Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Clean Pair of Paddles

This past Sunday morning an up and back paddle between Magazu's Landing and Gleasondale revealed that some previously blocked sections had opened up.  However, the box culvert to Fort Meadow Brook was found to be closed to traffic...

In the area of river between the above two photos a pair of camera-shy river otters were patrolling the shoreline.

At a fallen tree across the river near Gleasondale the remains of a ruggedly built raft partially block one passage...
 ...and made for a tight squeeze.

Very little in the way of trash was encountered on the water...

This plastic bag containing trash left tied to the railing is perplexing...


Today on a cloudy and unusually still afternoon an up and back paddle was undertaken on the Nashua River between Rt. 119 and its confluence with the Squannacook River.
This photo shows just how still it was...

A green heron was encountered on the trip upriver...

...as well as a pair of tentative divers on Fitch's Bridge...
Folks have probably been jumping into the river from a bridge of one kind or the other at this location since the 1700s.

A little further along was this coming attraction...
...serving to remind that August is half over.

The river was fairly busy near Nashoba Paddlers...
...but not another soul was found at the mouth of the Squannacook...

Again, trash was few and far between for a 5-mile stretch of river...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Montaup to Chesawanuck

This past Thursday on a perfect summer's morn I launched from the Mount Hope Boat Launch in Bristol, RI and headed south past Montaup (pictured at left).  High tide was approaching and the day's usual southerly breeze was still in the formative stage.  My destination was Hog Island in Narragansett Bay on the other side of Bristol Point.

Once past Montaup the Mount Hope Bridge came into view...

Past the bridge was the pudgy-looking Hog Island Shoal Light...

Just to the north was the low-lying section of Hog Island where I made landfall.  Knowing that I was in the heart of the Wampanoag leader Ousamequin's (aka Massasoit) domain I wondered by what name he knew this small island.  A little online research led me to the Pilgrim Hall Museum site where a 1683 deposition mentions "little island near adjacent unto Mount Hope in the Narragansett Bay formerly called by the Indians Chesawanuck and now by the English Hog Island."  Other spellings for Chesawanuck were found in Native American Place Names of Massachusetts by R.A. Lithgow:  "Chessawamicke", "Chissawonook", and "Chisawamicke".  The island became a bone of contention in the buildup to the conflict known as King Philips War when Ousamequin's son, Metacom (aka King Philip), ferried his pigs out to the island to graze. Problem was his father and older brother had apparently sold the island to a Mr. Richard Smith of Portsmouth, and the town of Portsmouth demanded that Metacom remove the pigs from the island.  The incident is discussed in a 1994 article by Virginia DeJohn Anderson entitled King Philip's Herds:Indians, Colonists, and the Problem of Livestock in Early New England.

A paddle around the island revealed a good number of cottages on the spots with higher ground.   While no hogs were seen the island's north tip was teeming with terns...

Oddly, though the island is located in the mouth of Bristol Harbor, it's actually in a different county, Newport.  Bristol is this close...

Once I finished my circumnavigation I headed for the Mount Hope Bridge with the breeze at my back...

Passing under the bridge brought me close to the Bristol Ferry Light...
...dwarfed by the bridge which rendered the light obsolete.

This view of Montaup welcomed me back to Mount Hope Bay...


My brief stay on Chesawanuck yielded this bit of flotsam from the island's southeast corner...
Amidst the sand, seashells, and seagrass the stuff certainly looked out of place.

Each time I paddle another section of Narragansett Bay I become more impressed with just how much of a boater's paradise it is.
  


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Fawns at Dawn

Got out on the Sudbury River early this morning while there was still some mist over the water.  Launched at Shermans Bridge in Wayland and headed upriver.

Came around a bend to find a doe and her three fawns at water's edge...
As luck would have it I was downwind and therefore undetected.  I watched as the doe led her fawns towards the river...
...where they waded in...
...and then it was everybody out...

In another few yards all four of them disappeared completely into the brush, and almost had me wondering if they'd really been there.

A little further upriver I met the egret in charge...

Beyond him was a water chestnut harvesting rig that perhaps had bitten-off more than it could chew...

 Returned to the takeout with a nearly empty crate...
No trash 'round here.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Assabet Springs to Life

Got out on the Assabet River in Acton today to see first-hand the effects of yesterday's deluge of rain.  The USGS gauge upriver in Maynard told the story.  The gauge height went from 1.6' on Tuesday at noon to 3' by mid-afternoon thanks to a thunderstorm that stalled over the area.  By 11 am this morning the level had dropped to 2.4' which was just about perfect for my purposes.  The extra depth allowed me to paddle/walk my boat upriver to the Powder Mill Dam (pictured above) and then paddle down to Damonmill and back. 

Of course I heard the dam before rounding the bend and getting this first glimpse of it...

These Cardinal flowers were thriving on the island below the dam...

The higher levels allowed me to explore the slough up to Old High Street where downriver paddlers would enter after portaging the dam...

Several ospreys were heard and seen...

When I returned upriver to the Acton Canoe Launch I caught a glimpse of something swimming upriver...
...and was a little surprised to see a snorkeler rise up out of the river...

A reasonably small amount of trash gathered up along the way...


On Tuesday I ventured out to the Millers River in Athol launching at Alan E. Rich Environmental Park and headed downriver...

In traveling down to Orange and back I ran across a few oldies but goodies like this poor doggie...
...and these old bottles...

The green one was the most interesting as it was embossed with "Morgan Memorial Goodwill Mineral Water" of nearby South Athol.  In doing a little online research I came across this reference in the 1927 Pioneering in Modern City Missions by Edgar James Helms of Morgan Memorial Goodwill: "For unknown centuries there has been flowing out of the solid rock on our plantation a beautiful spring of cold mineral water  The water has been analyzed, and pronounced of fine therapeutic value.  During the years, hundreds of sick folk have testified to having been healed of rheumatism, skin, and other diseases by use of this water.  We are now preparing to carbonate it and put it on the market." 

The bottle was in very good condition perhaps having been last filled in the 1930's or 1940's.  Here it is ready for service...
Wonder if the spring still flows from the solid rock.

Other, less noble, trash encountered along the way...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Assabet Goin' Low

Guess you can't blame the Assabet River for goin' low after this past week's events on our national stage.  Never thought I'd see the likes of what the new WH director of communications did and got away with...fair to say the mask has now been removed.  What we see is what we got.  Cheery thought, eh?

Last Sunday morning's gusty winds sent several more trees into the river such as this spot beyond the new buoy...
...between the Leaning Hemlocks and Dove Rock.

Made it from Egg Rock up to Nashoba Brook where this shopping cart graced the confluence...
An attempt was made to transport it on my aft deck...
 As far as I know, only this green heron saw the debacle that ensued...
The shopping cart was instead brought up the bank and placed near a bench behind Concord Park.

The day's haul of trash...
...included the first can of Mayflower beer I've come across...
...and a plate from jolly ole England...

Saw my first Cardinal flower of this season today which means summer is getting a little long in the tooth.