Saturday, February 9, 2008

Patrolled Assabet - Egg Rock to Damonmill

Taking advantage of today's brief window of fairly nice weather, I broke through some near shore ice, launched my boat, and headed past Egg Rock into the current of a near flood stage Assabet River. Approaching the narrow bend at the snow draped Leaning Hemlocks, I got my first sense of just how strong the current was and knew it would give me a good workout. Dove Rock was nowhere to be seen. At Willow Island, there was a hawk calling out repeatedly in response to the clucking sound of some sort of ground bird, perhaps a woodcock. The sun was trying its best to break through the hazy cloud layer. At times, I was concerned I might be overdressed.
Because the river's water level was so high, I was able to get into places that are usually not accessible. My deck was quickly being decorated with the usual plastic bottles, beer cans, styrofoam cups, and plastic bags.
About a quarter mile below Route 2, I came upon a mostly submerged aluminum canoe on the east side of the river.
Found a good amount of trash as I went through West Concord.
Passing under the Pine Street bridge was no problem. The stretch above Pine Street requires paddling around several obstacles and this provided an enjoyable challenge.
Arriving at my usual turnaround point, the large blowdown below Westvale Meadow, I was surprised to find the usually dry channel on river left having enough water to bypass the blowdown. This is truly a rare event, so I contunued upstream and encountered another blowdown or beaver downed tree after rounding the bend towards Damonmill. Here again, there was ample water over the usual riverbank and it allowed passage through the trees. The current was getting very strong as I got closer to the dam. I made it just a few yards beyond the Route 62 bridge and let the current very swiftly turn my bow downstream.
The ride downriver was effortless with so much flow. Shooting under Pine Street, I noted the staff gauge read 5.90. I believe it only goes as high as 6.0.
In West Concord, some trash drew me out of the current behind Concord Park, so it made a nice spot to take a cocoa and power bar break. The sun was now pretty well shrouded and I felt the first wet flakes of snow. The snow would become steadier as I made my way back to my take out point. I saw quite a few robins, so I am thinking that an eary spring is in the offing. My trash haul for the day was 32 empty containers bringing my YTD total to 257.

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