I start by paddling the millpond, which is far from being round. Instead it is a long pond with several arms radiating out and edged with trees, high shrubs and a narrow marsh of cattails among other things. Having determined which arms are dead ends, I head upstream on the Scantic River against a barely perceptible current. The river has its own dead ends and sometimes at these junctions, the main channel narrows and the decision becomes a guess.
I may not get far today, I am using my camera about as much as I am using my paddle.
I hear rushing water around the bend - the sound of a small cascade or dam. I find a solidly built beaver dam, some two feet high and built using a large tree that had fallen in the water, the beaver adding branches to the 20 inch diameter trunk. I get out and slide up and over it on the right end and enter a beautiful and fully developed beaver pond. The millpond was nice, but it had nothing on this. Standing dead trees, drowned by the increase in water depth are surrounded by what seems to be the most diverse collection of plant life that I've seen. In this setting, the idea that beaver do damage reaches absurd. Here, by building a simple dam across the river, they have created a unique and stunning botanical garden unlike any other.
I continue up the river at least as far as I have already come. It stays narrow and deadfall contortions come with regularity but the river also meanders very tightly, at times nearly doubling back on itself. I turn back just short of two hours out when houses begin to appear on the banks.
Almost back to the millpond, I find a heavy earthware jug on the bottom and retrieve it by pushing it to the shallows with my paddle.