Thursday, December 1, 2011

Assabet River - Acton to Damondale

I can't think of a better way to kick-off the month of December than to be out and about in my boat on local waters.  The Acton Canoe Launch is less than 2 miles from my home and offers very convenient access to the Assabet River, below the Powdermill Dam.  The actual put-in is at an almost perfectly sized backwater with a gravel bottom.  Once positioned in my boat, I pulled out into a shallow and fast moving river...

The guage at Maynard was 3.72' and for this flatwater paddler, joining the river's flow was like merging onto Rt. 128.

Once past the the Valley Sports ice-skating facility things slowed down and the river took on a more serene appearance...


The trip down to Damondale went smoothly and the cooler and more seasonable temperatures were a welcome change to this paddler.
Arriving at the Damonmill Dam, I checked the narrow opening where the river is funneled through...

 
While it may have looked tempting to shoot right on through, today was not going to mark my first ever passage.  Instead, I landed at the intact portion of the dam and enjoyed lunch while watching the river rush on by...

 
Following lunch, I began my trip back upriver.  The last half mile required some hard work in order to overcome the current.

Back in Acton, my trash haul spilled forth...

 
Today's catch of 56 was composed of 39 recyclable containers (10 redeemable) and 17 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as styrofoam cups, plastic bags, and an errant laundry basket. 
YTD = 7131

At this point, I'd like to share a rather strange recent experience.  Several days ago, I awoke from a dream in which a person, unknown to me, was emphatically repeating the word "matawa" to me over and over again.  Eating my breakfast, I wrote the word down on a piece of paper for later reference with no idea of its meaning. At the first opportunity, I googled the word and was surprised to find hits for a Native American word and location in Ontario, Canada.  "Mattawa" is an Ojibway word meaning "meeting of the waters" and specifically applies to the confluence of the Ottawa and Mattawa rivers.
What's strange about this is that I've always felt river confluences are and were places of big mojo.
So, to find out there is, in fact, such a word as "matawa" and that it has that meaning leaves me to wonder who the person was and why they wanted me to know it (hearing theme music from The Twilight Zone). 
This location Mattawa was a key point on the network of waterways used in the fur trade.  One of my favorite movies, "Black Robe" tells a story of a small band of Algonquins escorting a Jesuit priest over this route by canoes in 1634.  Time to fire up the DVD player!  

2 comments:

Bernie Paquette said...

We need the word they had for cleaning or cleansing of the waters. That would be a good Indian name for you, I think.
Bernie
P.S. Floatsam diaries has recognized you (Trash Paddler) via a Tweet.

Trout Undiscovered said...

Nice work, nice post...thanks for making people aware of this problem!