Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reminder of the Crash

Found an old Maydale soda bottle while paddling the Assabet River yesterday in Stow between Sudbury Rd. and Gleasondale (photo at left).  The Maydale Beverage Company was located just downriver a bit in Maynard, Massachusetts and produced sodas and spring water in the early to mid 1900's.   Unlike previous Maydale bottles I've come across that were chipped or broken this one is in relatively good shape and has a nice green color.  After a little cleaning it looked even better...
On the bottle's base is embossed "29N" which I'm guessing is the year and month the bottle was made.  If that's correct this bottle came into use shortly after the Stock Market crashed in late October 1929.  Might that explain its getting tossed into the river? 

Now, I just have to find a spot for it among my other river relics...

The Maydale bottle 'in the rough' with other trash encountered yesterday...

I'd hoped to visit Fort Meadow Brook but passage through the box culvert was, thanks to the work of some beavers, out of the question...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tully's Pitchers

The Tully River in Royalston had the feel of fall this morning.  A crisp breeze out of the north and temperatures in the 50s required my jacket for the first time in quite awhile.  Got to say it felt good.

For some unexplained reason I had a hankerin' to see some pitcher plants in the wild and recalled having seen some on the Tully River.  On my paddle upriver from the launch I looked in vain for the plants before eventually sliding up 3 beaver dams.  The 4th beaver dam was a little higher than the others and made a good spot to turnabout...

...and drink in the view of Jacobs Hill to the east...

On the return trip pitcher plants were found in 2 locations.  While the flowers look shriveled...
...the plants themselves still retain their lush purple...

At the north end of Tully Lake a group of canoeists headed south...

The very small trash haul was hardly worth a snapshot...

I'm cool with fall, just not too crazy about what comes after. 
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Adios Summer 2016

Was able to get out on the Concord River today and enjoy this last afternoon of summer.  It was a beauty of a day, like so many of those preceding it.

Paddled from the Bedford Boat Launch down to where the Middlesex Turnpike formerly crossed the river (many moons ago)...

Stopped to visit the small island located in the vicinity of where H.D.T and his brother camped back in 1839...
...and found a fire circle perhaps a little more recent than theirs...


Came across a balloon that (provided the penciled date is true) has held its helium for more than 30 years...

An osprey hunted upriver from the Route 3 overpass...

Trash was about for the taking...
...and conformed to a summery theme.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Making the Cut

One objective on this last Sunday of summer was to hopefully complete a job someone else had started.  About 2 miles above Magazu's Landing on the Assabet River in Stow a tree laid across the river that of late has required an "up and over" by this boater.

Recently, I saw (above photo) that someone had taken either an axe or hatchet to the tree, at just the right spot, in hopes of severing the obstacle.

So at sunrise I headed upriver with my handsaw...and, working from my boat's cockpit, cut through enough of the tree for it to sink down below the surface...
   ...allowing me the simple satisfaction of passing through without  having to perform the "up and over" maneuver.

This showy hibiscus facing south into the morning's summery breeze was my reward...

On the way back I encountered what I believe to be a very shy immature night heron...
 
No trash seen today!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Assabet's Recovery Zone

The view looking up the Assabet River from beneath the Old High Street bridge in Acton, just above the Powder Mill Dam, isn't one I often get to enjoy.  However, I did see it this morning while participating in the OARS Annual River Cleanup.   

This ponded section of water above the dam doesn't see many paddlers, as access isn't the easiest and there's still a stigma from the many years wastewater sludge was disposed of here.  The sludge disposal stopped several decades ago and nature's healing process has been occurring unseen, beneath the surface.

Things are looking better above the surface as well...

There were hawks circling above the appropriately named Pine Hawk site...
...and this guy was ensconced on a platform intended for an osprey...

Heading upriver brought me out of the ponded section to where the river narrows...
Travel up to this point was fairly easy thanks to the dam holding back what little flow the Assabet has these days during our prolonged drought.

An interesting riverside solarium? seen along the way...


Trash recovered from the section above the dam...
This trash soon joined the trash collected by other Acton participants in the bed of a town dump truck...


The Acton group then joined the Maynard contingent for pizza at the Maynard Elks parking lot where Congresswoman Niki Tsongas addressed the group...
...and spoke of her "2016 River Day" activities involving several Third District waterways including the Spicket and Nashua rivers.

For OARS, this was their 30th Annual River Cleanup and OARS Executive Director Alison Field-Juma spoke of the considerable progress made over the past 3 decades...
OARS volunteers also worked today on cleanups of the Concord and Sudbury rivers in addition to the Assabet.  A great day overall for eastern Massachusetts rivers.  Now, if we could just get some meaningful rain.



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Taste of Three Rivers

Paddled a bit of Concord's three rivers yesterday  with a group of Souhegan River Watershed Association paddlers down from neighboring New Hampshire.  After launching near Egg Rock, where the three rivers join, the group traversed a portion of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord rivers, in that order.


Along the lower Sudbury this foraging fawn was encountered...

Attesting to the ongoing drought were several items that'd been formerly submerged.  One was this boat propeller...

...another this hardhat found snagged on a tree branch...
...and this milk bottle from yesteryear found a little upstream of Concord's Old North Bridge...


The group ventured north on the Concord as far as Great Meadows Landing where some hiked the dike trails before making the trip back to Egg Rock.

The day's gathered trash gathered hullside before exiting the river...
 
 

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Quiet Quaboag

It'd been awhile (2012) since I last visited the Quaboag River boat launch at Rt. 148 in Brookfield.  When I arrived there yesterday morning I found the highway bridge had been replaced and access to the boat launch was now via a paved road.  Post-launch parking is not allowed at the launch but instead accomplished at Mill Station Park (a short drive or walk from the river). A plaque (opening photo) provides historical information about the location.  All-in-all it's quite an improvement over what previously existed.

Once on the river I paddled upstream noting considerable floating green algae, the product of our hot summer and not enough flushing rains?....

 
Soon I reached Quaboag Pond where there was hardly a ripple...

To the northeast I found and entered the Quaboag's tributary, East Brookfield River, which conveys the waters of the Five and Seven Mile rivers.
Despite the shallow river levels I was able to ascend the E. Brookfield almost to the point where Five Mile and Seven Mile converge.  Nearby, on what looks to be an island (in spring), I came across this strange collection of porta-potty walls, old doors, windows, mattresses, etc....

They're arranged in such a way as to possibly provide cover...
...during paint-ball skirmishes?

Returning to Quaboag Pond I paddled down to the southern end hoping to find the connection with Quacumquasit Pond.  Just when I was ready to give up, I saw this structure where the two ponds connect...
 To the side were posted instructions...

I believe the Flow Barrier is used to prevent high water backflow from Quaboag into Quacumquasit.  Not much threat of it being operated these days.  The actual barrier (suspended overhead) can be seen in this view from the Quacumquasit end...

Before turning back I enjoyed my first-ever look at Quacumquasit...


Yesterday's cloudy skies and unusually quiet conditions resulted in an ideal environment for trying to make sense of a recent tragedy.

Back at Quaboag River Crossing the sun was gaining ground and another warm afternoon was in the making.

Very little trash was encountered...in fact I paddled more than 4 miles before seeing the first piece of litter and that doesn't happen very often.

Most of this modest haul was found among the rocks beneath the new bridge...