Monday, May 19, 2008

May 14th Short Trash Patrol on Sudbury River

On a sunny Wednesday morning, I found myself with an hour or so to paddle before reporting to work at noon. I decided to launch into the Sudbury River at a spot that is about half way to my work. That spot was River Road in Sudbury near where it intersects with Route 27. There was no need to look for trash, as someone had decided to clean out their car's trunk and left the contents in a pile at the launch site.
After dealing with this little mess, my boat was soon gliding under the Rt. 27 bridge and heading downstream. Immediately after passing under the bridge, I headed to the right, along an old river channel, which brought me to the old stone arch bridge. The bridge spans the old river channel and is unused today, except by fishermen who use it to gain access to the old causeway. On the northeast side of this bridge there stands a monument to a group of men from Concord that were buried near this spot on April 22, 1676. These men died while trying to get across the river to a Garrison House located on the river's west side. The location of the Haynes Garrison House is several hundred yards from this old bridge and is near where Route 27 and Water Row intersect. Paddling under this stone arch soon brought me to where the old river channel rejoins the present day channel and with my binoculars I could see the row of cedar trees that stand in front of the Garrison House cellar hole.
The day before, April 21, 1676, was the complete opposite to the peaceful and serene riverine setting that I was enjoying. That morning had dawned with an alarm that hostile Indians had entered the area in large numbers. The area residents left their homes and went to the Haynes Garrison House where they were soon surrounded by Indians. From 6am to about 1pm they were besieged and at one point, the Indians loaded a wagon with hay and rolled it up to the house in an attempt to burn them out. During this battle, a group of volunteers from the adjacent town of Concord arrived and attempted to help. Accounts vary as to their number. There were either 8, 10, or 12 Concord men. They soon found themselves ambushed and all but one man was slain before they could reach the safety of the Garrison House. Around noon, a group of 40 men from Watertown (what is now the town of Weston) arrived and they were successful in driving approximately 200 Indians to the west, where another larger battle was occurring.
One of my ancestors was in that group from present day Weston and the following is his and a fellow soldier's account of the events:
"To inform the Honored Counsel of the Service don at Sudbury by severall of the inhabatance of Watertown as our honored Captain Mason hath already informed a part there of in the petion: but we wear thear can moer largely inform this honored Councel: that it is said in the petion that we drove two hundred Indians over the river: we followed the enimie over the river and joyned with som others and went to see if wee could relieve Captain Wadsworth upon the hill and thear we had a fight with the Indians but they beinge soe many of them and we stayed soe long that we were almost incompassed by them which caused us to retreat to Captain Goodanous Garrison and their we stayed it being ner night till it was dark and then we went to Mr. Moices Mill to see if we could find any that were escaped to that place all though they wear now persons dwelling there; and thear we found 13; or 14; of Captain Wadsworths men who wear escaped some of them wounded and brought them to Sudbury towne.
On the next day in the morning soe soon as it was light we went to looke for the Concord men who wear slain in the river middow an thear we went in the colld water up to the knees where we found five and we brought them in Conus to the Bridge fut and buried them thear;and then we joyned ourselves to Captain Hunton with as many others as we could procuer and went over the River to look for Captain Wadsworth and Captain Brattlebank and the soldiers that wear slain; and we gathered them up and Buried them; and then it was agreed that we should goe to Nobscot to bring the Carts from thence into Sudbury-Towne and so returned Hom againe; to what is above written we whos names are subscribed can testifi: dated the 6: of March: 78/79 Daniel Warren Josep Peirce."
They wrote this account in a later attempt to be paid for their services. Obviously, they did not have spellcheck back then. The Captain Goodanous Garrison was another Garrison House located a few miles south of this area.
The men from Concord that died that day were James Hosmer, Samuel Potter, John Barnes, Joseph Buttrick, Josiah Wheeler, and David Comy. The monument stone is on the property of the Wayland Country Club. If you are ever paddling in this area and the water is high enough to allow access to the old bridge, try to imagine the plight of those men from Concord and their desperate attempt to get across the river and marsh 332 years ago.
Though the Indians did not succeed in taking the Haynes Garrison House that day, they did prevail in the larger battle to the west. Of course, while they won that battle, they ultimately lost what is known as King Philip's War. It is believed that the Pokanoket leader Metacom, aka King Philip and the great Nipmuc warrior Muttawmp were both in Sudbury during these events.
The town of Sudbury's website has an excellent account of what is called the "Sudbury Fight".

My trash haul for the day was 20 empty containers. YTD = 1123

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Morning Patrol of Lower Assabet

Launched early this morning at 7:15 and paddled to Egg Rock, thence onto the lower Assabet River. Conditions were perfect! The top of Dodge Rock is now about 8 to 10" above the river's surface. Trash was here and there resulting in about a dozen pieces by the time I reached Spencer Brook.

In the mile of river below Route 2, I began seeing more trash stuck behind snags. After passing under Route 2, I encountered quite a heap of trash behind a snag just downstream of the Prison's wastewater outfall.

Landed behind Concord Park to stow trash below deck. 44 pieces at this point.

Upstream of Route 62, encountered some additional trash near the car wash.

Paddled under the Pine Street bridge and noted the gauge read 2.65. With construction set to begin soon on a new bridge, I'm not sure how many more times I'll be able to pass under the present structure. From what I have read, the new bridge will have 4 portals and if so, this will make paddling upstream a little easier. Turned around here and headed back downriver.

On the trip back, I saw a small doe eating new leaves on shrubs, river right about a 1/4 mile downstream of Dodge Rock. Also saw families of Canada geese with new yellow goslings.

Back at Egg Rock, I began seeing many families enjoying a canoe outing with their Moms on a beautiful Mothers Day.

Trash count for day was 48 pieces, 29 of which were recycleable. YTD total 1103.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lower Sudbury River to Beaver Village near Weir Hill

Taking advantage of Tuesday's ideal weather, I was in my boat and heading up the Sudbury River by 1:15 in the afternoon. The river was high, the sky was blue and a warm breeze was in my face. Yes, winter is a fast fading memory.

Just before passing under the Sudbury Road bridge, I stopped on river right to recover 6 empty beer cans and bottles. This spot is a constant source of trash. I noted a floating 5-gallon plastic pail which would wait until my return trip downriver for recovery. Two red-tailed hawks circled overhead.

At Martha's Point, a smaller hawk circled. It may have been a broadwinged hawk.

Arriving at Fairhaven Bay, an osprey was taking its turn at circling.

Approaching Lee's Bridge at 117, I grabbed a few more items of trash and then proceeded upriver to Weir Hill and the new beaver village just beyond that point. After passing the Weir Hill Landing, the river turns sharply to the left and just as it makes the next bend to the right, one can see two newly built beaver lodges in fairly close proximity to each other. These families must be related and decided to create a little neighborhood of their own. Counting these two lodges, I passed a total of 5 lodges in the 5.3 miles of river that I covered today.

Headed back downriver to slowly fading sun as clouds began to move in. Saw my first eastern kingbird of the season. My total for day was 14 pieces of trash, 9 of which were recycleable. YTD total = 1055

A Different Kind of Flotsam

This past Saturday, May 3rd, my daughter Heather and I sat in our kayaks facing upstream in the Concord River. The object of our attention was a small boat in the middle of the river, between us and Egg Rock. As we watched, three fellows began dumping nearly 1600 pieces of flotsam into the water!

This wasn't trash, however, but bright yellow ducks, that were beginning their race to the waiting boom finish line just upstream of the Lowell Road bridge.

We, along with many other volunteers were helping to insure that all ducks made it to the finish line and also roundup any that made a 'break for it'.

The event was the Milldam Nursery School's third annual ducky race. Besides being a fun event for all the children and adults, this year's race also raised money for the school and a donation to the Minute Man ARC.

My grandaughter Ava, a current student, and grandson John, an alumnus, cheered on their ducks from the bridge overlooking the finish line.

After the event, on the way to the take-out, we fished out a spray bottle of sunscreen and a white empty fire extinguisher from the Sudbury River. 2 pieces bringing YTD total to 1043

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thursday Patrol of Lower Assabet

Trash patrolled the Assabet River from the Lowell Road bridge to the Route 2 bridge and back on Thursday afternoon. Water levels were back up following the recent rains. Dodge Rock is once again submerged, just barely. Skies were mostly cloudy at the start but became much sunnier as the afternoon progressed.

One wildlife highlight was seeing a great blue heron fly around Willow Island and fly upriver towards me at just about the level of my head. Fortunately, the heron gained elevation before passing above me.

Painted turtles were abundant. Not many wood ducks though.

Ended up with 37 pieces of trash, 20 of which were recycleable. TYD total 1041

More Trashy Photos from March and April