We paddled quietly along and passed several groups of people floating on tubes in the slow-moving current. It takes those who float the river in tubes and blow-up boats between three and four hours to make it back to the campground, but our journey would be much faster.
Before long, we passed under the first Route 28 bridge. A great blue heron stood in the shallows under overhanging hemlocks trying to feed on small fish. She was undisturbed as we passed by.
Suddenly out of the tree tops to our right, an immature bald eagle took flight. This large bird was just starting to get white feathers on its head and tail. It flew a couple hundred yards downstream before landing in another tree top on the opposite side of the river.
The young eagle didn’t seem scared by our presence. As we approached, it would fly a little farther downstream and wait for us to catch up.
Canada geese swam near the shore, a small flock of mallards flew up as we rounded another bend, and a doe and her spotted fawn drank from a quiet backwater as we glided by.
Finally, we reached the campground and pulled into shore. Kids were splashing and yelling in the river, so the tranquility of our journey had come to an end.
I was actually surprised by the abundant wildlife we had seen on the creek. With the steady armada of tubes and little boats constantly floating on the creek, the wild creatures had learned to adapt to the constant flow of people.
Each month I get the Outdoor Discovery Newsletter from the DEC and it lists great places to watch wildlife. I’m sure it won’t be long before the West Canada Creek is on the list.
Avid hiker and photographer Tony Versandi will run an outdoor photography workshop on the summit of Balsam Lake Mountain from noon-2 p.m. Saturday. Tony will help people learn how to get the most out of their cameras for distant views and landscapes, as well as close-ups of plants and animals. Rain date is Sunday.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.