Sunday, December 19, 2010

Norumbega Waters

While I did drive to the south today in search of warmer climes, apparently, I didn't drive far enough.  However, I can't complain too much for the Charles River did provide open water to launch into and, believe it or not, the launch site was fairly busy with 5 kayaks hitting the water within a few minutes of each other.  Last Sunday's rain and wind storm raised the water level substantially and this helped to dislodge much of the ice.
We headed upriver from the Norumbega Duck Feeding area (where signs forbid feeding ducks).  I say we because, today, I again joined forces with J.R. Killigrew for one more 2010 trash patrol.
Proceeding upriver, folks were seen cross-country skiing on the river's west bank.  They were gliding along snow that came from the river through this pipeline...
I had never thought of the Charles River as being a source for snow-making.

Much of today's trash required some persuasion to give up its icy grip.  Here J.R. can be seen doing a little persuading with his hatchet...
 A freshly recovered and empty Mountain Dew bottle was his reward...
The turnaround point for today was the golf cart bridge leading to the back nine at the Leo J. Martin Memorial Golf Course...
J.R. would later put together this video of today's patrol...

Back at Norumbega, our joint haul numbered 66 pieces of trash and brought YTD total to 6453.  There were 40 recyclable containers of which 4 were redeemable and 26 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as styrofoam buoys, coffee cups, tennis balls, cans of spray paint, etc.  One of the more egregious finds was a well sealed quart container of motor oil that was half full of oil.  The haul is pictured below...
That yellow buoy sure looks like a lobster buoy to me.  Perhaps it marked a string of crayfish pots.

So, were we really paddling Norumbega waters?  A quick search on the internet regarding Norumbega turned up the following from Wikipedia:  Norumbega was a legendary settlement in northeastern North America inextricably connected with attempts to demonstrate Viking incursions in New England.  Like Cathay, it was a semi-legendary name used to fill a gap in existing geographical knowledge.  Wikipedia's account continues and this is the part I find tantalizing: an early reference was that of the French navigator Jean Allefonsce (1542) who reported that he had coasted south from Newfoundland and he had discovered a great river.  "The river is more than 40 leagues wide at its entrance and retains its width some thirty or forty leagues.  It is full of islands, which stretch some ten or twelve leagues into the sea...Fifteen leagues within this river there is a town called Norumbega, with clever inhabitants, who trade in furs of all sorts; the town folk are dressed in furs, wearing sable....The people use many words which sound like Latin.  They worship the sun.  They are tall and handsome in form.  The land of Norumbega lie high and is well situated."
If a league is thought to be about 3 miles, he was describing a very large river and bay.  Perhaps the Saint Lawrence or Penobscot rivers fit his description better than the Charles?   The mystery remains unsolved.

2 comments:

Erik Eckilson said...

I've been wanting to paddle up there, but I never seem to make it. Have you ever seen the "Canoeing on the Charles" postcards from the Newton Historical Society - pretty cool.

http://www.ci.newton.ma.us/jackson/canoeing/

Suasco Al said...

Erik, Thanks for the great link. Those post cards show how the Newton/Waltham area was some kind of 'Canoe Heaven' back in the day!
I was hatched not very far from the banks of the Charles River and spent my formative years in Waltham.
Also remember a scary ride at Norumbega Park called 'Davey Jones Locker'.
The course of the 19-mile Run of the Charles passes through this section.