Thursday, December 14, 2017

Memorable Trash Patrol # 3

One thing I've learned over the past ten years is that each waterway has a story to tell about the role it played in human history.  Waterways were used in exploration, trade, and strategically in warfare...especially so in King Philip's War and the American Revolution.  Most of the stories from those conflicts are lacking in details.  However, the evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga by American forces on July 6, 1777 was an exception thanks to the notes kept by James Thacher, M.D.  Reading Thacher's notes compelled me in June 2016 to retrace their escape route.  Paddling in their wake I could imagine them taking a leisurely pace while believing the floating chain barrier behind them would delay their pursuers.  They were mistaken.
The post.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Memorable Trash Patrol # 4

Used beverage containers comprise the majority of the trash I encounter when paddling waterways.  For the most part they're unwanted by any and all.  After adopting them I do my best to see that they're recycled whenever possible.  Back in February of 2012 I encountered a rare beverage container that the manufacturer actually valued and wanted back.  It was a two post affair:
Part one.

Part two.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Memorable Trash Patrol # 5

Looking back over the past ten years and more than 1100 posts of this blog I've put together a compilation of my most memorable experiences and called it "My Trashpaddlin' Days".  Of the many encounters I've had with wildlife while trashpaddling, one in particular was my hands-down favorite.
It occurred on a quiet Sunday morning in October of 2009.  I was paddling upstream on the Assabet River in Concord, MA and had just passed beneath the Route 2 bridge near the Concord Reformatory.  Looking ahead I saw in the distance an animal so unlikely to be seen around these parts that I felt surprise and disbelief simultaneously.  As I slowly paddled closer those feelings were soon replaced with exhilaration as the encounter took on a mano a mano character.

Herewith the post:

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Festive Fairhaven

This December marks the tenth anniversary of this blog, and yesterday a small Xmas tree helped in creating a festive atmosphere, as I paddled the Sudbury River from Egg Rock up to Fairhaven Bay.

En route I paddled under a tranquil Nashawtuc Road bridge...

At Clamshell Bank some red berries seemed to be hiding amidst a sea of phragmites...

Approaching Fairhaven Bay I encountered 3 boats of fishermen...

Another 3 boats were in the bay proper along with a few kayaks...like a last fling before the bay starts icing over!

Went ashore on Brooks Island and enjoyed some hot cocoa while reflecting back on these past ten years.  I hope to share some of my favorite "trashpaddling" experiences in future December posts.


The trip's trash amounted to a small haul...
...but did include a Kmart plastic bag announcing "Life is ridiculously AWESOME".   Hmmm.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Another Assabet Afternoon

Whereas yesterday was windy and warm, today I encountered calm and cool conditions when  launching from Lowell Road in Concord.  A rather loud pileated woodpecker patrolled the area where the Assabet and Sudbury rivers join at Egg Rock.

After checking the water level at the rock's inscription...
...I ascended the Assabet River up to Nashoba Brook and the old railroad bridge...
...currently being prepared for Bruce Freeman Rail Trail use.

Trash included a blaze orange air mattress and "Wilson"...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Tempting Bargain

The bargain was plenty of gusty wind in exchange for some 55 degree plus warmth.  I accepted the deal and launched onto the Assabet River from Russell's Bridge at the Maynard/Stow town line.
Paddled against the mostly northwest wind for about 2.6 miles upriver..almost losing my hat several times.  The trip back downriver was very pleasant with the wind and sun at my back.  It seemed the cold front was passing overhead as I paddled, while the sky behind me in the west was clear.

Found one section of river that was protected from the wind (opening photo).

Other photos from the back lit downriver trip included a short foray into Elizabeth Brook...
...where I didn't ask my shoulder to push me past the beaver dam.

The waxing supermoon...

Russsell's Bridge...

A small haul of trash...

 
 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Caution on the Concord

It was with trepidation that I paddled away from the Bedford Boat Launch on the Concord River yesterday morning.  A paddling trip earlier this month resulted in an episode of shoulder and arm issues which, previously, I'd never experienced.  Following a doctor's instructions, which included an injection of cortisone, no paddling, and some anti-inflammatory meds, I was ready to find out if doing what's always come second-nature to me (propelling my boat forward using a paddle) was still possible.

So, equipped with a Thanksgiving appreciation for just how blessed I've been and a pound or two of recently acquired girth, I had a plan: one of those heat-wraps applied to my shoulder, plenty of warm dry gear, a very short and low paddling stroke, and some post-paddle ibuprofen (aka "vitamin I").

Once on the river I soon encountered the TRYAK with its 2-member crew powering upriver against the current and southwest breeze...a good omen I hoped...

My boat and I crawled at record-slow pace along the west shore, taking a brief respite in a slough along the way...
...where skim-ice lingered beyond the heron.

Eventually, I reached my next respite and turnaround spot by this wooden structure at Saw Mill Brook...

The brook conveys the waters of Estabrook Woods and Punkatasset Hill through this small raceway...
...before tumbling into the river.

The trip back downriver was much faster and easier thanks to the aforementioned breeze...

Gathered up some stuff (looking like it didn't belong) along the way...

I thought it best to wait until this morning before pronouncing the trip a success..or not.  So far so good and, while cautiously optimistic, I've no plans for ascending any beaver dams in the immediate future.