Busse Woods/Salt Creek Paddling Trip Sunday Aug 5, 2007

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Busse Woods/Salt Creek Paddling Trip Sunday Aug 5, 2007

Postby rich on Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:28 pm

Well, I decided to kayak Busse Woods/Salt Creek today. It had been raining on and off this weekend so I figured there was a chance there would be a decent current to have some fun in. I had yet to go fully up Salt Creek past golf and I-90 and I'd read there were some "rapids" in this section so today was going to be the day to do some exploring.

The wildlife I saw today was absolutely amazing. On the island straight north of the put-in there were over 50 Double Crested Cormorants sitting high in the branches of several trees (Looked something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Phalacrocorax-auritus-007.jpg). When I started my trip I initially only saw 5-6 of them flying around the lake and a couple of them swimming/hanging out in the water diving for food. It wasn't until I was headed back at the end of my trip when I noticed about 5 of them repeatedly circling over part of the lake near the island. When I followed them to their roost, I was amazed at what I saw. I roughly counted about 50 of them and there were yet more flying about. These weren't the only birds I saw.

About a 1/4 mile past the Higgins bridge there is a marshy area with some dead trees standing out of the water. Here I found six beautiful bright white Great Egrets (white heron) and a Gray Heron. I did not paddle into this area but simply observed as I passed by. Also near the same spot where I was paddling, there was some sort of beaver/otter-like creature swimming around. As I approached he dove under for good and I did not get to see him again nor was I able to get a good look at him.

As I approached the Salt Creek channel heading towards Golf Rd/I-90 I hit some shallow water, all around me there were splashes in the water. I re-assured myself that the Asian Carp had not yet made it this far north. Apparently I disturbed some fish that were hanging out in the shallows. Their splashing sent swirls of muddy water around my kayak. If you'd like to visit this spot, it is right before the Salt Creek channel where an old bulky computer monitor is sticking out of the water. I wondered to myself how it is possible for a heavy monitor to have made its way into the middle of the lake.....

The upstream paddle on Salt Creek was somewhat slow going, particularly once I reached the legendary "rapids," which was the only time I had to do some heavy paddling to continue heading upstream. Once past this section I spotted what appeared to be a yellow-crowned night-heron http://www.photoseek.com/86GAL-11-06-Yellow-Crowned-Night-Heron.jpg that flew upstream in the same direction I was heading and then finally flew away as I approached a second time.

After entering an area of the creek that significantly narrowed up, I decided to start heading back. I was pleasantly suprised at how fast the current took me, particularly through the "rapids". This trip ended up being about 3 miles out and 3 miles back in about 2 hours with the trip back being much much faster, maybe around 40 minutes or so.

I noticed that there was a commercial/business area just north of I-90 (sign on office building said Toshiba) where the creek bank was a slight grassy incline which looked like you could put in without too much trouble (on a weekend when nobody is at work there). Could be good for a put-in for a one way downstream trip to the Busse woods put-in/take-out.

In conclusion, what I once considered an average paddle has now been significantly elevated due to today's many wildlife sightings.

Happy Paddling,
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