Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chapman Pond

I didn't write in the canoe today.  I did not feel like taking my eyes off of my surroundings, even for a short bit of writing in my notebook.  It is overcast and near calm with rain that quit just as I was setting out.

I put in under Gillette Castle, a structure from the School of Batshit Crazy built by a famous 19th century actor with no relation to the makers of razor blades.  The river is still high with snow melt coming down from the upper reaches some three or four hundred miles upstream.  I chose to start upstream, the return trip option of drifting back somewhat appealing with the stronger than usual current.  The high water  makes it a good opportunity to explore Chapman Pond.
Gillette trestle ruins in center
I begin skirting under the cliffs where the stone, timber and iron ruins of Gillette's miniature steam train system are perched.  The train ride was definitely "airy"...tracks 30 or 40 feet above the water hanging on the side of the cliffs.
The first possible turn off of the river is the meandering lower entrance to Chapman Pond.  Even in here there is a current.

I find 25 mute swans in the pond.  They are not mated pairs, as mated pairs don't tolerate other swans, or much of anything else for that matter.  No aggression, they just move away when I get too close.  There is plenty of water, so I paddle the shoreline all of the way around, about 45 minutes or so with a short break in the marsh at the top where I can hear cascading water well back out of sight in the surrounding forest.  There is little of note other than the apple fritter that I was eating broke and a large and especially tasty sugary piece hit my bicep and rolled down my arm to my elbow where it launched itself into the pond.  Had it landed in the canoe I would have eaten it, but once in the water it stays.
top of Chapman Pond
I exit through the straight cut, a man made cut that goes direct to the river, 200 yards or so.

Halfway from there to the Haddam swing bridge is an eagle nest with an eagle in attendance.  I turn at the turn bridge knowing what lies ahead and knowing it isn't worth the grind against the current.  And, I go back through the pond on the return with little of note again except for a red throated loon that let me approach to within about 15 yards.
Red Throated Loon

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