Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lower Sudbury River to Pantry Brook Patrol

This afternoon's very pleasant weather allowed for an enjoyable paddle to the Pantry Brook empoundment. For a change, trash was scarce on the river today. Temperatures warmed into the 50's and it may actually have been around 60 degrees at the end of my paddle. Man, it felt nice!

Working my way upriver was a pleasant chore. Fairhaven Bay had one lone fisherman. Downstream of Lees Bridge, a red-tailed hawk flew across my path and swooped into a nearby oak where another hawk was perched. Red-winged blackbirds were plentiful. Nearing Pantry Brook, I passed the beaver lodge near Macone's place. As expected, the beaver was soon swimming 'submarine' style around the lodge and then gave a tail slap as a sign of his concern with my presence.

Reaching the mouth of Pantry Brook, I was surprised that access to the empoundment was still possible. The staff guage indicated a water level of 4.75. Once in the empoundment, several painted turtles were observed sunning themselves on anything they could climb out of the water onto. Canada geese were honking up a storm, so I decided to stay near the dam rather than go upstream. This is a nice spot for a snack break. It almost turned into a nice spot for a nap.

Heading back downriver, I had the breeze at my back and that combined with the current made for a very easy and fast trip. At Lees Bridge, I stopped to snap a photo of the newly built bridge. Now, that the temporary span has been removed from the river channel in front of the bridge, one can appreciate what a nice job they did.

A little ways down from Martha's Point, I encountered another kayaker, Brooke, who was paddling her Necky Eliza. We chatted and paddled about a half mile together. She knew the details about the 8 point buck that died in this area of the river last November. It apparently had been shot by a hunter and ran into the river where it died before making it across. I had come across its dead body last fall and thought it died trying to climb out of the river. The buck looked magnificant even in death, though a few days later, he lost much of his dignity when someone cut off his antlers. His body may still be there, but submerged under the higher water levels.

Arriving at my takeout, I had only collected 14 pieces of trash, bringing my YTD total to 869.

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