Sunday, August 25, 2013

Up the Merrimack to Nashua

Upon finishing some morning work in Bedford yesterday I was hoping to get my boat into water a little deeper and wider than my local rivers have been of late.  Shortly I was driving up Route 3 to Tyngsborough where I launched into the Merrimack River.  That's when it occurred to me that closing a loop, so to speak, was within my reach.  Paddling the stretch of the Merrimack between Tyngsborough and the Nashua River confluence would put another 6 miles of this river under my boat's hull.  The photo at left shows my approach to the Circumferential Highway Bridge in Nashua,NH.  At that point I was bound and determined to reach the Merrimack's confluence with the Nashua River after another 3 miles of upriver paddling.

On my way I encountered only one other paddler...

...Tony Foley, a singer enjoying some downtime on the river before performing Caribbean themed songs at the Bahama Breeze Island Grille in Tyngsborough.

A variety of power boats were seen including one towing a water-skier.

At last I passed under the Route 111 bridge and the Nashua/Merrimack confluence was reached...
I poked into the Nashua River just enough to pickup 2 bait tubs and a couple of empty beer cans which topped off my ship's hold for trash.  My boat and I rested briefly on the tongue of the confluence...
...bow pointing towards the Merrimack while stern floats in the Nashua.

On the trip downriver I hugged the west side and was able to briefly enter Salmon Brook where it drops over a small dam.  This is the view one has from Salmon Brook just before passing under the railroad tracks and into the Mighty Merrimack...

A little further downriver, also on the west side, was this geyser of sorts...
I believe it was the treated effluent from the City of Nashua Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Once back in Tyngsborough I poked around the bend in the river just far enough to get this glimpse of the elegant bridge spanning the river there...

Returning to the takeout this gaping gator was seen...

My trash haul had assembled earlier on a safer sandy beach...
Most of this trash was found near spots where ropes allow folks to take the plunge.  Aside from these spots the river was relatively clean.
Nonetheless, today's haul included 88 recyclable containers and 29 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as plastic bags and cardboard packaging.  YTD = 4121

This stretch of river saw another small boat heading upriver some 174 years ago at the beginning of September.  John and Henry Thoreau were on the third day of their Concord and Merrimack journey in 1839 when they passed through the same area.  Henry would later, in his book A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, make this comparison of the two rivers: "Unlike the Concord, the Merrimack is not a dead but a living stream, though it has less life within its waters and on its banks.  It has a swift current, and, in this part of its course, a clayey bottom, almost no weeds, and comparatively few fishes."  His words still ring true.

2 comments:

denise hurt said...

Yes Al, that geyser is water treatment plant. That was quite a paddle - mileage?

Suasco Al said...

Hi Denise, My trip odometer showed 14 miles for the up and back, but I did a lot of meandering. I believe the distance between the Tygnsborough launch and the Nashua River confluence is 6.5 miles.