Sunday, June 16, 2024

Summertime Coats

 


Week started off on the Nashua River having launched from the Oxbow N.W.R. in Harvard, MA.


The Route 2 bridge was receiving some TLC...


Came eye-to-eye with this doe wearing her summertime coat...


On Wednesday got out on the Sudbury River from River Rd, in Wayland, MA and headed upriver,,,


Mute swans were aplenty...


Wrapped up the week with a Friday morning paddle, also on the Sudbury River, this time from Route 117 in Lincoln, MA...


Encountered some female turkeys...

...following a strutting male...

The week ended same as it started,,,with another eye-to-eye deer encounter ...



Trash for the week included this collection of plastic from the Nashua River...

....thought it was done... but wait, there's more (total of 104 "nip" bottles) ...


Wednesday's trash from the Sudbury River included 27 "nip" bottles bringing my year-to-date total to more than a thousand...


Friday's trash from the Sudbury was sparse...

...but included this odd glass jar containing 3 eggs?  with a congealed tar-like substance on the lid... ...



Saturday, June 8, 2024

Tidal Ebbs and Flows Through Time

 

My paddling week kept bringing me closer and closer to ocean waters. The above photo shows me ultimately getting within about 2.5 miles of Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Connecticut River.

Kicked off the week with a Sunday morning paddle some 25 miles above the tide's reach on the Merrimack River in North Chelmsford, MA.  Launched at Southwell Park and traversed the river between Wickasee Island and Pawtucket Dam,  The view upriver approaching the Rourke Bridge...


A sign of the summer season getting underway was this riverside Ferris wheel near the UMass Lowell Boathouse...

.

On Tuesday I drove down Route 395 which winds south through Connecticut's "Last Green Valley" and brought me to Stoddard Cove in Ledyard, CT...

The park provides access to the tidal stretch of the Thames River.  Exiting the cove into the river requires passing through a culvert under the Providence and Worcester Railroad tracks.  Mid-tide provides just the right amount of headroom (high tide not so much).  Once on the water I headed upriver towards my destination, Trading Cove...

Along the way I passed little Walden Island...
...with its channel marker.  Just beyond the island was something every boater hates to see...a keeled-over boat...
...which really wasn't that far outside the navigable channel.  I'm guessing it happened at low tide.

The river's west side from here up to Trading Cove belongs to the Mohegan Tribe...

 Fort Shantok and an Indian burial ground are located alongside this stretch of river...
The fort, a Mohegan stronghold, is said to have been besieged on several occasions by the neighboring Narragansett Tribe.  Each time, the Mohegan Sachem Uncas was able to withstand the siege.

Upon entering Trading Cove, after passing under the New England Central Railroad tracks, the tribe's casino Mohegan Sun rises majestically...
The Mohegan Tribe built the casino in the late 1990's after attaining Federal recognition.

On the north side of Trading Cove are the remains of perhaps an old homestead...
Could this spot have been the location of a trading post long ago?  

On my return downriver I hugged the east side and ventured under Route 12 in Poquetanuck Cove...

...which heads in a northeast direction into the homeland of the Pequot people.  The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation operate Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, CT about 5 miles east of the cove.  Near the casino they also operate one of the best Native American museums I've ever experienced, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.

Before leaving the Mohegan region I stopped at their tribal museum in Uncasville, CT...
...which, unfortunately, wasn't open.

The next morning, after lodging in Niantic, CT, I followed scenic Routes 161 and 156 to the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme, CT.    

The launch site is on the east side and about a mile from the Connecticut River's great tidal estuary.  Paddling about 3/4 of a mile down the Lieutenant River soon brought me into the Connecticut where low clouds and a southwest wind greeted me.  The view out to Lynde Point Lighthouse...

I headed northward with the incoming tide passing under the very first bridge spanning New England's longest river, the 410-mile long Connecticut River...

I then encountered a docked yacht that couldn't have been more polar opposite to my modest vessel...

If opulence is your thing, this yacht is for you.  

The tide gave me a nice ride along the river's east side up to and past Lord Cove...

Took my lunch break while the tide turned and began to think the sun was taking the day off.  On my return trip I followed this great egret back to Lord Cove...

 
 However, just as I reached Calves Island the sun began to break through...

...and a sandy spot beckoned...

Shared the beach with this little guy about the size of my thumb...
I believe it's a northern diamondback terrapin turtle.  They are adapted for life in brackish waters.

Also enjoying Calves Island were these osprey getting settled into their platform nest...

Then the sun came out full-bore as I approached the busy AMTRAK railroad bridge...
...and the wind went from southwest to south bringing with it refreshing air temperatures in the mid-seventies.  Eventually I found myself back at the Lieutenant River launch...
 
Driving back through Niantic I stopped at McCook Park where the Nehantic Tribe once maintained a summertime village...

...where a hill slopes down to the beach...
...the view from the beach to the southwest...

This little piece of paradise was within the reserved lands of the Nehantic Tribe who were pronounced extinct by the State of Connecticut in the late 1800's.  The tribe however claims they are anything but extinct and are presently trying to reclaim the place where their ancestors are buried.  Came across this great article written by Abby Weiss in the CT Insider explaining the situation.



Trash encountered during the week:
From the Merrimack...

 From the Thames...

From the Lieutenant/Connecticut...





Sunday, June 2, 2024

Open Portal

 


This past week found me back on my home waters after visiting a little piece of the St. Croix River in Maine and a bit of Passamaquoddy Bay in New Brunswick.  Though my local rivers such as the Assabet and Concord (photo above) rivers are considerably smaller by comparison, they rarely disappoint.

Each time I ascend the Assabet River and reach its confluence with Fort Meadow Brook I check the box culvert to see if passing through into the brook is possible.  For the past year the answer has been "not today".  On this past Monday, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find just enough headroom and a manageable amount of current inviting me in...

It's been well over a year since I last passed through it.  In fact my last visit to the brook was via a portage.  The brook is navigable for about a quarter mile...

 ...up to the new bridge which recently replaced the old Mass Central Railroad wooden trestle...
The new bridge will carry electrical transmission lines and at some point in the future pedestrians and bicyclists.   The only remaining traces of the old railroad trestle I could see were these cut-off wooden piers...


The week's other surprise came when I saw this year's pair of Assabet River eaglets in their riverside nest...


One of them is already spreading its wings...


A nest of a different type was seen suspended beneath the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail bridge in West Concord...

Looks like a hammock or maybe the bridge is just smiling.

Trash from the lower Assabet River on Saturday...

Trash from further upriver on the Assabet last Monday...

Trash from the Concord River on Wednesday...