Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Yesterday's Visit to the Willimantic River
After reaching Stafford Springs, I headed south to the appointed rendezvous near Rt. 74.
This Willimantic trip was put together by Erik (Open Water, Moving Water) and included some folks from Rhode Island Canoe/Kayak Association. Erik and Tommy were paddling canoes while the rest of us were kayakers.
A great resource on the Willimantic River is the Willimantic River Alliance Web site.
From visiting their site I learned that "Wilimentuck" was a Native American word believed to have meant "land of swift moving waters" and that describes, exactly, the beautiful river we spent several hours upon yesterday.
One near constant companion on our journey was the New England Central Railroad (formerly the Central Vermont RR). Its tracks were almost always on the riverbank or passing overhead as they did here...
NECR Web site shows its mainline running from tidewater at New London, CT through the heart of New England all the way to the tippety-top of Lake Champlain at East Alburg, VT. Trains traversing this route pass through many great river towns such as Willimantic, Palmer, Millers Falls, Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, White River Junction, and Winooski just to name a few.
Aside from a northbound freight which passed through while were starting our vehicle shuttle, the tracks remained quiet during our visit.
Speaking of vehicle shuttles, this was the second time in three days that I've experienced the concept of a one-way paddle. It's a nice alternative to my usual 'up and down' river outings.
Having started our downriver trip at Plains Rd., we enjoyed very pleasant conditions for our 8-mile passage...
The Willimantic runs swift, shallow, and clean. Trash was a rarity, but nonetheless, we did manage to roundup this bunch of miscreants before arriving at the Merrow Rd. takeout...
Thanks to Erik for making this trip happen and introducing some of us to a new river in early 2012!