Saturday, November 10, 2012


The day comes warm and calm, warm and calm for November.  I plan to take S for her first trip in the Wheeler marsh at the mouth of the big river, but S is notorious for forgetting that things such as tides and wind do, in fact, count.  By the time we head for the river the tide is low enough that we may not be able to return to the put-in, so I divert to the feral cat park.  A juvenile black crowned night heron watches us with great tolerance as we load the canoe.

black crowned night heron

It is a fine day to be on the big river.  A gentle wind is there with a strong downstream current, the additive of the river's own flow and the dropping tide.  We head straight out and round the upstream tip of Pope's Flat, cut across the next channel to the upstream tip of Long Island, and then follow the shoreline into the narrow channel that creates Carting Island.  The even narrower channel that splits Peacock Island from Carting has no current, so somewhere in there the bottom is fully exposed...a trip for a higher tide.  We spot a great blue heron, a kingfisher, a large and beautiful red tailed hawk that circles over us for some time, and a cooper's hawk.  Below these islands the river becomes somewhat more industrial, so we return back up that narrow channel as the water becomes increasingly shallow.  I have to get out and wade in two places.

We continue upriver following the rockier west shore and tucking in close to avoid the bulk of the opposing current.  A bit over a mile and a half and we cut across to the top of Fowler Island, which is actually high enough in a few spots to support trees.  The east channel is barely deep enough for the canoe to of the beauties of the big river being that wide swaths of it are not accessible to power boats.

We ride a downstream current along the shoreline of phragmite and spartina back to the feral cat park.

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