Part of the goal of the 50-state paddle (other than to get cool stickers for the board) is to show that there is somewhere awesome to paddle everywhere. The prairie paddle in South Dakota's glacial lakes is a great example of the different kinds of watersheds that are paddle-able and worthwhile. There are tons of small lakes, formed by receding glaciers more than 20,000 years ago, in northeastern South Dakota, a state people don't think of as having great waterways. I did a lot of research in advance about which one would be best, looking for an undeveloped lake with an access point and lots of waterfowl. I had decided on Mud Lake or One Road Lake, but when we stopped for maps, Ron at the visitors center recommended Kettle/Cattail instead, thinking that the access point at Mud Lake would, indeed, be too muddy. It wasn't part of the Northeast Glacial Lakes Kayak and Canoe Trails, so I wasn't sure, but it was across from Fort Sisseton State Park, so we decided to try it and it was perfect. Lots of "variable" winds, so a workout in some directions.
The algae in the lake make it look like we were paddling on top of a football field or expanse of green velvet (see last photo). We had the lake to ourselves, save for the American white pelicans, egrets, seagulls, other water fowl (possibly a golden eagle? see circle in photo), frogs and chipmunks.
Bonus factoid: There were more corn husks and corn silks in the parking lot here than anywhere I've paddled. As was the case with the red crescent moon that shone above this weekend, the photos don't do it justice.