Friday, October 24, 2014

Cold Hands Day

The wind from the last two days has abated and only the rain remains.  I put in on the Pequabuck in a cool, light sprinkle, the first of the "cold hands" days.  The water is up a little and a good current carries me the short meandering distance to the Farmington, where I turn upstream in to new waters.

The clouds have not peeled back as I had hoped for.  The yellow rain jacket that lives down deep in the bottom of my pack comes out and stays on even when the rain tapers off.

The current is swift in most places and fast in others with only a few slower pools.  I paddle, wade and eddy hop up the insides of the bends.  At the island, I portage the lower tip, the current in the main stem too fast at the top of the island and the current in the side channel too fast at the bottom.  Such busyness makes for few photos.

The bottom is cobbles and larger...glacial till to my eyes.  The rock paddle comes out in the shallow sections.

In an hour, I reach a broadening in the river, a pond maybe three quarters of a mile long.  It seems unnatural, out of character.  Machinery on river left tips off a gravel mining operation.  My guess it that the river was once narrower and previous gravel mining widened it.

At the top of the pond, I can see upstream to where the river is decidedly steeper.  There is a long whitewater section somewhere up there, and I'm pretty sure that I am looking at the bottom of it.  I turn back, finding a lone grebe in the pond, the only bird in the pond.  I can't ID it in the dim light, but I know that it's not a pied billed...just by the behavior.

The upstream hour takes under ten minutes to retrace.  My eyes see the distances between landmarks as much less than how I remembered them.  The time difference I understand, the visual effect is something much deeper.

At the mouth of the Pequabuck are three to four hundred Canada geese in two, maybe three distinct flocks.  They are "wilds" on migration...they begin to honk as I near.  The sound is incredible, so many at once.  The heads go up high, the necks stretched out to get a better view.  Then half of them take off all at once, honking as they get airborne.  Then, the other half take off, and I turn back up the Pequabuck.

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