Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New Territory

I've paddled this section of the river in both directions perhaps a dozen or two dozen times, yet today, as always, it is an exploration of new territory.  The river will bend in the same places and the trip up will probably end in the boulder strewn marsh as it usually does, but it will be a new landscape of previously unseen details.  It always is.

The explorers that I read about when I was young followed rivers to their sources.  They mapped the land as they went because maps of these places did not exist.  This type of macro-exploration faded away during the 20th century.  What we hadn't mapped in the last 1000 years was taken care of by aerial photography and finally by satellite photography that was able to grasp the details down to the resolution of a few feet.  The modern explorer became an adventurer and less an explorer.

But, we can know where all the rivers go and we can know exactly how high each peak is, but when we look at the details we only know how little we know.

When I get to the boulder strewn marsh I continue up to the left instead of my more usual wandering off to the right.  I have been here before but it is unfamiliar.  Somewhere in my mind I had convinced myself that there was not much off in this direction.  I paddle a meandering route through trampled cattail marsh for a full half hour until the path begins to peter out.  I had only been here in summer with the cattails high and green...this was all new to me.

I paddle out past my put-in and down to the Watch Rocks where there is a broad shallow bay.  It has a good number of teal today, to add to the ten osprey, 2 swans, eight common mergansers, three hooded mergansers, one Canada goose that I have also noted.

Lieutenant River

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