Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Down to Damondale and Back

On this busiest travel day of the year I had it easy thanks to my workday starting at daybreak and ending before noon.  This left me without a memorable or difficult journey home for Thanksgiving.  Therefore, I decided to create my own small journey home (of sorts) by first paddling a local stretch of the Assabet River from the Acton Canoe Launch down to Damondale Mill (photo at left).  The trip was almost effortless with a nice current, though a little bumpy due to shallow water. 

Along the way these cardinals really stood out against the bare shrubbery...

A blue heron enjoyed some sunshine at the base of a ridge...

  This beaver kept a wary eye on me...
 
 
It turned out that 2 of his buddies had wandered a fair distance from the river.  When I rounded the next bend one slid quickly down the riverbank while the other was trapped briefly behind a chicken-wire fence.  If I'd been quicker on the draw, a picture of a large beaver behind bars would have been mine.  Alas, he remembered needing to slide under the fence, and he hit the water much like an otter.
 
After turning around at Damondale I began my self-imposed mini journey home against a shallow flowing current.  I steadfastly clawed my way upriver by trying to find the routes where water was deep enough to paddle.  Like John Walton trying to get back to Walton's Mountain, I overcame obstacle after obstacle until this one section forced my exit from the boat...
 
Towing my boat through the shallows, I thought about that first Thanksgiving here in Massachusetts 391 years ago.  Descendants of the Pilgrim attendees remember it fondly.  Descendants of the Wampanoag attendees, not so much.  Sadly, it's beginning to look, more and more, like the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is going to get short-changed in their efforts to build a gaming casino in southeastern Massachusetts.  Seems there's a "Catch-22" of sorts in the Federal regulations that may preclude the tribe from placing a piece of property into a required trust.  Complicating things further, the State's recently drawn up Compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag was rejected by the Feds for being too exploitive of the Tribe (imagine that).  I guess some things just never change.  My Thanksgiving hope is that both the State and Federal governments will remember why the US Congress created the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988:  "The Act's purpose is to provide a statutory basis for the operation of gaming by tribes to promote tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments." 
 
Finally I reached the river landing in Acton and unloaded the day's catch before heading up the hill to my home...
There were 12 recyclable containers (9 redeemable) and 31 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as plastic bags, a balloon, and nip bottles.  YTD = 6495
 
Hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving. 


4 comments:

Erik Eckilson said...

Happy Thanksgiving Al - always enjoy your trip reports and your thoughts. We should get together for some late fall paddling.

Suasco Al said...

Thanks Erik, I was remembering that day last December when you, Tommy and Jeff guided me on my first passage through the broken dam at Damondale. I'd like to get together for some late fall paddling with you and pick your brain a bit about solo canoes made for kneeling. Hope you also have a great Thanksgiving.

PenobscotPaddles said...

Is that pie to the right?

Suasco Al said...

Yes, PenobscotPaddles it does appear to be a pie plate. I'm picturing a nice warm apple pie, just out of the oven, having once been upon it!