Monday, November 17, 2008

Assabet River - Egg Rock to Rt.2 and Return

Managed to get in a nice afternoon paddle/trash patrol of the Assabet River today. The bright sunny skies of the morning rapidly changed into a moody mix of dark and light clouds. On the way to Egg Rock I encountered another kayaker paddling a blue Dagger kayak. By the time I reached Egg Rock I had recovered 5 pieces of trash from the lower Sudbury River.
Once on the Assabet and paddling through the Leaning Hemlocks area I noticed something strange falling onto my boat and the surrounding water. At first I thought it might be some pollen from the hemlocks but then realized it was small, wet flakes of snow. The first I've seen this fall. The sand is really draining fast out of the big hourglass!
Water levels are nice and high from the recent rains and most of the usual obstacles are submerged. A little upriver from where the Reformatory Branch railroad bridge used to be, I came upon four deer standing near the riverbank. They watched me pass with great interest and didn't seem to know what to make of me. After passing them, I stopped and slowly drifted back to where they were. Two of the deer had left but the two smallest ones remained and actually started walking towards me. Stopping at the water's edge, they stood there staring at me. When I reached into my deck bag to get my camera, they stayed put, so I moved towards them until we were about 60 feet apart, and snapped 4 photos. Even then they did not move away! Had I been a hunter, it would have been all over for these two!
Moving further upriver I came upon the group of Muscovite ducks that always hang around the area. These ducks are quite used to people and just go about their business, nonplussed. Also saw a musquash in this stretch.
Recovered a "Yuengling" beer bottle that I, at first, thought was a Chinese beer until reading the bottle's claim that it is brewed in America's oldest brewery, located in Pottsville, PA. Weird that I have never seen or heard of it before. Live and learn, I guess.
Just before reaching the Rt. 2 bridge, I recovered a laundry detergent container and after passing under the bridge, I came upon another. Guess Monday is still 'wash day'!
High up on the river's bank, on Assabet Avenue, three guys with leaf blowers were directing someone's yard full of leaves into the river. When they do this, they also send any adjacent trash into the river as well. I think the river would be grateful if not used to transport someone's yard waste.
At this location, with 21 empty containers onboard, I turned around and began my trip downriver. Just below Spencer Brook, I picked up an escort from a belted kingfisher. He flew ahead about 300 feet, perched on a branch and waited till the bow of my boat was almost even with him, when he would drop down from the branch and fly just above the water's surface, chattering away until he was another 300 feet or so ahead of me. He did this over and over again all the way to Egg Rock. At this spot, we went our separate ways. I hadn't seen a kingfisher in several weeks and thought perhaps they had all headed south.
I arrived at my takeout location at dusk with 21 empties bringing my YTD total to 2336.

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