Early this morning, I awoke to the sound of rain beating against my window. Fearing that the overnight storm had bogged down, I decided to check the latest weather radar and saw that the large body of rain was moving rapidly to the east. Now, with a sense of optimism, I quickly completed the steps necessary to get my posterior into my boat and heading upriver by 7:00 am.
The rain had dwindled to a mist and the air temperature was in the mid to upper fifties. Balmy compared to recent mornings!
I soon reached the Sudbury Road/Heath's Bridge landing and saw that the large trash bags mentioned in last Sunday's post were still snagged on the trees. Landed on the small sandy beach and began dealing with the trash. One of the bags had ripped through at the bottom resulting in all the heavy objects like bottles ending up on the ground. After working for 30 minutes or more, I had recovered 106 empty containers. My boat's storage compartments and deckbag were full and my deck was duly decorated . This bounty of trash consisted of plastic bags, plastic and glass bottles, beer/soda cans, bait tubs, wads of fishing line, and coffee cups.
Back on the water, my boat and I began moving towards Martha's Point and Fairhaven Bay. The low lying mist was now rising to the tops of the highest pines and the sky was brightening. Belted kingfishers were flying ahead as my vanguards. At Fairhaven Bay I stopped in the middle to enjoy my favorite energy drink and a power bar. Sitting here alone, how could I not feel as though I were king of all I surveyed?
Before leaving the bay, I came upon two balloons tied together and floating in the southwest corner. The balloons were labelled as celebrating 75 years of United Way in Androscoggin County, Maine. Hard to believe they could have drifted this far south!
My fuel guage now pinned on Full, I continued my journey upriver and soon passed under the smaller of the two archways at Lee's Bridge. A little upstream of the outlet from Farrar's Pond, I heard an osprey announce that he was leaving his perch. I watched as he performed his aerial acrobatics above the broad expanse of river and marsh between there and Macone's farm. Several times he would slow down and begin to rise upwards before folding into his dive position and shooting straight down for the water. Twice he pulled out of his dive just before hitting the water and once he hit the water with a big splash but came up empty. Hopefully, he got lucky later on.
Reaching Weir Hill, I landed there and stretched my legs. The remnants of the stormclouds were rapidly being replaced my a deep blue sky and it was getting quite warm. Stowed my paddling jacket behind my boat's seatback and began a leisurely trip downriver.
Approaching the point where the river opens into Fairhaven Bay, I saw Mike fishing from his electrically powered canoe. I watched as he cast his line towards the shore and soon saw his rod bending sharply. At first I thought he might be snagged on some shore bushes, but seeing quite a bit of movement in his rod, I realized he had hooked a good one. Drifting towards his position, I watched as he deftly landed a sizeable large mouthed bass, and held it up so I could get a photo, before releasing it back into the river. He estimated it to be all of 5 lbs if not more. Now, I know why so many folks fish here. Mike uses 2 batteries and an electric trolling motor to propel his canoe 4 miles upriver to Fairhaven Bay and back. Quite a nice setup. No noise and no fuel to mess with.
Downstream of Heath's Bridge, I encountered another fellow fishing from a canoe.
Approaching Clamshell Bank (near Emerson Hospital), I enjoyed watching as a red-tailed hawk actively patrolled the area.
At my takeout location, I removed 112 empty containers from my boat bringing my YTD total to 2152. Probably one of the more enjoyable paddles of the season!