In observance of Veterans Day, I wanted to get out some paddling in. I also wanted a lake I hadn't been on yet, so I asked for some suggestions, and the replies were to head to Apache Lake. I was a little concerned about the drive, more specifically the road to get there. The road was pretty much a none issue, as The Apache Trail was in great condition and actually provided spectacular views. Of course I wasn't seeing much when I hit the unpaved portion of the road at 6:00 am; it was still dark out.
I got the the Apache Lake Recreation Area at about 7:00. It was kinda smokey and hazy out, word is Mt. Ord nearby is burning (hattip Maadjurguer). It was also really breezy; it was blowing a consistent 15 mph plus wind from the east. I ended up taking a gamble on heading down to the the western half of the lake. My thoughts were that I'd ride the wind down to the end of the lake (Horse Mesa Dam), while hoping the winds wouldn't increase. I had a feeling the winds that were blowing were being caused by the usual sun up winds and could die down later in the morning. And for the most part they did die down and my wager paid off, I still had to battle the winds on my return, but they had diminished a ton.
My Seaward Quest kayak is actually pretty unstable when it isn't loaded down, so in order to reduce the bobber effect, I grabbed a couple of big rocks and put them in the for and aft storage compartments for ballast. It really helped the boats stability, but I just had to be careful not punch a hole through the hull. I had done this before, but usually the water I've been paddling lately is calm enough that I don't need to.
As for the lake, I was really jazzed. I love the cavernesque sections of Canyon Lake, which Apache Lake doesn't really offer (at least on the western half), but it does have some of the similar dramatic cliffs that seem to go from the top of the sky straight into the water. What I really liked about these cliff, were the contrast of color - reds, blacks, green and normal rock color.
I resist the urge to head to any AZ lake on the weekend, because they are just to busy for my taste. Although it wasn't perfect solitude on Apache Lake, there were only a few boats out fishing. Nice, real nice.
For my route I closely stuck to the shoreline coast as I circumnavigated the lake in clockwise direction. I tucked into just about every little bay and cove. These bays also helped protect me from the wind. My trip totaled 14.6 miles and took me about 6 hours.
As for wildlife, I had my eyes peeled for some big horned sheep, but saw none. I did spot a bald eagle hanging out cliff, and I got some footage of the bird taking flight.
Here's a vid of the day: