Monday, March 11, 2024

Last Standard Time Paddle


Got out only once this past week...a mid-day paddle on the Nashua River from Petapawag in Groton, MA. 

Heading downriver I passed by an eagle nest at an ideal location.  Status of nest unknown.

Went down to where the river opens up in the approach to the dam at East Pepperell...

Trash, most of which was found snagged at the Route 111/119 bridge included another 45 "nip" bottles.

As I write this we've entered Daylight Saving Time...meaning we made it through another winter...perhaps one of the easiest winters I can recall!  While sitting by my rarely needed stove these past months I read of Samuel Champlain, his mentor Sieur de Monts, and company deciding in 1604 to spend their first North American winter upon a small island in a tidal river near the Bay of Fundy.  Their decision ultimately proved disastrous when a long, snowy, and brutally cold winter befell them.  There were 79 men at the beginning of winter and only 44 survived to see the spring.  Most of the deaths were due to scurvy which wasn't fully understood at that time.  In reading The Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, Three Volumes translated by Charles P. Otis, edited by Rev. Edmund F. Slafter, I found Champlain's account regarding the fateful choice of their first settlement location: "Vessels could pass up the river only at the mercy of the cannon on this island, and we deemed the location the most advantageous, not only on account of its situation and good soil, but also on account of the intercourse which we proposed with the savages of these coasts and of the interior, as we should be in the midst of them."  However, due to ice flows in the river the island became more of a prison than a safe place to winter-over.  The following June Champlain wrote "On the 17th of the month, Sieur de Monts decided to go in quest of a place better adapted for an abode, and with a better temperature than our own."  Thus the island settlement was a one and done and I'm left to wonder who was  the "we" who deemed the location "most advantageous"?    Sieur de Monts?, Champlain?, or both?  My curiosity is stoked to see this island. 

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