose the black Labradoodle who lives in the red house greeted us coming and going. In attendance was his never-far-behind companion, the chubby Beagle whose name we do not know. On the water of Ghost Bay was the best place to be, drinking our morning cups of coffee. In a very few weeks we’ll have to pack up the kayaks, but these last paddles of the season are so sweet.
This is Ghost Bay on a rainy, misty, chilly, early morning in mid-July. That’s me in my yellow Pungo and Steve’s classic Grundens rain hat. Steve actually never wore the hat; I wrestled it away from him. Actually, it wasn’t much of a wrestle because he was going to give the hat to the Salvation Army. I used to have a Madame Alexander Wendykins doll that wore a hat just like this. With earflaps, an adjustable chin strap and a welded water ditch on the front brim that leads water away. Wendykins (I don’t know why they called her that either) had a matching raincoat instead of a matching kayak. Anyway, this is Ghost Bay. This is where I want my cremains quietly spread when the time for that sort of thing comes, even though it’s a no wake zone. The bottom is kind of mucky already, though the water is clear, so I don’t think I will do any damage. And tossing a bit of me on the shore among the ferns and wildflowers would be OK too.
When you paddle in to Ghost Bay quietly in your kayak, sometimes you are rewarded by seeing stuff you definitely don’t see down state. I’d met this family on an earlier visit. Then, the three kits were stacked up neatly and vertically like the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” gang. They were hiding in plain sight not quite behind a smallish cedar tree on the shore of the bay. Quite a bunch, with their bandit masks and all. Mom was drinking when I arrived and she scampered up the same cedar tree. But the little ones must have been curious. We examined each other for a few minutes. The next weekend, Steve snapped this photo. I think it’s the three kits, but I’m not sure. Mostly my exposure to raccoons has been to wage the urban battle of keeping them out of garbage cans. I gave up and moved the garbage cans into the garage.
Once, when I was little and staying at my grandparents’ farm near Litchfield, I woke up to a terrible commotion of dogs and a loud cry that to me sounded for all the world like a baby crying. After a bit the crying stopped and so did the barking. In the morning my grandfather found a dead raccoon that had been killed by the dogs. They weren’t our dogs. I don’t care much for dogs. But I know I can’t hold them all responsible for one hot night a long time ago when I waited to find out who was OK and who wasn’t.