It's a mile downstream, past the old pilings and the stone foundation on the opposite bank, and past the four mid-river stone foundations that mark a 1870's train disaster. It's on the outside of the sharp bend where the river turns towards its end at the Connecticut River. It has an official name, which is of no importance. It is the "O" cove - a good sized circular pond, a former oxbow of either the river or the nearby Salmon Brook. The enterance is a short step and drag over a low and minimal beaver dam that is nearly awash today. The "O" cove is a pond on its way to being a meadow, but with few human visitors and rich with swamp plants and forested banks, it makes fine habitat for wildlife.
A flushed heron reminds me to calm down and paddle as quietly as possible.
Dark fingertip sized projections sticking up out of the frog moss are turtles eyeing my approach. When I am too close, they disappear in a blink. I flush three more herons.
When I've finished the "O", I recross the beaver dam and turn the point into Salmon Brook. I've been up here once before on a fall day. Today, there is a bit more water. The brook is a bone yard with downed trees in the water here and there. But, at this level most of them can be paddled or waded around, because a nice thing about the brook is its firm gravel bottom. I ascend a mile or so, paddling mostly and wading over shallows. I flush a few herons, but it is for the most part, a private place.
As I return up the river to my put-in, I make one last detour up the backwater that I've always passed on previous trips. It was once a bend in the river, but the curve is no longer complete. It is longer than I thought. I surprise a white tail doe. She leaps in one bound up the four foot high bank, but I know she has gone no further than to be out of my sight.
Her tiny spotted fawn, all legs, remains below looking for a place where it can make the climb up the bank, needing at least two bounds to do it. I don't register with the fawn and it shows little hurry other than it wants to be closer to its mother. We all part ways.
This Year's First Skunk
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