Thursday, September 15, 2011

Carmans


Please enjoy my photos of a river trip that is not well known, not much taken -the Carmans. Many kayaks can be seen putting in to explore the Carmans tidal estuary, but the upper river on a perfect, breezy, summer day -my brother and I were its only travelers.


We parked one vehicle at lower lake in Yaphank, NY. Yes, that's YAP-ANK. It was a critical choice because the kayak rental opened at 9:30, about 40 minutes away in Northport, and we had to have the yaks back by 5 pm. They used to have their store on the Carmans river, right where we left one of our vehicles, but as they told it, they were dismissed by the town of Brookhaven (kayak rentals is a concessions business) several years ago. They don't know why. Neither do I, but I have a couple of theories. I just won't get into those here because I am not going to be wordy -right?

The old homestead at our put-in. On another trip, someday, we'd like to try farther upriver.



Here we launched. The river had good flow, quite a bit actually for a Long Island watertable river. My suggestion should you ever do the trip is to go within a week or two of a big rain. We had just had a month of serious rain and it gave us the water we needed, and a shame we didn't have the time to travel farther up river.

The flow is visible in this image.
 


Along the way, many floating docks.

 


Waterside alternates between dense thicket and woodland.


Many of the trees had small, pale leaves, and several were shifting for autumn.

 My least favorite part of the trip is the large lake, dammed at its southern end, in Southaven County Park. Kayaking its expanse is a bore. When I was a kid we used to come to this park to bbq under the pines. I still associate the smell of dry, reddened pine needle litter with hot weather. Sometimes we rented a rowboat. Out on the lake we we terrified of the waterfall at the dam -it seemed a vortex that we would be sucked into, never to be seen again. On this trip, we simply took out to the side of the falls, putting in just below. Doesn't seem so big anymore. It was at the falls that I found the puffballs



Just after the falls you pass under a highway. At times on the Carmans there is simply too much road noise, other times, not much at all. Several major structures cross the Carmans path -the Sunrise Highway, the Long Island Expressway, the Long Island Railroad, and LIPA powerlines.
We had a few extra minutes to travel south into the tidal estuary.
The leaves of oaks were the color of old Hudson River School paintings, and I begun to think of Long Island's own William Sydney Mount.


Beyond, the waters more choppy, the salt hay bending, thanks to afternoon's ocean wind.

In a future post, I'll describe some of the wildlife and plants of the Carmans.



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