Friday, December 23, 2016

Rockworks and Glass

I pause at the first bank to bank tangle, a tree that was cut from the earth by the fast water on the outside of a bend in the river.  It wasn't here on my first few trips up this river, but it has been an expected obstruction for the last couple years.  At higher water I can squeeze by on the inside of the bend.  But, I know that there is more of this if I go any farther up river and it seems that I am out far enough for a short winter day in a small forested river.

I flushed a good number of mallards on the way up, about a third as many hooded mergansers (maybe 10 of the later), add a great blue heron, a common merganser, a blue jay and at least a half dozen kingfishers and it has been a good trip.  Just before the tangle a turkey vulture was perched overhead at a bend in the river and showed little interest on leaving because of my arrival.

A shift over to a different tree was about all the bird could be bothered with.  It did not negotiate the forest with any of the grace that the slightly larger great blue herons do.

I noticed at this low water level that there are the remnants of a crude stone work at a spot where the river powered through and cut a channel at some time in the past.  In fact, there was stone works on both the upstream and downstream ends of the cut and what may have been some rip-rap in mid channel by the top end...I unexpectedly hit my paddle on the rip-rap.  In Seattle, the waterway earthworks were often enormous changes created with the use of steam shovels and explosives.  Here in the Northeast, many of the earthworks that I run across were powered by some guy with a shovel, ox or mule and a wagon.  I often find submerged rock beds near bridges, which I read as former fords from before the bridges were built or in some cases, remains of an earlier generation bridge.
When I near the lower rockwork for a photograph, I notice that it is littered with broken glass.  None of it seems to be particularly old.  It's likely that the cut channel sliced through a small dump.  While none of the glass is too old, there is no plastic, no aluminum can fragments...It seems to be a pre-plastic dump site.  Nothing shows signs of melting.  I retrieve 2 Pond's cold cream jars, a glass jar lid, the neck of a mild bottle and 1 of 2 drink glasses (one broke when I dropped it in the canoe).  As I continue down I notice more glass artifacts on the banks.

Quinnipiac River

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