Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dropping into Chaubunagungamaug

This past Saturday morning when returning from Connecticut I decided to drop into Lake Chaubunagungamaug upon re-entering Massachusetts.  Lake Chaubunagungamaug is one of the largest natural great ponds in Massachusetts being around 1400 acres in size, and is a place I've often thought about visiting.  Chaubunagungamaug is a Native American name believed to mean "fishing place at the boundary".  The lake may have been the boundary between the Nipmuck, Narragansett, Pequot, and Mohegan territories.  The Nipmuck Indians of Chaubunagungamaugg remain a strong presence in the area and are recognized by the state of Massachusetts.

Since this was my first visit to the lake, and on the spur of the moment, I needed to first find a public boat launch for gaining access.  Looking around it didn't take long to realize that the locals use an even longer name than the one shown in the opening photo (from an 1892 map)...

Here's the long version as it appears over the entrance road to the town-owned boat launch facilities at Memorial Beach...
The boat launch itself is good sized with ample parking and, appropriately enough, was busy with fishermen launching/landing their power boats.  Being off season the entrance fee ($ 30 +) wasn't being collected.  Therefore services such as restrooms were not available.  I'd later discover there's a state boat launch at the lake's south end which can be used free of charge.

Once on the water I explored the northern end of the lake while gauging the effect of a northeast breeze.  Eventually I rounded the tip of Killdeer Island (peninsula nowadays) and came upon Indian Ranch...
...which in addition to being a venue for live entertainment is also home to the Indian Princess paddle wheel cruise boat which once plied the waters of the Mississippi...
Here again that much longer name appeared on the boat's side...
This article explains the history of the two native American names as well as the lake itself.

I would encounter the Princess several times while out on the lake that morning...



It was a beauty of a day with a definite feel of fall in the air.

Goat Island was one of the lake's more scenic islands...

I went down lake as far as Point Pleasant before heading back to Memorial Beach.

Most of the trash I encountered was in the area north and east of Memorial Beach...
 
 
A very nice body of water worth experiencing by boat (especially during the off season).

4 comments:

PenobscotPaddles said...

Driven by that lake many times, and often been tempted to stop. The paddle wheeler makes it particularly appealling!

Trashpaddler said...

Hello PenobscotPaddles, According to the Indian Ranch website, the Indian Princess is a little unusual in that she was built with the stern paddle wheels being the only means of propulsion. Many other similar boats have the paddle wheels turning only for effect.

ronhaines said...

I've used that launch at the south end (state run I believe). It's the only option when the high fees at the town launch kick in.

Trashpaddler said...

Hi Ron, Good to hear from someone who's actually used the state ramp. I understand it's small, but that works fine for me.