Saturday, August 5, 2017

Qualifying Rounds - Synchronized Swimming

We set out from the top where the river is narrowest and where the bends are tightest.  It's a finicky first mile, weaving through the meanders made only more circuitous by the numerous dead falls that will become obstructions as the summer burns on and the water level drops.

I was here just four days earlier, an exploratory trip to see how the river gauge height correlates with canoeability.  It was all good and so I offered M a trip here instead of on an easier tidal river.  Our last trip was one of my more difficult log crawl/limbo fests, so M was totally up for a trip with a few well spaced log and beaver dam crossings.  I picked a paddle out of my collection for that had been used once, but needed to have a bit of wear added to it, just for spirit.

the Heron waits
When we got below Pine Island, where the river opens up some, we stopped for a short break.  M missed it, but a Great Blue Heron descended over our heads with wings set for landing.  It was waiting just around the next bend.

I pushed the nose of the canoe up against the first beaver dam so that M could step out.  She stood up, bent at the waist, and then slowly went back on her heals.  I instantly wondered whether or not she would go in alone.  Not quick enough to counter, we both exited the canoe.  I had sealed the camera in its box, so it was all a laugh and quite frankly, a pleasant dip in clean cool water.  I did congratulate M as this was only my second dumping in almost 900 days of canoeing.

beaver dam
We made out way to the big log jam, which now has a gap cut through it thanks to another M (pictured later on, by chance).  However, M decided that it was not clear and pushed off of a log with her paddle.....I did not see that coming.....and over we went again, this time half filling the canoe.  I drained the canoe while M  enjoyed bobbing in the water and then I paddled over to pick her up.  We continued on through the forested section up to the tallest of the beaver dams.  A check on our time made this a good turn around point.

Decidedly determined to set a record that would not be matched for some time, as we crossed one of the beaver dams on our return, M stepped out onto what she though would be firm footing.  But, there was nothing there.  Given the choice, as she got hip deep I just slid out over the gunwale taking my swim without filling the canoe. 

A few bends up a small hawkish bird swooped through.  It perched...wings longer than the tail...a falcon.  I never got a photo, as by this time my camera was staying cased, but it never really stopped long enough anyway.  We watched it move from snag to snag, probably eyeing the ground and watching for a small critter that was not paying attention.

M and M getting acquainted
M's red kayak came around the bend when we were less than a half mile from our take-out.  He was on his way in to clear a log that someone had told him about.  I told him that I didn't really see anything chainsaw worthy and chainsaw suitable.  I don't think he really cares as he likes this river as much if not more than I do and any excuse to be here is a good one.

Trip on August 4th, Great Swamp

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