Sunday, March 10, 2013

A New Paddle Day

A cardinal sings unseen as I begin my trip.  Yesterday was the first nice day after the recent storm and the birds were no where near as active as they are today.  I have a new paddle out today, one that I just finished last week.  The oiled shaft is still rough on the hands, but it is a good paddle, as good as my favorite and it slices cleanly through the water when I feather it.  I find a large mixed flock of seagulls and ducks at Welches Point.  I move on because I am heading to the big river and timing the tide correctly makes life easier.

Side 1 - map

Side 2 - common loon and call wave plot

The last time that I was here in the big marsh at the mouth of the big river, I spotted a dead dear lying along the shore hidden a little by the phragmites, the brush, and the shade of the overhanging trees.  S was with me on that trip and she was still excited about seeing three live whitetail deer moving through the marsh, belly deep and not so far away from the canoe, so I just kept my mouth shut and we passed by without her noticing.  I pull over to where I think that the deer was and I find the ribcage, leg bones and the skull along with remnants of fur.  There is something disturbing, but there is also something hopeful in it all.  It is nature, it is natural.  It is what it should be.

The water in the marsh is very high today and instead of the maze of spartina islands that I have paddled through in the past, it appears more like an open bay with just the top few inches of grasses showing in places.  Canada geese are plentiful, much more so than previous trips, which were during the fall hunting season.

Good weather arrived yesterday and this trip started at the house in sun with a NE wind mostly at my back and somewhat onshore.  The water was mostly calm until I had passed Charles Island and no longer had shallow bays to dip into and hide behind the points.  I reached the big river just as high tide peaked and I paddled over the broad sand bar saving myself a half mile detour out into open water.  The high water gave me a good chance to explore Beaver Creek for the first time and I followed it until it reached a bridge that was too low to pass under.  The highlight of the exploration was a red breasted merganser that was surprisingly calm in my presence.

I fight the ebb current upriver for the next mile or so.  At times I can find slack water or an eddy along the shore, at times I have no choice but to paddle straight into it.  Near the old power plant, I push off of the creosote pilings with my paddle every so often.  A sharp crack reprimands me for that act and the new paddle now wears a split in the is disturbing, but there is something hopeful in it.

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