Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sudbury River - Egg Rock to Weir Hill & Return

This morning was truly the calm that followed the storms of yesterday afternoon. With blue skies overhead and barely a breath of wind, I launched my kayak into the Sudbury River near Egg Rock and headed upstream towards the Nashawtuc Road bridge. Further upriver, as I approached the Route 2 overpass, I encountered this doe grazing only yards from the highway...

I was able to slowly maintain my momentum against the current while being just under the bridge, and to look backwards to take this photo. Kind of strange that while the deer and I were eye to eye, cars and trucks were wizzing by on the overpass above us, seemingly in another dimension of time and space. I was pleased that my encounter with this deer did not result in her being spooked. She continued to graze as I paddled onward.
Upstream of Clamshell Bank wood ducks were seen and heard. Eastern kingbirds were doing their hummingbird impersonations as they plucked flying insects from the air just above the water. Near Martha's Point groups of cedar waxwings were landing on the floating leaves of water chestnut plants and using them for platforms while catching insects. These small birds have a yellow band across the base of the their tails.
Moving past the waxwings brought me to the tree swallows and their displays of acrobatic skill. Occasionally, the loud squawking of a great blue heron would be heard as it flew in to see what all the little guys were up to. A few small sandpipers were also seen using the floating mats of water chestnut leaves as a feeding platform. A belted kingfisher and a couple of red-winged blackbirds were also observed.
At Pantry Brook I expected to see quite a bit of water flowing over the dam as a result of yesterday's two heavy rain events. What I found more resembled a speedbump than a waterfall...

The gauge showed about 5.2 in the brook and 4.8 in the river. The speedbump was the creation of some local beavers as they've built a dam of sticks and mud on top of the man-made one of steel sheet-piling.
Reaching my turnaround point at Weir Hill I went ashore and stretched my legs on the trail before beginning my downriver trip. At this point I had only 1 piece of trash on board. As I paddled, now with the flow, a nice breeze was stirring and made for some pleasant paddling. This view just downstream of Martha's Point was also appreciated...

To reach my takeout location required passing through a flotilla of folks paddling rented canoes and kayaks. One group of 4 boats decided to hold a conference upstream of a bridge and smack dab in the middle of the channel, their boats sideways to the flow. They appeared oblivious to the logjam they were creating and I actually felt bad for the powerboaters who were trying to get past the bridge and upriver. Perhaps these paddlers were on the river for the first time and unaware that it is a navigable waterway.
A group of bloodthirsty mosquitoes were waiting for me and my modest trash haul at our takeout location. Their presence required a nimble and quick landing followed by an equally nimble and quick dash to an open area in the sun. There the dozen newly adopted pieces of refuse posed for a photo...

Of the 12, 5 were recyclable (2 redeemable) and 7 were misc. rubbish (mostly plastic bags). My YTD total stands at 3038.
Today's paddle helped to prepare this paddler for the upcoming Bird Island Challenge to be held in Buzzards Bay on August 9th. The event is a fundraiser for the Gleason Family YMCA in Wareham and helps provide access to YMCA programs for families unable to afford them.


Anonymous said...

We were out on the river Saturday too - just a bit upstream from you at Sherman Bridge. We also try to pack out the few items of trash we see - but we're no where near as prodigious as you. You're probably the reason the river looks as good as it does. I would like to get the big truck tire and shopping cart between Concord Street and Danforth St but it would require some advance planning. Thanks for helping improve the watershed.

Al said...

You're welcome Anonymous.
Saturday sure was a nice day out on the water!
There are many folks rescuing trash from the rivers these days and the collective effort is gaining ground.
In addition to the truck tire and shopping cart you mention, I would add the sofa (downstream of Stone Bridge) and the computer monitor near Heard Pond outlet. But items of that nature remind me of Chief Brodie telling Quint "We're gonna need a bigger boat".
At least the section between Concord St. and Danforth St. has decent access from the sloping stone riverbank on one side. Maybe those items could be pulled to shore with a hook and line. Then disposal becomes an issue.