This past Saturday my Son-in-Law and I paddled around Manzanita Lake. This was my second trip there and not only my Son-in-Law's first time there, but it was his first time in a kayak.
One of the things I like so much about this location is that it's relatively shallow and slow moving current allows new kayakers a chance to focus on the environment more than the fear of capsizing.
While in Selma it was about 110 degrees it was only 96 degrees at Manzanita Lake! Add the gentle breeze and the shade from the various trees and you get.... well you just had to be there!
When we first arrived at about 3:30pm the place was parking lot was full and there were quite a few swimmers and fisherman enjoying the lake. I was a little concerned we might be in their way but after taking a spin around the lake itself we headed upstream for some quiet bird watching. We saw among other species Osprey, Red-winged Blackbirds, a Great Blue Herron, a male Bullocks Oriole, Black Phoebes, Robins, Ravens, and of course Mourning Doves.
What I thought was interesting was that the water level was considerably higher yet there was not much of a current. In fact I think the float downstream was only about .5 mile per hour. We were able to park on a sandbar and get out and stretch a bit, which was nice. While on our previous visit we could only paddle upstream comfortably for about 700-800 feet, this time we spent about 2.5 to 3 hours paddling upstream and exploring the assorted "islands" of vegetation. We actually made it back pretty far before running across a downed tree we didn't feel like crossing over. Maybe next time ;>)
Well, if you get an opportunity to try out this little, relatively quiet watering hole, do it!