"As we passed on it seemed as if those scenes of visionary enchantment would never have end."
Our truck, with kayaks overhead, rounds the narrow road down the gorge and behold Lake Clementine. A shining finger of water nestles down between trees and rock. It calls for an adventure in stillness.
Lake Clementine is a four-mile long and narrow waterway in the popular Auburn State Recreation Area near Auburn, Ca. The dam, creating the lake was built in 1939 by the Army Corps of Engineers. It is a debris dam designed to keep the silt and other debris, dating back to the gold rush (hydraulic mining), out of the lower American River. The water cascading over the dam offers a man-made waterfall and rainbow for the lucky hikers on the trail.
Summer brings out the water skiers and other boaters. But, it is winter now. We have the lake to ourselves. The water is so smooth it has a mirror-like reflection, only to be shattered by the bow of our kayaks. This is traditional flat-water kayaking at it's best.
|The North Fork Dam.|
Just past the ramp way of the boat launch and marina is Robber's Roost, 1,457 piece of limestone towering over the lake. It's many little caves and pox marks on the spire make it a perfect nesting spots for the the turkey vultures soaring over the reservoir.
On one recent trip, I came across two kayaking birders with high power binoculars. They seemed mesmerized by their flight. They had paddled to just below pinnacle to watch.
Water fowl, ducks and geese, find their way closer to the water. They dance across the water just a little ways away as we paddle by. Their honking will cry out their warning of our coming near.
|Paddling under Robber's Roost.|
|Camp sites along the lake.|
I'm just heading toward the second access at the upper part of the lake called Long Point. I'll have a quick lunch here before turning back toward the dam.
|At Long Point.|
|Heading back in the shadows of the foothills.|