Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Long Pond and Quinebaug River

This trash policy sign is the first thing I saw upon entering the Long Pond boat launch on Old Streeter Road off Route 20 in Sturbridge, this morning.  It is simple and straight to the point or as they would say in New Hampshire "nuff said". 
My plan for today was to explore Long Pond before entering East Brimfield Lake and ascending the Quinebaug River to Canoe Rest Stop # 3 (where I turned around on a previous downstream paddle).
Once on the water, I paddled past the remains of an old dam and  looking to the north, enjoyed this inviting view...

Unlike most ponds of this size, there are no boat docks or cottages close to the shore. 

To reach the furthest north section of the pond required a little "duck and paddle" to get under the Champeaux Road bridge...

Just past the bridge, on the left, is a nice fishing area maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers...

There are two streams entering the pond from the north.  Both pass under the Massachusetts Turnpike which can be seen from the pond's northern tip.  The stream in the northwest corner showed quite a bit of beaver activity including this dam...

This painted turtle was nearby...

Between the two streams was this marshy area where the lion's share of today's trash was encountered...

Once back at the pond's south end, I paddled under Route 20 and into East Brimfield Lake which was created by the Army Corp in 1958 for flood control.  The dam seen in the distance (east) was built to hold back the Quinebaug River...


Here I headed to the west and crossed under E. Brimfield/Holland Road in order to ascend the Quinebaug to Canoe Rest Stop # 3.  This had me paddling the section of the river where last June's tornado cut quite a swath of damage.  In places the effect was surreal...


Despite the considerable damage to homes and businesses, it appears some folks still have a sense of humor...


A little ways before reaching my turnaround point at Rest Stop # 3, I passed this bridge abutment which may be a remnant of the railroad that never saw a train due to an iceberg...

In 1910 the Southern New England Railway was chartered as a subsidiary to the Grand Trunk Railroad to connect Providence, RI to other railroads in Palmer, MA.  A considerable amount of grading and bridge abutments had been completed before the HMS Titanic sank with the railroad's builder, Charles Melville Hays, onboard April 15, 1912...almost 100 years ago to the day.  The book Titanic Railroad written by Larry Lowenthal provides the whole story. 
I should note that a trolley line also ran through this same area and the above bridge abutment may have served to support those tracks.  Unlike the railroad, the trolley line did actually operate, running between Springfield and Worcester. 

At the Canoe Rest Stop all passengers onboard my more modest ship paused for some leg stretching...


Today's haul consisted of 40 recyclable containers (12 redeemable) and 42 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as the empty coal bag, a plastic 5-gallon pail, plastic bags, styrofoam, and a small aircraft piloted by an alien lifeform resembling a crayfish.  On the way back to the Long Pond boat launch a deflated mylar balloon joined the crew.  YTD = 1509.

2 comments:

Erik Eckilson said...

Looks like you had a nice day - sorry I missed it.

Suasco Al said...

It was a pleasant surprise to find this post recently listed as a news item on an international paddling Web site: www.playak.com