Monday, May 12, 2014

Paddling the Dedham Water Trail

It was only recently that I learned of the Dedham Water Trail which allows the paddling of a very pleasant 6 mile loop of the Charles River.  What made this loop possible was the 1653 digging by Puritan famers of a half-mile long ditch to divert a portion of the river's flow into a short-cut of sorts.  I can't help but wonder if those Puritan farmers could ever, in their wildest imaginations, have pictured their ditch providing recreational paddlers a way to "close the loop" some 361 years later. 

Since my first job today had an afternoon start, I launched at 7 am from the Needham Street Launch with a copy of the trail map on my deck.  My original plan was to paddle the loop in a counter-clockwise direction and return to my starting point via the ditch at trip's end. However, when I reached the entrance to the ditch under Needham Street...
   ...I decided to go with the ditch's flow instead and do my route in a clockwise direction.

The ditch soon became a calm and serene place...

Exiting from the other end brought me into Cow Island Pond and I began paddling upriver on the Charles from there, soon passing Riverdale Park (starting point for the 19-mile Run of the Charles event).

Trail markers such as these are posted at locations corresponding to the trail map...
This one marked the location of Havey Beach, across from Riverdale Park.

After passing under slow-moving commuters on Bridge Street, the Olde Irish Alehouse greeted me on the other side...

At trail marker 8 the entrance to Mother Brook is reached...
 
This was another case where Puritan farmers in 1637 diverted a portion of the river.  However, this time they sent some of the Charles to a tributary of the Neponset River.

At historic Dedham Landing the Ames Street Bridge has an old structure seemingly inside a newer one...
Its portal's cemented joints...

compared to the next bridge's (Bridge Street) dry-fitted look...

 Trees along the river are beginning to blossom...
...and the morning was a stellar one helping to erase memories of a too long winter.

Continuing my upriver paddle through a winding and narrow stretch ultimately brought me back to my starting point at the Needham Street Launch.

My trash haul for the morning was a study in plastics and Styrofoam...
The majority of it was found in the Long Ditch.  There were 30 recyclable containers (3 redeemable) and 23 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish.  YTD =  2163

3 comments:

Ron Haines said...

Enjoyed reading of your day on the Dedham Trail. Will do that one myself one of these days.
Ron

Stephanie Radner said...

Thank you for picking up trash in Dedham! I am a member of the Open Space Committee and spend a lot of time outdoors. I was searching my hard drive for a "good" photo of plastic trash to post on facebook to encourage people to vote YES on 2, but I couldn't find one (I guess I tend to delete them). So, I googled "plastic trash dedham" and found your blog. I've been sharing your blog and the photo of 30 pieces of plastic trash on facebook this morning. Thank you! - Stephanie Radner (http://dedhamnaturalwonders.org/ and Dedham Natural Wonders on facebook).

Suasco Al said...

You're welcome Stephanie. Glad to have provided a photo that might help in the Yes on Question 2 initiative. I've got my fingers crossed.
Also glad to know of your Dedham Natural Wonders website.