Thursday, January 19, 2017

Memory Stick

I put in just upstream from Whalebone Cove near the ferry slip.  I often start on the other side of the river but try not to make crossings like that during the winter.  But caution aside, it is dead calm and the big river is near glassy smooth.  I head down with a comfortable following current.

It is an easy paddle down to the entrance to the channel that takes one behind Selden Island with little to note other than a long steady set of probable deer tracks that have been washed once by the river, and that I have forgotten my notebook.

Making my turn into the back channel I flush a great blue heron, twice.  Then, before entering the large pond at the bend I flush fifty common mergansers.  They go when I am still 300 yards away...skittish.  There's a good number of birds here, a couple swans, a flock of mallards and some Canada geese on the far shore.  As I head down the channel I spook some more ducks.  It shows that hunting season has just finished - they fly when I am quite some distance away.

Besides the birds, I keep my eye out for sign.  By the half way cliffs I find the first beaver sign.  It's not much, just one downed tree, and there are none of the other markers - scent mounds, lodges or obvious drags, but they are around.

I head up into the Elf Forest, a place I've not been into at low tide.  I find more than enough water to get most of the way in.  I find fresh beaver sign along the bank...very fresh.  But again, no scent mounds or lodges, no tracks or drags.  They're probably using the side channels that are dry at this tide level for higher tide they can just float their cuttings.

The wind has come up while I have been nosing about.  It doesn't seem too bad and the weather prediction was for light wind so I continue down to make my return in the wide main channel.  This turns out not to be such a good idea.  Hoping for better gets me halfway up the island with nothing but worse.  Both wind and current against me, it is a grind.  The camera gets put away - no time to mess with it.  It is bad enough that when I have a long stretch of beach I hop out and tow the canoe...more than doubling my speed while giving me a chance to beachcomb.  It takes twice as long for the return...but well more than twice as much effort.

Connecticut River and Selden Channel

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