Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Bit of the Mighty Merrimack and Powow Rivers

Having a little business on the north shore this morning, I decided to do some paddling on the mighty Merrimack River in Newburyport and Amesbury, afterwards.  Another blog, Kayak the Merrimack, in a 10/10/2011 post had mentioned the Cashman Park launch site in Newburyport and its proximity to 4 islands in the tidal section of the river.

Upon my arriving at Cashman Park, skies were sunny and there was a light breeze from the north/northeast.  As launch sites go, this is one of the better ones I've run across (at least during the less busy times).  There is parking for both trailer towing vehicles and cartop haulers.  Another welcome feature is a clean portable restroom.
This photo is looking back at Cashman Park from near Ram Island...
 
Once I'd reached the river's north side, I headed upriver behind Ram, Carr, Eagle, and Deer Islands.  The tide was still ebbing some 4.5 hours after high tide.  Three ospreys and 2 red-tailed hawks were seen on and over Eagle Island.  After passing under the Spofford St. bridge, which is being rebuilt, I approached the Route 95 bridge (seen in the opening photo).  Those big puffy white clouds looked a little ominous.

Just before passing Salisbury Point, I saw this bald eagle soaring...

After returning my gaze to the shore, Lowell's Boat Shop caught my eye...

Their Web site states "A National Historic Landmark and working museum dedicated to preserving and perpetuating the art and craft of wooden boat building."  Many a fishing dory has been born inside those walls.

A little further upriver I came to the confluence of the Merrimack and Powow Rivers and passed under the center-wheeled bridge which carries Main Street over the Powow...

The river soon gets narrow and shallow as can be seen in this photo...
At the point where the Powow splits in two directions, I turned around.  Once back at the confluence, I went ashore at Alliance Park and enjoyed some lunch.  In addition to this location's pre-contact Native American significance, it also played an important role in the early days of shipbuilding as these two plaques attest...



The sunshine was fast giving way to much darker clouds and a rapidly building breeze as I relaunched my boat for the return trip to Cashman Park.  Shortly after getting underway, the skies let loose with a barrage of hail.  Sure glad I wore my winter gear including a hat with earflaps as those hailstones had some stinging power!
The hail gave way to steady rain as I approached the Spofford St. bridge...

The trip back downriver was much faster than the trip up and as I approached my destination, several claps of thunder inspired even more acceleration.  That'll teach me to never again complain about the lack of meaningful rain!

Today's modest trash haul would have no moment in the sun...
There were 6 recyclable containers (2 redeemable) and 16 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as styrofoam, plastic bags, a smiley face balloon, and 8 Hooksett disks.  These disks are from the Hooksett, NH Wastewater Treatment plant and are still being found 13 months after their accidental release some 40 miles upriver.
YTD (trash total) = 1650

2 comments:

PenobscotPaddles said...

Such a beautiful looking stretch of water! I'm often tempted by it when we drive through Mass, but never have had the opportunity to paddle it. Thanks for making it even better!

Suasco Al said...

PenobscotPaddles, You're welcome. I too am tempted when driving Rt. 1 over the Penobscot River in Bucksport. One of these days, I hope to paddle that stretch.