Saturday, December 27, 2008

Assabet River - Egg Rock to Westvale & Return

Today at low noon, after breaking some near shore ice, I launched into the Sudbury River and headed downstream to Egg Rock. Considering that spring is still 84 days away the weather wasn't really too bad. A steady light rain with temperatures in the low 40's. The main channels of both the Sudbury and Assabet rivers were open water with occasional floating slabs of ice. Ice extended out a few feet from the shoreline in most places and the small coves and backwaters were iced in.
By the time I arrived at Egg Rock, five pieces of trash were on my kayak's deck including the plastic cover for a 32-gallon rubbermaid trash barrel. Once on the Assabet, I encountered fog at the Leaning Hemlocks but it dissipated a little further upriver. Dodge Rock was completely submerged and as I passed its location I noticed that the snag of brush to the side of it held a pre-packaged trash bounty. A party bag is what I would call it. Someone had a party, then carefully placed approximately 20 plastic Solo cups. some beer cans/bottles, a nip bottle, and some aluminun foil into a trash bag which they securely tied in a knot. Pretty responsible to this point. Unfortunately the last step, which would have been depositing the bag into a dumpster, didn't occur and the bag somehow ended up in the river. So my trash count went from 5 to 37 with only a few minutes work.
Resuming my trip upriver I passed by a flooded Willow Island and noticed a mink slinking along the ice on the river's north side. We were both heading in the same direction and our paths soon crossed as we neared a group of Canada geese. The mink entered the river and began swimming towards the geese. As he passed across my bow he saw me, and oddly enough, began swimming directly towards me. When he got to within 3 feet of my kayak he decided to turn again and resumed his initial route towards the geese. While this was happening the geese had all exited the water and climbed onto the ice. They were aware of the mink and allowed him to get fairly close, about 15 feet. He actually climbed onto the ice using a tree for cover and then popped out from first one side then the other side of the tree. His two manifestations didn't seem to cause the desired reaction from the geese so he jumped back into the water and disappeared from sight.
The rain ended before I reached Route 2 and with things now drying out the river beckoned me onward. At Concord Junction, the large snag between the commuter rail bridge and Rt. 62 was easily passed through and shortly thereafter I was looking at the newly bridged-over gap at Pine Street. There are 5 new concrete spans across the river and I'm happy to report there is no support column in the middle of the river.
After passing by my grandson's elementary school, named for Thoreau, I encountered a snag that looked a little trickier to navigate around. This made a good spot to turn around so I retreated downriver to a backwater just below Thoreau School and allowed my kayak to run aground on a small submerged sand bar. Here with all systems powered down I enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa and a power bar before beginning my return trip.
As usual the trip downriver was an easy one and soon I was passing through the fog again at the Leaning Hemlocks and rounding Egg Rock before heading upriver on the Sudbury. Besides the geese and mink, the only other wildlife seen were numerous mallards. I arrived at my takeout location with 45 empty containers, of which 35 were recyclable. This brought my YTD total to 2665.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Suasco Al, Ran into the pirate cousin from Lake George on Christmas. He told me about your blog. Just read your latest account. Glad to see you're still collecting the trash and admiring the planet.

Hope to see you on the water again one of these days.

safe journeys,