Sunday, February 22, 2009

Assabet River - Egg Rock to Concord Jct. & Back

Yesterday afternoon's trash patrol of the Assabet River produced the eclectic trash bounty pictured above.
Upon launching, just upsteam of Egg Rock, my intention was to trash patrol the Sudbury River. By the time I'd reached the South Bridge, paddling into a stiff cool breeze, I concluded that the Assabet River would provide a more sheltered choice, so I turned around and headed back to Egg Rock. On the way, I came upon an empty plastic bag of Blizzard Wizard ice melt that bore the image of 'Old Man Winter'. I'm happy to report that the 'Old Man' has been removed from the river and now resides in a dumpster where I hope he'll remain until next December.
Soon I was back at Egg Rock and passing the rapidly shrinking tongue of ice that marks the junction of the three rivers (SUASCO). I swung my bow to the left and began ascending the Assabet River and shortly after passing the leaning hemlocks came upon a floating coyote head, albeit from a faux coyote. Suspecting it was from a certain faux coyote that has lost his head before (see November 1 post), I placed the head on my kayak's deck for the trip to where the torso resides. Before reaching that location, however, I came upon a floating golf club. It was actually a Taylor Made 320 T driver with the address of a Park Lane resident. Had the golf club been used in an assualt on the coyote? Hmmm... At any rate, I proceeded paddling until I was looking up at a headless faux coyote standing on the river's bank. I placed his head on my paddle blade and served it up to a spot near his body.
Resuming my trip upriver I began ecountering the same wildlife as last week. There were mallards, Canada geese, robins, bluebirds, a small woodpecker, a cardinal, a red-tailed hawk, and Muscovite ducks. At one spot the robins were patrolling the ground while bluebirds were jumping around in the branches above them and the small woodpecker was in the branches above the bluebirds. This busy spot was a little ways upriver from where the Reformatory Branch railroad used to run between the river and the cornfields off of Barrets Mill Road. The hawk was perched in a tree just upriver from Route 2.
Near the mouth of Nashoba Brook, I found a back eddy, out of the breeze and in the sun, where I enjoyed a mug-up of hot cocoa and a fuel bar. Trash was fairly plentiful between Nashoba Brook and the Route 62 bridge in Concord Junction. Much of it made of styrofoam and attesting that perhaps America really does Run on Dunkin. How about Dunkin ditching the styrofoam and only filling re-useable containers that either they or the customer provide? A little less convenient? Sure, but I think we Americans can handle it.
Paddling back downriver I'm always surprised by how many pieces of trash I didn't see while going upriver. In order to recover pieces of trash while heading downriver, I usually turn my boat around and face into the current. This makes it easier to maintain the boat's position while performing the retrieval. Often my paddle becomes an extension of my arm and is used to draw the item alongside my boat till it is within easy reach. I believe kayaks are best suited for retrieving floatable pieces of trash from waterbodies because the kayaker is sitting very close to the water's surface in a boat so narrow that when his arms are placed alongside the boat they are actually in the water. While I recognize that a canoe can hold far more trash, the canoeist, sitting on a raised seat and in a wider vessel, is not positioned in such proximity to the water's surface.
Upon reaching my takeout location, my trash count for the day was 31, bringing my YTD total to 78.

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