Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Checking Ice on the Connecticut River

If I had bothered to walk down to the waters edge and look up the channel I probably would've gone to another spot on the river.  But, there I stood all suited up with all my gear and canoe looking at ice not a 100 yards upriver.  I put in just the same and head seaward pushing two loons toward the ocean not a half mile away.

It's cooler than the weather report predicted and the supposed north wind is still out of the southwest.  But it is, yet, a mild breeze and headway against the flood tide is not difficult.  I round the downstream tip of Great Island, its numerous osprey nest boxes still empty.  I count eleven swans well out in the salt water, but it takes several minutes to decide that they are not blocks of ice.

Once at the tip of Great Island I turn back knowing that there is little of interest ahead.  The mouth of the Connecticut River and the far side of the island are just big water and big water holds fewer things of interest than the smaller places.  Life prefers the edges and smaller rivers and marshes simply have more edges.


The Black River, which meets the Connecticut right at the mouth surprises me once more.  It is open with only a minimum of ice.  I haven't figured the Black out quite yet...there's a love/apathy relationship going on, but every time I paddle up it I find something delightful.  I push through a patch of ice that isn't long for the world and continue up to the first bridge.  Beyond that, it is ice free except for a thirty foot wide strip of soft brackish ice that the canoe carves through with little extra effort and some ice that clings to the shore.  Here, it meanders between small houses and marshy pockets.  I expect the railroad bridge to be more problematic with ice, but it too is open.

Open, that is, until the second bend.  You could push farther up, but it might not be so easy getting back out.  It's a good point to turn around.

Once I get back past the first bridge, I find that the wind has come up.  It is hard in the face and and stronger than when I started.  And, after blowing miles across the top of a cold ocean, it is frigid and raw.

another new paddle - poison ivy

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