Chapter Chair Robert Scull scouted two wilderness areas and offered feasibility reports for potential outings. This post is his report for Catfish Lake:
On a February afternoon I went kayaking on Catfish Lake, checking it out for the Wilderness Act celebration. I was the only person on the lake all afternoon. It was very quiet, though there was lots of fire arms litter at the launch site, but it is not always this way. I did not clean it up, I must confess, but I did not bring a trash bag me.
I kayaked around the lake in about two hours. For an organized outing, I would allow 3 or 4 hours. There is this one dock with a picnic table and the only way to get to it is by water. It is in a little cove where the wind is blocked. There are also a couple of other places near the road where kayaks could be pulled ashore, but not along the edge of the lake that adjoins the designated Wilderness area, where the junction of land to water is sort of like a mangrove in that it is very dense and the trees are growing out of the water. There are a few places where you could sit on downed trees, but I did not hack my way into the interior. Maybe the ground would be dry if you got past the thicket on the water edge.
Did see a lot of bubbles at one place and wondered if they could be from alligators, but did not see any notable wildlife. Turtles slid off logs one by one as I approached them. I only saw one flock of birds. I have heard the fishing is supposed to be good, but did not see a single fish jump. No herds of wilderbeast or elephants either.
I heard from my friend John Fussell that the lake waters are so acidic that mosquitoes are not a problem there. Maybe that’s why I was not in much of a hurry on the outing at this location as I thought.
This is a great spot, only 21 miles from my house. There was no one on the lake the next Saturday either when I returned. After spending some time on the lake, I pulled a chair out of my car and sat down to read and take notes on some Byzantine history. It might as well have been at my own private lake site.
I parked at a spot on the lake that only has room for about four cars. When I drove further along the road a few days ago, I found a place where a dozen or more cars could park, but the dirt road to that location is in very poor condition. I had to creep along at 5 mph in some places to avoid damage to the undercarriage of my low riding Prius.
A visit to Catfish Lake is highly recommended on a warm winter day. The dirt fire roads along the borders of Sheep Ridge Wilderness area may also be worth checking out on bicycles. But that’s for another visit…