Saturday, December 31, 2011
Our small flotilla of 3 boats had started at the Acton Canoe Launch and headed downriver expecting rain showers that, thankfully, never developed...
At Damondale, Erik and Jeff went through first staying to the right. Tommy than went to the left followed by me trying for the right and ending up near the middle...
Here Erik and Jeff are playing a bit facing upstream...
Reaching Egg Rock, we continued on to the Old North Bridge...
The trash we encountered and recovered along the way (paddle not included)...
This trip down the river left me feeling like a million bucks, so tomorrow I'm heading to Million Dollar Beach in the Empire State to paddle in the new year with some Adirondack Pirate Paddlers.
Monday, December 26, 2011
With that chore wrapped up, it was back to my cave where the year's data was examined.
A total of 7,500 pieces of trash was recovered, and the composition of that trash is as follows:
Recyclable (but not redeemable) containers – 35% (34% in 2010) (32% in 2009)
Recyclable and redeemable containers – 13% (18% in 2010) (23% in 2009)
Miscellaneous Rubbish – 52% (48% in 2010) (45% in 2009)
SuAsCo Waters (where I most often paddle):
Sudbury River – 24 patrols netted 1558 pieces for an average of 65 per patrol
Assabet River – 35 patrols netted 1941 pieces for an average of 55 per patrol
Concord River – 13 patrols netted 570 pieces for an average of 44 per patrol
Other Rivers (visited more than once):
Merrimack River – 2 patrols netted 1,077 pieces for an average of 538 per patrol (Hooksett disks)
Mystic River – 2 patrols netted 336 pieces for an average of 168 per patrol
Ipswich River – 7 patrols netted 188 pieces for an average of 27 per patrol
Shawsheen River – 4 patrols netted 151 pieces for an average of 38 per patrol
Stony Brook – 2 patrols netted 50 pieces for an average of 25 per patrol
Moose River – 3 patrols netted 20 pieces for an average of 6 per patrol
Tidal Waters (Cape Ann) – 11 patrols netted 124 pieces for an average of 11 per patrol
Other Rivers (visited one time only):
Charles River – netted 114 pieces
Connecticut River – netted 35 pieces
Millers River – netted 105 pieces
Ware River – netted 22 pieces
Squannacook River – netted 55 pieces
Chipuxet/Worden’s Pond – netted 39 pieces
Lake Cochituate – netted 18 pieces
Lake Quinsigamond – netted 16 pieces
Terrestrial Patrols – 26 patrols netted 1089 pieces for an average of 42 per patrol
In addition to the usual bottles, cans, and plastic bags recovered, there were 14 tires, 1 television set, 1 propane cylinder, and 801 Hooksett disks recovered from the rivers.
Status of Vessels
(but starting to burn some oil and the bearings are getting a little noisy)
Here are my two favorite photos from the past year. The first is “Sunrise for the Blackburn Challenge” and the second is “Doe with Two Fawns”...
Friday, December 23, 2011
That's a pretty impressive pile of wood shavings!
A little further downriver I encountered my first ever floating boomerang.
Trash was plentiful in this approximately 1-mile stretch of river. Quite a difference from the nearly trashless 1-mile section of the Ipswich River paddled yesterday.
Back at Cox Street all passengers disembarked while Santa watched from above...
YTD = 7499 which I'll round up to 7,500 for the year.
What happened next served to remind me how important it is to be nice when around Santa. I reached into my boat's forward hatch for the drybag containing my car keys and came up empty. Not a good feeling. Upon looking in my car's window, there on the front seat I espied the bag with the keys. A quick call was made to Mrs. Trashpaddler, who then contacted AAA for me. At that point, I'm left expecting a long wait in a rainshower for help to arrive. But before I had even finished securing my rooftop yacht, AAA appeared and a jolly bearded fellow wedged the car door, inserted a hook and unlocked my car in a jiffy. As he left he said Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Very little trash was encountered. Only 14 pieces...
Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Egg Rock inscription was barely visible late this morning when I began ascending the Assabet River. The rain showers that were forecast never really materialized, and conditions felt more like spring than mid-December.
This pair of Muscovy ducks approached my port side...
Finally, the trash encountered today...
There were 56 pieces: 27 recyclable containers (2 redeemable) and 29 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as plastic bags, nip bottles, styrofoam, etc. YTD = 7342
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Fortunately, I recalled reading in Ed the Web Guy's blog about a place in Ayer to take such items. However, since I was outside the regional limitations of the facility he used, a continued search brought me to All American Recycling LLC on Sculley Road in Ayer, MA. They accepted the items I had, for a very reasonable fee, and I was soon on my way home with an empty car. They will even pick-up items for an additional fee.
They're located just a little to the west of downtown Ayer near the intersection of West Main Street and Sculley Road.
For those using waterways as a reference, they're located nearby to Nonacoicus Brook between Plow Shop Pond and the brook's confluence with the Nashua River.
Speaking of Nonacoicus Brook, did you know that in 1657, when the General Court offered Major Simon Willard a 500 hundred-acre tract of land, wherever he could find it, he ultimately found it at this confluence noted for its intervales or meadows? It became known as the Nonacoicus Grant. Apparently a Native American sachem living in Pawtucket (Lowell), John Sagamore, owed him a debt and paid it with this land. Oddly, Mrs. Trashpaddler wasn't nearly as fascinated by this piece of information, as was I.
Monday, December 12, 2011
At Fairhaven Bay, a quick lunch was taken at the Brooke Island Bistro...
Before checking the canal for ice, I paddled up past Lee's Bridge to scout for tuber forests and then headed back to the Lincoln Launch...
The bridge's upriver inscription...
Then entered the short canal leading to the launchsite...
Phew! That was close! The ice covered only a portion of the canal and I had clear sailing to its head.
The consensus among my passengers was that they never doubted me for a second...
There were 50 onboard: 23 recyclable containers (6 redeemable) and 27 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish including a mylar balloon and a good number of styrofoam items. YTD = 7286
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Tomorrow morning, with the earliest sunset of the year now behind us, my 100 days 'til spring countdown will commence. During that time two more winter moons will visit: the "Wolf" in January, and the "Snow" in February.
Today's small haul...
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Here's the delivered set ready to be properly disposed of by CPW...
On the lower Sudbury a new encampment has sprung up...
A short foray was then undertaken on the Assabet River and resulted in some additional trash. The day's catch...
There were 9 recyclable containers (5 redeemable) and 15 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish.
YTD = 7218
While on the Assabet these 2 Muscovy ducks flew towards me fast and low, landing at the last minute just a few yards away...
The lone and possibly injured male wood duck was seen again near Willow Island and it was good to see he is, once again, capable of flying short distances.
On the trip back to Lowell Rd., a light rain started and a fog began to develop over the river...
Monday, December 5, 2011
At the Bedford Landing my passengers and I stretched out on solid ground...
There were 43 recyclable containers (16 redeemable) and 20 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish.
YTD = 7194.
One unusual find was this old bottle found upside down with the neck wedged between some roots...
Someone insists on having a trash bag at the Bedford Landing, despite the fact that animals can easily open it at the bottom...
The mink assured me it wasn't him.
On the trip back upriver, I encountered Lisa H. paddling her QCC 600 near the Old North Bridge...
And just before reaching Lowell Road, another mink...
Finally, back at Egg Rock, the sun was setting behind Nashawtuc Hill...
This spot could truly be called "Mattawa" as it is where the waters meet.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
The guage at Maynard was 3.72' and for this flatwater paddler, joining the river's flow was like merging onto Rt. 128.
Once past the the Valley Sports ice-skating facility things slowed down and the river took on a more serene appearance...
The trip down to Damondale went smoothly and the cooler and more seasonable temperatures were a welcome change to this paddler.
Arriving at the Damonmill Dam, I checked the narrow opening where the river is funneled through...
While it may have looked tempting to shoot right on through, today was not going to mark my first ever passage. Instead, I landed at the intact portion of the dam and enjoyed lunch while watching the river rush on by...
Following lunch, I began my trip back upriver. The last half mile required some hard work in order to overcome the current.
Back in Acton, my trash haul spilled forth...
Today's catch of 56 was composed of 39 recyclable containers (10 redeemable) and 17 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as styrofoam cups, plastic bags, and an errant laundry basket.
YTD = 7131
At this point, I'd like to share a rather strange recent experience. Several days ago, I awoke from a dream in which a person, unknown to me, was emphatically repeating the word "matawa" to me over and over again. Eating my breakfast, I wrote the word down on a piece of paper for later reference with no idea of its meaning. At the first opportunity, I googled the word and was surprised to find hits for a Native American word and location in Ontario, Canada. "Mattawa" is an Ojibway word meaning "meeting of the waters" and specifically applies to the confluence of the Ottawa and Mattawa rivers.
What's strange about this is that I've always felt river confluences are and were places of big mojo.
So, to find out there is, in fact, such a word as "matawa" and that it has that meaning leaves me to wonder who the person was and why they wanted me to know it (hearing theme music from The Twilight Zone).
This location Mattawa was a key point on the network of waterways used in the fur trade. One of my favorite movies, "Black Robe" tells a story of a small band of Algonquins escorting a Jesuit priest over this route by canoes in 1634. Time to fire up the DVD player!