Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Winter Setting In

Paddled away from a wintry-looking Route 20 boat launch in Wayland today just before noontime.  Yesterday, we had our first snow of any consequence (about an inch) and with temperatures early this morning in the 20's, I hadn't expect to get out on the water.  However, with bright sunshine and nearly calm winds temperatures rose to near 40 degrees by the time I launched.

A short way past the Greenways this beaver lodge and dam exhibit the look of winter...

 
Further along I came across a bottle floating upside down.  It looked old and was embossed S.O. Dunbar, Taunton, MASS...

I learned online that Samuel O. Dunbar was born in 1800 in Tittecut, Massachusetts and was a druggist in Taunton selling medicines and inks.  The bottle I found could date from the mid to late 1800s.  It was in good condition with what looks like a ball of congealed ink inside.

At the outlet from Heard Pond I was able to surmount the beaver dam but soon encountered ice too thick to easily break...
I returned to the river and settled for a glimpse of the pond's open water from Indian Point...
There were 2 guys fishing from a small powerboat in the pond.

After enjoying a cup of hot cocoa I headed back downriver to Route 20.

Today's paddle produced this winter's first trash a' la mode...


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Assabet Arising

The water level continues to rise at the Egg Rock inscription located where the Assabet, Concord, and Sudbury rivers join.  Upon seeing that this morning I started my ascent of the Assabet River enjoying the bright sunshine and slowly warming temps.  Not too shabby for December.

At Spencer Brook I got out of the river's current for a rest and noted how much higher the brook was compared to just a few weeks ago...
When I turned back towards the river I noticed a coyote patrolling the brook's north side.  He was gone by the time I fumbled around for my camera. 

Reaching West Concord I paddled a short way into Nashoba Brook by the recently built apartment complex...

After a short break for hot cocoa, it was back down to Egg Rock gliding under Route 2...
If only Route 2 could be as tranquil as it looks here.

The rains of late had trash on the move...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Leaves from Petapawag

Paddled-out November this afternoon on the Nashua River.  Launched at Petapawag in Groton and headed downriver through the J. Harry Rich State Park.  Low clouds darkened and a light rain developed as I got underway.  The only brightening I encountered came from balloons at two locations...
 

Sadly, a deceased white-tailed deer was floating near Boutwell Island...

Trash gathered along the way...

Does a hot cup of coffee ever taste better than after a rainy day paddle?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gettin' Reel on the Assabet

Found this plastic reel for coiling up extension cords on the Assabet River in Stow yesterday.  Not sure how the river knew I could use one. Would have cost me $10 for this model at one of the big hardware stores.  Thank you Assabet.

The afternoon was a beauty with bright sunshine and much less wind than on Sunday.  The section of the river upstream from Magazu's Landing was looking fine and was being closely monitored by this red-tailed hawk near the outlet from Lake Boone...


I checked the culvert at Fort Meadow Brook and found most of the beaver-installed blockage had recently been removed...
Must have been interesting when all the backed-up water drained out through this small opening.

Several fallen trees impede passage, but yesterday's water level allowed just enough room for paddlers willing to do the Limbo...

Did a little more saw work at this spot, removing some branch stubs from the submerged tree limb to the right in the above photo.

Ultimately reached the Rt. 62 bridge at Gleasondale...
 ...which became my turnaround point.

The trip back down to Sudbury Rd was mostly backlit...


A small haul of trash and the aforementioned reel were recovered...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Nashua Through Devens

Got out on the water today for my post-Thanksgiving paddle with hopes of working off a little stuffing.

I launched into the Nashua River in Devens, MA, located off of Hospital Road, and used the newfangled boat ramp there for the second time...
It's like doing a seal launch with safety rails.  No muddy boots!

Headed first downriver (opening photo) to the old Ice House Dam, arriving just as a long freight train was working westbound beneath a hillside array of solar panels...
The train must have been a mile long and consisted of single-stack intermodal containers.

A hydro-plant sits just above the dam...

Heading back upriver I came across this very old snapping turtle who'd recently given up the fight...

Before reaching Route 2 these scent mounds were encountered, which often indicate river otters...
...and shortly thereafter I spotted one lounging on a log...
While the otters (there were three) were curious I was surprised when one by one they went ashore...
I'd have thought they'd feel safer in the water rather than on land.  After crawling into the brush one stayed put even when I was within 10 feet.  I'm thinking he thought I couldn't see him.

Three small white-tailed deer were seen bouncing along the river also.

For most of today's paddle the weather was cloudy with a brief rain shower.  However, just as I headed back to the put-in, the sun emerged and backlit my route downriver...

A fair amount of trash was gathered up along the way...


 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

No Gridlock Here

On this busiest travel day of the year I found the Sudbury River in Wayland quite tranquil.  After launching at Sherman's Bridge I headed upriver and encountered no crowds, or horns, or tailgaters...just the golden glow from a soon to be setting sun. 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I was hoping to see a humble riverside abode with smoke rising from the chimney...but instead found this most modest musquash lodge...
...where hopefully the musquash family is safely home for the holiday.

The day's trash haul was most modest as well...

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Barren Concord River

The recent spell of great weather was fast coming to an end on Sunday morning.  Forecasters were predicting a brief lull between early morning showers and a warning for high wind gusts which would take effect at 11 am.  This allowed me just enough time to enjoy a quick paddle down the Concord River to Buttrick's Hill and back.

The Old North Bridge (above photo) had a decidedly barren and wintry look.  A little downstream of the bridge were the droppings some shore fishermen have left behind...
It didn't look like much at first but ended up containing 5 fishing bobbers, 2 reels of fishing line, a can and a plastic bottle both wound with coiled fishing line, plastic bags with food/tackle packaging, several fish hooks, and a steak knife...all left at water's edge within site of the Old North Bridge.   Just can't understand how someone could walk away after doing this. 

Reaching my turnaround point at Buttricks Hill I thought of how a little smoke rising from this cabin's smoke pipe would have completed the scene and mood...   

Egg Rock looked a lot less friendly than it looked on Saturday...

The morning's trash haul...