Monday, December 15, 2014

The Concord Below the Rock

After experiencing high water levels on the Sudbury River Saturday and the Assabet River Sunday it only seemed logical to, today, check out the spot where they merge at Egg Rock.  As can be seen in the photo the inscription on the rock was completely submerged.

Both rivers were delivering their burdens of water to the Concord River which in turn will deliver it to the Merrimack in Lowell.

I launched at Lowell Road and paddled the first 2.5 miles of the Concord on another bright and sunny day.  Pretty good for mid-December.

The Old North Bridge was handling the extra water with no problem...
...and offered plenty of headroom.

The same was true at Flint's Bridge...
 
 
Trash had been plentiful in the 0.7 miles between Lowell Road and Flint's.  
 
Below Flint's it was just water, trees, and sky...
 
 
The only thing missing from the cabin at Sawmill Brook was some welcoming smoke from a woodstove...
 
 
 
I continued a little further to where the river runs close to the Dike Trail at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and enjoyed some hot cocoa and a bit of the trail...

 
 
The trip back upriver was into a blinding, low angle sun until briefly blocked by the Lowell Road bridge...
 
 
Not a lot of wildlife was seen today but I did, at least, see one other kayaker enjoying a trip downriver.
 
 
Today's trash haul...

 
There were 31 recyclable containers (15 redeemable) and 31 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as Styrofoam, plastic bags, and nip bottles.  YTD = 5851






Sunday, December 14, 2014

Better Headroom on the Assabet

What a fitting quote to walk past en route to the boat launch at Ice House Landing in Maynard late this morning....and it was only appropriate that some ice had to be broken before getting my vessel in the water.

After that it was clear sailing upriver to Fort Meadow Brook thanks to there being ample headroom at both Russell's Bridge (below) and the Sudbury Road bridge further upriver...


...a much better set of circumstances compared to yesterday's lack of headroom at the Sudbury River's Pelham Island Road bridge.

The day was a beauty with clear skies, lighter winds, and temperatures approaching 40 degrees F...


Water levels being high and less vegetation allowed some things to be seen for the first time such as this old 55-gallon drum...
It's located near a former long-standing duck blind.

Reaching Fort Meadow Brook, and not being able to fit through the culvert, I elected to enjoy my hot cocoa from its roof top where the view was splendid...
...water exiting the brook can be seen confronting the Assabet's surplus flow coming towards it from the main stem and forcing it to the right.  On my trip back downriver I went with the brook's flow and surprised this gang of mute swans in a backwater...

Other wildlife seen today were a belted kingfisher, red-tailed hawk, numerous ducks, and a group of eastern bluebirds.


In addition to the flow from Fort Meadow Brook, the Assabet was receiving good flow from Lake Boon, Elizabeth Brook, and Thanksgiving Pond.  While I've been close enough to hear the outfall from Lake Boon before, today was the first time I actually saw it thanks to the lack of vegetation...
...trust me, it's in there.

The flow from Thanksgiving Pond (Taylor Brook) was easier to find and see...
...beavers have raised the pond level significantly.

Trash was on the light side today...
...with only 20 recyclable containers (5 redeemable) and 3 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish. 
YTD = 5789

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Swollen Sudbury River

After a week of crummy weather, I finally got a chance to get out on the water today and see the after affects of all that rain.
 
I launched at Route 20 in Wayland and planned to paddle up to and into Heard Pond.  However, those plans went out the window upon reaching the Pelham Island Road bridge (at left) and finding insufficient headroom for passage.


On my way there I had the rare opportunity to see a motorized vehicle passing over the long abandoned Central Mass Railroad trestle...
The ATV and operator were part of a crew working on the high power transmission towers that run along the old railroad right of way.

With today's high water levels I was able to paddle a portion of Wash Brook up to the nearly submerged culvert on the south side of the railroad...

Undulating clouds on the storm's trailing edge were visible to the east...

Further down the Sudbury at the 4 arch stone bridge headroom, once again, was at a premium...

I headed back to the river's main stem and paddled west getting fairly close to where the old Hayne's Garrison House stood and came under attack during King Philip's War ...

Back in the marsh one of the few trees hosted this hawk...

I turned back upriver and let the stronger than expected breeze push me back to Route 20 where the day's trash haul gathered alongside my boat's hull...
Trash was plentiful, perhaps due to the rising water levels releasing trash from wherever it'd been hiding.  There were 31 recyclable containers (15 redeemable) and 39 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as plastic bags, Styrofoam, and a Mylar balloon.   YTD = 5766

On Thursday I checked out the Assabet River passing through the broken dam at Damondale...
The gauge at Maynard was at 4.5'.  Would've been a quick trip for anyone passing through.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rocky Narrows Reflections

Fortunate was I in having my workweek end at mid-day yesterday almost within site of the Charles River in Sherborn, MA.  The sun was out, winds were calm, and after a cold start the day had warmed nicely.

Pulled the boat off my car's roof and, to my horror, found my paddle was AWOL having been left home due to work-related space saving measures.  Thoughts of tying pogies to both ends of a tree branch were quickly dismissed without much debate. 
Momentary panic eased when I remembered there being a spare paddle stored below deck in my boat's aft.  The spare was a refugee from another river and despite looking a little rough, served nicely as a stand-in.  Actually came to feel quite comfortable.

In short order my boat and I were launched at Farm Road and heading upriver towards the Rocky Narrows and King Philip's Lookout area


Aside from an acrobatic mini-helicopter soaring and swooping near the CSX railroad bridge, things were fairly quiet.
While I enjoyed lunch adrift on the water a hiker enjoyed his amidst the trees atop King Philip's Lookout...
 
Heading downriver I came across what looked to be the Orion capsule post-splashdown...
...seems to have weathered those 4,000 degree temps on re-entry AOK.
Actually, I believe it might be a solar powered water sampler.  There's one upstream and one downstream of the Medfield State Hospital construction project which is moving along...

Both the sun and warm temperatures began a fast fade as I entered the Rocky Narrows on my return downriver...
...resulting in a reflective mood as this year approaches its end. 

Paddled past the takeout...

...and continued downriver until turning around where the river swept ahead into Natick...

Back ashore my trash haul from the river (left side) got acquainted with their terrestrial cousins (right side) found at the boat launch/trailhead area...
There were 25 recyclable containers (14 redeemable) and 16 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as Styrofoam and plastic bags.  YTD = 5696

This sign posted at the Rocky Narrows canoe landing seems to have been successful in keeping that area clean as a whistle...
Might work well at boat launches on other rivers.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Welcome December

December arrived this morning in a most friendly manner.  Having a late afternoon job on the schedule allowed me to get out on the Sudbury River in the morning and pick up where I'd left off yesterday.  I launched again at Sherman's Bridge in Wayland and this time headed upriver.  Skies were blue and temperatures were rapidly rising through the 50's toward a whopping 60 degrees.

Another boater enjoying the river was Jeff in one of his Czechoslovakian kayaks...

Up near Route 27 I passed through the old 4-arch stone bridge...
...spanning the river's original path, now bypassed.

A "Mistic Spring Water" bottle found near the bridge...

This duck (possibly a ruddy duck) put in a brief appearance...
 
 
There was a bounty of vitamin D to be had...
 
Once back at Sherman's Bridge,...
...as I took out on one side of the bridge, another boater was launching a Van Dusen built surfski (possibly a Mohican) on the other side.
 
 
Trash, again, was on the light side...


Sunday, November 30, 2014

November's Last Fairhaven

Today's objective was pleasantly achieved when I arrived at Fairhaven Bay on the Sudbury River and found open water.  After several days of winter-like weather I was expecting more ice.  Two fishermen encountered on the way mentioned having found a portion of the bay iced over earlier this morning and that they'd used their power boat to break some of it up.  Stopping at Brooke Island for lunch I watched as the strong breeze from the south pushed the remaining ice past the island's northeast tip...
Old Man Winter was getting the bum's rush out of the bay and it didn't bother me one bit.

My only obstacle of the day was getting my wet suit's zipper past three turkey dinners rather than just one.  Friday and Saturday were just too cold for paddling but ideal for eating more turkey.

The cold hadn't stopped the local beavers from getting in their workout...


Saw my first coot in awhile...
A blue heron choosing to remain up here a little longer...

 Near Lee's Bridge a hawk was found perched in a pine...
...before flying across the river to consult with an associate...


Heading back upriver the morning's gray skies began to brighten at Lee's Bridge...

By the time I returned to Sherman's Bridge a beautiful afternoon was developing with my thermometer showing 55 degrees...

 
It was one of those paddles where I didn't want it to end...
 
 
Trash was a no show for the most part...