S sleeps in very late. S had called me from a trip out of town the other day and told me that all she wanted was to go canoeing. When she wakes up, she asks if it is too late to go canoeing. I tell her that we still have daylight until seven o'clock...we have plenty of time. She says, "let's go now."
I take her to a river that she has not ever seen, and we start from a place that I've never put in at, although I'd been there on a previous trip. This put-in was known by the tavern that stood here, but the tavern owner died several years ago and the tavern was torn down. Still, all of the maps for this site tell one to look for the tavern and I'm not sure why, but I like that.
Here, the Mattabasset is a well forested slow moving river crawling between banks that are so root bound that they appear to almost be wattle and daub. One time, S points to the bank and suggests that it is a beaver dam...it isn't although it almost looks like one.
The forested river runs into a flood plain with the "dry" land a level shelf a foot or two above the water...a place to camp, sometimes, but not a place to build.
And then it gives out into marsh with extensive stands of wild rice and pickerelweed...and that one concentrated plot of cardinal flower.
We see some osprey, a family three swans, a great blue heron, and an unidentified hawk...but it is the number of song birds, especially red wing blackbirds that is most noticable. They are already feeding on the wild rice, even though the kernels haven't yet fully formed.
And when S's prescription for canoeing has been fulfilled, we return, winding our way through the snags and deadfalls and under and through the gaps in the low branches, hugging the bank and admiring the woven tangle of roots that the fallen trees present to us.
17 hours ago