It is my first time here, across the river and a bit downstream from Essex, where I have paddled from before.
The phragmites of Goose Island give way to cattail marsh, and a quite expansive cattail marsh at that with side channels going off to unknown results....a maze. For a first trip, I follow the shore, or what can be taken for shore on my right. The one sure way to find one's way through a maze is to follow a wall...although it may not be the quickest way through a maze.
It's a beautiful trip with a rising shoreline of bedrock and forest bounding that broad freshwater tidal marsh. I am surprised to see the cattails doing so well with the ocean not 4 miles downstream. I would expected more brackish conditions that would favor spartina.
As the cattails close in, I paddle more carefully, slipping the blade into the water with each stroke, emphasizing quiet over speed. There isn't much to see, yet. The cattails are mangy and browned out from winter, the new growth not yet started. I catch the call of red wing blackbirds, but not the calls of marsh wrens, yet. This looks to be exceptional habitat for the wrens, but it is still too early for them. My chosen channel closes in, the point at which the cattails will finally hug the canoe into stillness is not far ahead.
|mute swan being defensive...aggression is a week or two off|
I head back out and continue exploring, not sure of where I am, traveling as normal without a map. I might be near Coults Hole, a circular opening in the middle of the marsh, but I also might not be. I follow a channel up to a stand of trees knowing that there must be a bit of slightly higher landstuff for trees to grow. I recognize this place, a narrow piece of low land, having arrived on the far shore when I paddle out of Essex...landmark. Two osprey seem to be claiming a nearby nesting box.