Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An Easy Going Assabet

Days such as yesterday are what I long for all winter.  Classic summertime.  Sunny and hot with a light southwest breeze and a sense of time almost standing still.

The hottest hours of yesterday afternoon were wiled away on a very tranquil Assabet in Stow where the river was in no hurry to get anywhere, not even through the narrow passage downstream of Gleasondale...

An osprey was seen overhead, and painted turtles were hauled out on every rock or log.

One non-painted turtle that stood out from the crowd was this very relaxed fellow...

He was close to where I saw an old stinkpot musk turtle in April.  Perhaps it's a family member?

Trash was mostly old and stale...
There were 12 recyclable containers (1 redeemable) and 9 pieces of misc. rubbish.  YTD = 3361

The bottle standing to the left originated at the Simpson Spring Co. in So. Easton, Mass.  Later I would Google the company expecting to find it had, long ago, gone out of business.  Not so.  It is still bottling water and soda from the very same spring today.  Their web site says they're one of the oldest independent bottling plants in the United States.  Good to see a relatively small operation survive the test of time.

The bottle cleaned up nicely...
Markings on the bottom are G-6800 with a 3 and 59 on either side of an encircled I.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Blackburn Weekend

To say I look forward to participating in the Cape Ann Rowing Club's annual Blackburn Challenge each and every year would be an understatement.  Sandwiching the event into 3 nights of camping at Cape Ann Camp Site allows this paddler to get closer to a Cape Ann state of mind. 
So before earning the right to wear this year's T-shirt (at left), a few days were spent paddling about the Jones and Annisquam rivers, swimming at Wingaersheek Beach, and enjoying the taste of Cape Ann's seafood (my favorite was the fish chowder at the Causeway Restaurant).

And then, at last, yesterday morning the day of the event arrived and I paddled off from the campground...
...and glanced to my left at the rising sun...
    
Shortly I arrived at a busy Gloucester High School where nearly 400 rowers and paddlers were getting ready: race numbers, T-shirts, meal tickets, and a Skipper's Meeting.

Then all boats and paddleboards passed through the Gloucester Draw...

 ...to the official start line and the beginning of our clockwise circumnavigation of Cape Ann.

Conditions couldn't have been better: cool temperatures, little wind, calm seas, and a nice ride from the Annisquam's outgoing tide.

Awaiting us, 20 miles distant, at the Pavilion Beach finish line were good food, music, camaraderie, beer, and the satisfaction of having successfully made it round the Cape.

This morning, following a good night's sleep in the campground, some of Gloucester's Sunday Mornin' waterfront was visited on foot:

a two-man dory out for an early morning row...

a reminder of Blackburn's still standing building where he lived and ran his saloon...

a short summary about Blackburn on Gloucester's Harbor Walk...

a statue of Gloucester artist Fitz Hugh Lane...

...and an invitation to step into his shoes and be inspired...

...and begin thinking ahead to next year's event.


Some trash recovered from the Annisquam River on Thursday...
...which included another Hooksett Disk and an empty bottle of Captain Hook's preferred root beer...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Back on the Concord


After several days paddling the waters of Casco Bay in Maine, I was back on my local and non-saline Concord River this morning and it was found to be none too shabby.
 
After launching at the Bedford Boat Launch, I headed upriver (photo at left) and journeyed to the point where the Sudbury and Assabet rivers converge at Egg Rock...

Along the way a portal of Flint's Bridge (Monument Street) framed this view of the Buttrick Estate...

Approaching the Route 225 bridge on my subsequent downriver run to Two Brothers Rocks...

Trash encountered along the way...
There were 20 recyclable containers (7 redeemable) and 20 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as bait tubs and a Mylar balloon.  YTD = 3329

Favorite souvenir brought back to Massachusetts from Maine...
There's a desirable "Bottom Line" for our state.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another Day in Casco Bay

For me it is like a dream come true.  I awaken, once again, on an island and my first order of business is to get my boat in the water.  Conditions are ideal: west winds 5 to 10 knots, seas 1 to 2 feet, and the sun is climbing from the horizon.

My goal this morning is a counter-clockwise circumnavigation of Peaks Island with a short side-trip to Crow and Cow islands.  The cliffs of Cushing Island bask in the morning sun (at left) as I head towards the ocean side of Peaks where seabirds are about and an occasional seal pops up to check me out.

Swells riding in from the east and the incoming tide meeting the westerly breeze kept things lively at the entrance to Hussey Sound.  However, once astride little Pumpkin Knob the paddle could be put down long enough to snap a photo...

Paddling alongside Great Diamond Island I saw the Casco Bay Lines Wabanaki round the island's tip...

...and before I knew it my starting point and some breakfast were at hand...
This is an island where bicycles outnumber automobiles, both carbonated and non-carbonated beverage containers have redemption value and neither lay about as litter.

It is said that some Native Americans look forward to a hereafter called the "Happy Hunting Ground" where game will be plentiful and not too wary.  For an avid paddler such as I, a "Happy Paddling Place" such as the waters of Casco Bay and Peaks Island would do just fine.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Some Casco Bay Osprey

Started today with a an early morning paddle in the waters of Casco Bay.  First tune out of my shuffle was Van Morrison's "Sweet Thing" and the morning proved to be all that.
 
In less than 2 hours I passed 3 occupied and busy osprey nests.  The one pictured at left was the third, and is on Little Diamond Island.

Before clearing the harbor I'd launched from, there was a short wait for a couple of work boats going to their next job...

 
Osprey nest # 1 off of Great Diamond Island...
 
Osprey nest # 2 on little Cow Island...
 
There was also this egret hangin' with a gang of cormorants...
 
Trash was next to nothing perhaps due to Maine having, long ago, expanded their bottle bill...
 
Upon landing, I was reminded to keep the noise down...
 


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Petapawag to Squannacook via the Nashua

Today was perfect for listening to Donovan's song "Catch the Wind" and I was glad to have recently added it to my shuffle.  The Nashua River's south to north course and pine tree lined banks helped to buffer most of the wind gusts from the northwest.
After launching at Petapawag in Groton, I headed upriver towards Shirley and Ayer to the south.

The buffering pine trees...

This beaver-sculpted totem pole was encountered...

Upon reaching the mouth of the Squannacook River, I paddled on in and found a spot with a view towards the Squannacook/Nashua confluence where lunch was taken...

Once back on the Nashua, I enjoyed an easy ride with the current as I headed downriver. 

A short detour was made to explore a short bit of James Brook...

...where this clump of Great bulrush towered over me...

Below James Brook I began seeing numerous canoes and kayaks emanating from a boat livery operation.

The bridge that replaced the old Fitch's Bridge was serving as a diving platform for those daring to take the plunge...

The trip's trash haul consisted of mostly plastic...
There were 58 recyclable containers (8 redeemable) and 51 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as Styrofoam, fishing gear, an empty can of bug/tar remover and a "Go Grad" Mylar balloon.
YTD = 3289

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Buck Stops on the Assabet



We'd both gone to the Assabet River on this hot and muggy afternoon.  The young buck (photo at left) was between Russell's Bridge, where I'd launched from, and Crow Island.
Before encountering him, I'd paddled down to Ben Smith Dam with a short foray into Taylor Brook.  Usually the space under the former railroad bridge is clogged with debris.  However, today it was passable and allowed entry into the brook...

Once through, another old bridge spans the brook...
The area where the brook enters the Assabet is behind the Maynard Dept. of Public Works.

Returning to the river, I made my way up to Sudbury Road before rumbles of thunder sent me back to Russell's Bridge.

A modest batch of trash was collected...
 
 
There were 24 recyclable containers (14 redeemable) and 7 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish. 
YTD = 3180
 
My last glimpse of the buck...