Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trash Patrol Assabet-Egg Rock to Near Westvale

This morning, a little after daybreak, I ascended the Assabet River in search of flotsam/trash. Between Egg Rock and Dodge Rock, I recovered 13 empty containers, mostly plastic bottles. Reaching Concord Junction, my count was 24. Just downstream of the commuter rail bridge, I paused for some re-fueling and dug out my hand-saw for use in cutting a swath through the upper limbs of a downed tree blocking the river just upstream of the bridge. The wood was thinnest on the river-left side (heading upstream), so I cut my swath there. While making one of my last cuts, a large brown spider dropped into my lap, and then scurried forward to where my feet reside in the cockpit. I found this development rather disconcerting and realized that imminent action was required. The boat was quickly maneuvered into an area shallow enough for me to exit and a near frantic search began to locate the stowaway. Natuarally, the spider had found a spot just beyond my reach and the situation required the use of a flashlight and paddle handle to resolve. Unfortunately, the spider was dispatched during the extraction.
Once again, moving upriver, a little faster now, thanks to some adrenline, I soon reached what's left of the Pine Street bridge. The two bridge spans are gone leaving only the mid-channel support, which looks to be in the process of being removed as part of a bridge replacement project.
Having paddled past the bridge, I soon heard the call of an osprey and saw the large bird in a tree behind the Thoreau School. It swooped down from its perch and flew upriver while continuously emitting its unique call.
After passing some other recent blowdowns, I finally reached the large blowdown just upstream of a large rock near Westvale. This was my turnaround point and I began heading back downriver. Approaching the Pine Street bridge, from the upstream side, I noticed the construction crew has one of the "Bridge Closed" signs that were posted for automobile drivers attached to the center support and facing upstream. The sign has been crudely modified. Instead of "Bridge Closed - Seek Alt. Routes" it now says "Bridge Closed - Seek Alt. River". If the construction crew intends to close the river to navigation, I recommend that they install a sign on the downstream side of the bridge, as well, to avoid confusion.
On the trip back to my takeout location, I recovered another 10 empty containers bringing my total for the day to 34 and YTD total to 1629. Some of the more interesting items were a plastic quart container half filled with motor oil, an empty algicide 'pool care' container, and a small container of liquid trout bait guaranteed to "drive trout crazy"!

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