A few weeks ago my graduate adviser offhandedly mentioned that there was a need to develop a more detailed outline of the south end of Cayuga Lake for the hydrologic model he and some colleagues are working on. There is a particularly high need for a more accurate outline of the inlet and other contributing waterways at the southern tip of the lake. In an effort to validate my kayaking with some sort of productive excuse, I offered to take a GPS along while I paddled as far as possible up the various tributaries of Cayuga Lake.
Last Sunday some Ithaca kayaking buddies (Ben, Rob, and Esther) and I headed down to Cass Park to attempt to map the inlet. The GPS seemed to be working and recording data as we paddled, which was a relief! The channels we paddled (from west to east) included:
#1 The "Inlet" - The widest and longest of the four, this channel is relatively unexciting. The wind was coming from the south, so we had a pretty strong breeze to paddle against on the way down. We were stopped by a dam across the channel.
#3 Six Mile Creek - This section of the creek is not the most scenic.. We paddled past some suburban plazas, and were once again limited by the shallow water.
#4 Cascadilla Creek - The entrance to this creek is north a bit, right near the Ithaca wastewater treatment plant. Part of the goal of modeling the lake is to see how much of an effect point-source pollution (like wastewater treatment plants) has on the lake compared with non-point source pollution (like fertilizer runoff). Anyways, we were shortly limited by the shallow water. This channel had many more down trees blocking off sides of the creek.
I'm not sure how successful it was from a GPS standpoint (I haven't had a chance to look at the data yet). It was hard to maintain a constant distance from shore due to super shallow water, docks, and fallen trees. We were, however, successful in having an enjoyable kayaking trip. Rob demonstrated a new feat: kayak pull-ups on low bridges.
He also tested his cold water rolling abilities... even later in the year than last time!
Distance: 10 miles
Weather: Partly cloudy, pretty windy, 60ish degrees F