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Brian paddles down the Ausable River on a hot summer day (Photo: Susan Waters)
Brian paddles down the Ausable River on a hot summer day (Photo: Susan Waters)

Canoe trek on the Ausable Marsh on a hot summer day

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There's more hot humid weather in the forecast this weekend across the North Country. That's the perfect kind of day for getting out on the water.

Our Adirondack reporter, Brian Mann, set out recently to explore the Ausable Marsh on the shore of Lake Champlain.

It's not the biggest chunk of wild lands, just under 700 acres just outside the town of Peru.

But Brian says it's a magical place, where you can hike along sandy beaches, bird watch, and bring your canoe to the edge of really big water.

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The river is close and muggy, as kingfishers weave from tree to tree. (Photo:  Susan Waters)
The river is close and muggy, as kingfishers weave from tree to tree. (Photo: Susan Waters)
My paddling partner today is my wife Susan.   As we head down the river, it feels sort of like we’re going underwater – it’s that humid, and the air is thick with birds flitting back and forth from bank to bank.

"This paddling reminds me of a Louisiana bayou," Susan says.  "Not quite as hot, but it's only nine o'clock in the morning."

We wind our way down the last elbows of the Ausable River to where it opens wide – Lake Champlain is

Then the river opens wide to the big expanse of Lake Champlain.  (Photo: Susan Waters)
Then the river opens wide to the big expanse of Lake Champlain. (Photo: Susan Waters)
shockingly big after the intimacy of paddling through forest.

"There's a haze," Susan says.  "The Green Mountains are silhouetted in the distance."

This paddling reminds me of a Louisiana bayou. Not quite as hot, but it's only nine o'clock in the morning.
Susan wades ashore.  To our surprise, we find that the muck and silt of the river has suddenly given way to bright sand.

Susan prepares to take the plunge, cooling off after a sticky paddle. (Photo:  Brian Mann)
Susan prepares to take the plunge, cooling off after a sticky paddle. (Photo: Brian Mann)
After all that sticky paddling, it’s time for a swim.  Susan goes in head-first, whooping and puffing.

There’s enough of a breeze that we can picnic without any bugs – kind of a miracle, given the huge marsh just at our backs. 

Then we’re off again, this time pulling the canoe along behind us as we wade along the margin of the lake.

After the delight of birds up in the forest, we discover that we’re surrounded by a new flock – just as brightly colored – flitting around our feet.

The water deepens so we climb back in the boat and set off again – aiming for the other braid of the river that will take us back around the marsh, finishing the loop.

It feels sort of like we’ve paddled from the forest to the sea – sultry bayous giving way to sandy beaches, big water and big vistas.

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