Saturday, May 18, 2013

What you are doing is beautiful

Its a warm and cloudy day when I put in just upstream of the tide gates on the West River.  The last time I was here, it had just rained the day before and the river was running faster than I expected.  Today, the current is sluggish and it takes less than half as long for me to paddle up to the big tree that lays across the river just below the first bridge.

I push through the branches, snapping off enough of them to leave a path for me to use later. 

I know that the drainage runs quite a ways from looking at maps, but small rivers like this don't necessarily have enough water to canoe.  Much of this one looks like a dark blurred streak on the satellite photographs with little open water to be seen.  I expected a wetland that might be explorable, but instead I find a creek sized river that passes through tunnels of trees and several more bridges.  A man walking his dog next to the river greets me saying, "What you are doing is beautiful."

One at a time, I spot four black crowned night herons, all flying...perhaps the most beautiful of the herons.  Also, one great blue heron, five osprey, a pair of male wood ducks, and a green backed heron...a dinosaur bird for sure, when on the wing.

green-backed heron

I find a plastic garbage can, so I fill it.  It is impressive how almost all litter is plastic.  I even find a motorcycle helmet.  Fortunately, it is empty.

I turn around when I run out of enough water to float the canoe while wading.  On the return, I can see that the river has dropped with the tide.  Apparently, the tide gates stop salt water from coming upstream such that the river backs up some.  While not has critical as some of the small tidal rivers, coming here at high tide might add an extra mile of upstream travel.

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