Friday, May 24, 2013

Indian River

You follow these things, the open channels in the marsh, to the end.  You do it because you can and because there just might be something around the next meander or at the point where you can no longer continue.

I put in below the house as the tide nears full and so, I could follow the shore closely without worrying about chipping my paddle on a submerged boulder.

the very small least tern

The tide was still flooding, although just barely, when I got to the rusty bridge.  I ducked low and slid into Gulf Pond on the current.  The pond at high tide is less interesting although more easily paddled.  The more interesting bird life that comes here comes when the tide recedes leaving the critters that those birds feed on exposed on the mud flats.

I make it to the railroad bridge, the "gate" to the secret garden (the Indian River) beyond.  Passing the railroad bridge is an act of timing, or wading if you can't get the timing correct.  Two snowy egrets wait on the far side.  A couple mallards scatter, and as I sit, something pipes at me.  It is a willet.  There are three.  They show brilliant black and white patterns on the wing when they fly off.


Instead of forging upriver like I usually do, I turn south into the first long meandering channel.  I don't go far, only one or two bends, before I start finding wren nests.  They are low, just 2 feet above the water and built in the woody hedges that grow on the shore.  They aren't marsh wren nests, which I am familiar with, but they are wren nests.  I here them in the brush, but never get a clear enough view to figure out what they are. 

The point of no continuance is where the channel works its way into the forest.  The channel continues, but it is too narrow for the canoe.  As I turn, I notice that there is a current flowing out.  High tide has peaked on the Indian River.  At the bend ahead, a doe whitetail deer walks into view, pauses to look at me, and disappears into the marsh.

The wind comes up sudden and cool.  This is a good place to ride out one of the possible thunderstorms that were predicted for the day.  I tuck my gear away and continue while watching the clouds more closely than I had been. 

Back at the main channel, a bird flying in the bobbing style of the green backed heron comes my way.  It nears and is clearly too large.  It passes, a yellow crowned night heron, and it lands not far away.

yellow crowned night heron

I paddle back down Gulf Pond but, as I near the sea, the wind gusts are just beginning to make it difficult to control the canoe.  The ocean doesn't look too bad, no whitecaps...but that wind had come up fast and sudden and there is no reason that it couldn't continue the trend.  Paddling alone as often as I do, you fill your pockets with chicken shit, and I question whether I could keep the canoe off of the rocks on the stretch out to Merwin Point.  I load up and do the long portage home.

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