It is calm and sunny over the East River and it is nothing short of a perfect day to sit in a canoe in the chill of the morning and drink a cup of coffee.
A prime bird observation location, I stay alert and paddle with reasonable quietness, but it is not until I pass the railroad bridge, the first of the five bridges, that I see a bird. A solitary greater yellow legs stops its incessant head bobbing and flies upstream, crossing the river as it goes. When I get near again, it gets up and flies off back behind me. That was nearly a mile of water before seeing the first bird...quite a difference from summer.
After the highway bridge (the third bridge), I hear a kingfisher and spot a whitetail deer at the waters edge near a pair of American black ducks. Only then do I see the kingfisher. Now is the proper time for that cup of coffee.
A few hundred yards past the fourth bridge, the stone arch one, I turn off the river into a meandering channel that leads to a collapsed dam that, some hundred and fifty years ago, powered a simple up and down sawmill.
|the left half of the dam can been seen in the distance|
|looking down into the breach|
|The Foote Bridge|
The fifth bridge is the Foote Bridge. I gather that there has been a bridge at this location for quite some time. The current bridge is modern, built on less than modern foundations. It is essentially a private bridge although hikers use it to access trails in the area. It is also the point where the East River becomes too shallow to paddle except at the peak of high tide, when one can go another half mile up to the sixth bridge before grounding out, period.