Friday, October 21, 2016

A Swift Return

I'd last paddled the crystal-clear waters of the Swift River back in 2014 and this past Tuesday decided to return.  Doing so allowed my fortunate escape from the low clouds and fog that plagued eastern Massachusetts on that day.

  On the Swift in the central part of the state I enjoyed sunshine, fall foliage, and summer-like warmth. 

I launched my boat from the Swift River Access...
...on Cold Spring Rd. in Belchertown which provides access to an approximately 6 mile stretch of the Swift between Winsor Dam (actually Rt. 9) on the Quabbin and the dam downriver at Bondsville. 

After launching I paddled downriver to where I approached the dam at Bondsville...

Looking at the falls there from just below the dam...

I spent a little time in the area of the dam but didn't realize until later that not one, but two railroads, once occupied the immediate area.
This photo (from the book The Central Mass.) shows a westbound Central Massachusetts RR passenger train crossing high above the river just downstream of the same dam back in the 1920s...

The rails running alongside the Swift in the above photo were the Boston and Albany's Athol Branch which traversed the Swift River Valley until the creation of Quabbin Reservoir flooded the valley further upriver in the late 1930s.  The high Central Mass RR trestle survived until 1983.

Here's the view looking south towards where the 3 young men were standing in the 1920s photo...

From the dam at Bondsville I paddled approximately 4 miles upriver to where the Swift gets both shallower and narrower as it nears the outlet of Quabbin Reservoir which is located another 2 miles upriver.  A little ways above Cady Lane I encountered a fly-fisherman in waders...
...and turned about.

The waters of the Swift River are the clearest I've ever paddled.  As long as Quabbin Reservoir continues to provide high-quality drinking water to the faucets of Greater Boston, this section of the Swift should remain pristine.

There was very little trash...
To the left is trash found in the river while to the right are bottles found next to a fire ring on a small island.

2 comments:

George said...

I totally forgot about the railroad bridge. I don't think I ever saw a photo of it. I used to see the bridge footings everyday on my commute to the Quabbin. Thanks for posting.

Trashpaddler said...

Hello George, In the book "The Central Mass." published by The Boston and Maine Railroad Historical Society, Inc. the photo is full-page and is credited to the George I. Girouard Collection.