Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Where the River Necks Down

It rained most of the night, straight down without much wind, so the windows stayed open and the sound of moving water - the origins of rivers - filled my sleep.

I haven't been in this section of the big river since spring - it might've been April or May, and it was only on the last trip that I paddled upstream from the Eagle Scout put-in to near the dam.

The first mile, where the banks are populated with houses and cabins, and cabins that have become houses - a mixture of temporary, derelict and new construction, now sports docks that weren't there for the winter season, and most of the docks now have motorboats, jetskis or cheap plastic canoes and kayaks.  It looks like an unkempt toyshop and is true to the nature of people that seek out water but don't have any interest in exploring the depths that it holds.  Many of the boats are left neglected, beached but not tied or tossed on the ground waiting for a strong wind to blow them into the water...boat abuse.  Fortunately, it is a Tuesday and all of those boats are silenced.

Where the river necks down is where the river becomes worth the effort.  On that last trip, I fought the current with all my strength for ten full minutes to get past the cobbled point.  I finally pulled into shore and waded with the canoe into the pool above.  Today, the current is casual and I move past easily with no issues other than minding the six inch depth, which causes me to bring out and use my "rock" paddle.

The current stays mild when I get to my last trips high point, a big round bend where I had to pull ashore and continue by foot, as there was nothing but fast water from bank to bank.  This time, I paddle in mid-stream with the massive concrete dam appearing through the trees.  In the spring, there was a 400 yard long rolling class II rapids here with 2+ foot standing waves.  Today, it is a sparse rock garden with a current that can be paddled against.  I move eddy to eddy admiring the swirls and peering at the rocks that create them until I get to the top of it.  I sit there for awhile before turning back.

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