Camping and Paddling at Limekiln Lake

A Restful Time Away

Two Souls in Need of Rest

Wren and I were exploring various places in Hamilton and Herkimer Counties this past week, and after poking around Moss Lake and some other areas around Old Forge just over the Herkimer County line, we needed a place to sleep. So we drove to Limekiln Lake State Campground where they luckily had availability for two weary souls in search of rest. The sun was already setting and I chose a secluded campsite above the lake where we would be sure to sleep soundly.

I put up the tent while Wren nosed her way around the small site, as a Common Loon called from the lake below – its calls echoing around the hills. I stopped my work to listen to it, but Wren paid it no notice. She only took note that I had paused in my work and began to follow me around in the expectation of dinner. I hooked her back up to the picnic table where she had been tied before, and she quickly gobbled up her dinner while keeping an eye on me as I cooked my own food. Darkness had set in by this time and I finished preparing my meal with the help of my headlamp before eating – and sharing some of my food with Wren, of course. A Barred Owl called in the distance and I answered it – we called back and forth a few times.red-eyed vireo - Larry

A Sound Night's Sleep

I had to look over maps and notes from the day, but I got myself ready for bed first – it's often nice to lie in the sleeping bag while reviewing the day. My preparations for bed took me a while – they often do when I'm tired from full days in the field – and by the time I was looking over my notes and maps, I was dozing and my pen was trailing across the pages. Wren – much smarter than I – was asleep already. I finally gave in to the tranquility and need for sleep and turned out my light as a light rain began to drip on the leaves above us in a soothing rhythm. I was out instantly.

I was awakened the following morning by a chorus of Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Black-capped Chickadees, and a Hermit Thrush. I lay and listened to them while petting Wren who was snuggled in against me. Neither one of us wanted to get up. But get up we did, and I ate and took down camp in fairly short order. We drove down the hill to the lake itself and I prepared us to push off from the boat launch.Wren - Limekiln Lake

Paddling Limekiln Lake

It was early, but it was already windy and I was glad we were on the water of Limekiln Lake before it became any more blustery. We skirted the shoreline for a while before setting off across the lake towards a set of small islands and the peninsula which juts out from the western shore of the lake, seeking shelter from the wind along its leeward side. A small flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, and a Blue-headed Vireo called from the trees and I paused from paddling to watch them. Beneath us, the sticks which lined the bottom of the lake were being used for cover by large tadpoles and I began to slowly creep along counting them in the clear water. In this manner I also spotted an adult Eastern Newt – a species which has a well-known sub-adult stage known as the red eft.Common Loon

I eventually turned for the boat launch and headed back across the lake, angling into the wind to help keep it from hitting us broadside and spinning us. A Common Loon unexpectedly popped up near us and called a few times. I put down my paddle in exchange for my camera in a vain attempt to take photos of the loon, but the wind quickly ended my photographic efforts and we were pushed further away from the loon and out across the lake. Rather than fight the wind, I angled through it, letting it take me to the far shore where I could use the shoreline itself for shelter as I made my way to the boat launch. We were soon off the water and headed out for a day of exploration in the area.

If you want to explore Hamilton County, there is still plenty of time to plan a summer getaway. Check out our outdoor recreation, camping, and dining pages here!

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