Sunday, November 10, 2013

Paddling to the Praying Town

This morning, under mostly cloudy skies, I paddled a new section of the Charles River from Dover to South Natick thereby cobbling together two previously paddled sections.  McAdow's guidebook The Charles River:  Exploring Nature and History on Foot and by Canoe refers to this section as "Broadmoor". 
After launching at Bridge Street in Dover I headed downstream and encountered a group of river otters after paddling only half a mile (across from Peters Reservation).  They were popping up in different spots around me but didn't stay topside long enough for a photo.  One otter actually left the river and headed into the woods.  I would have thought an otter would feel safer in the water rather than on land.  This was the area where they were encountered...

Further along I would encounter this smaller and more camera-friendly mink...
...a very watchful hawk...
...and very stoic heron...
The mink, hawk, and heron were seen in the area of Mass Audubon's Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary.

Shortly before reaching South Natick I passed under the only bridge along this stretch...
 ..and noticed it's for foot-traffic only, and is private property.

Upon my arrival at South Natick the sun played a bit of peek-a-boo...
This area has historical significance as having been the site of the first Native American Praying Town in New England.  In a sense it might be called the first "Indian Reservation" in America.  It was established by order of the Massachusetts General Court in 1651 on the shores of the Charles River at a place given the Native American name "Natick".  The Reverend John Eliot preached Christianity to the Indians and, in the ensuing years, fourteen additional Praying Towns were established and ministered to by Eliot and his associate Daniel Gookin.  When the conflict known as "King Philip's War" broke out in 1675, the Praying Indians were forcibly removed from here and interned on Deer Island in Boston Harbor where, over the course of the winter, many succumbed to cold and lack of food.  After the war ended a few survivors were allowed to return, but much of what they'd built had been destroyed.  More information on the Praying Town can be found at this link.

Though much has changed, the waters of the Charles River still flow over a dam here some 338 years later...


...and below a couple were fly-fishing...

Back at Bridge Street my trash haul decided to take a dip...

 ...in a nearly perfect sized kiddee pool.  There were 35 recyclable containers (13 redeemable) and 37 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish which included the pool.  YTD = 5736

I was watching the movie "The Outlaw Josey Wales" last night and was struck by actor Chief Dan George (playing Lone Watie) relating how the Cherokee tribal leaders were told by the US Secretary of the Interior "you must endeavor to persevere".  He further related "we thought about it for a long time, 'Endeavor to persevere'.  And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

6 comments:

Ron Haines said...

I fled to the warmth of South Florida a week ago. See you next year. Enjoying your missives.

Suasco Al said...

Thanks Ron, I'd say you're a very wise man to have vacated these parts right about now.
Look forward to seeing you in the spring.

Anonymous said...

We always enjoy reading your posts and wish that we hadn't already put our kayaks away for the winter.

Erik Eckilson said...

I never put my canoe away - hope we can get out and paddle sometime beefier it gets too cold.

Suasco Al said...

Eric, Agree with you about keeping a boat always available and getting together before the water turns solid. You might like the Assabet above Hudson if you haven't already done it.

Bernie Paquette said...

Beautiful country. THX for the bring-a-long.