Tuesday, August 15, 2017

When the Water Washes Over

I set out upstream from the remains of an old aqueduct that once crossed the river and moved barges of cargo from one city to another, until the practical railroad was invented.  The aqueduct had a relatively short useful life.  The short portage in was on the old towpath.

Today is the third consecutive canoe trip and the fourth in five days.  Two of the trips have been less than ideal with disruptions that challenge my connection to the environment.  That won't be a problem on this stretch of river.  Even so, with that frequency of trips, I am beginning to feel the water wash over me.

The river is clear and running with a steady current.  The bottom is heavy sand and pea gravel, and sometimes cobbles.  I spend more time looking down into the water than at the surrounding forest.  The dark bottom is punctuated by the white ovals of dead freshwater mussels...often 2-1/2 to 3 inches in length. And with fair frequency, the polygonal shapes of broken glazed pottery finish the sentence.  It is really surprising to see how much pottery is in the bottom of this part of the river.

I push a Great Blue Heron up the river in short hops, a quite normal pattern that I am familiar with.  After a few short flights it will swing wide and around and back to near where I first saw it.  I spot a Green Heron next.  I am not sure of its habits other than it is most likely to fly a short distance back into the trees where it will be hard or impossible to see.  Maybe it does a silly dance once out of view.
A Catalpa Tree
After an hour and a quarter I reach the old broken mill dam.  Fast water makes the last 200 yards a workout, but still water waits just at the base.  The dam ruins form a bank to bank cascade that has, depending on your viewpoint, either too many rocks or too little water to canoe in either direction.  I portage on river left, an easy 60 yards or so.
At the first bend above the dam right in the outside of that turn is the Pequabuck River.  It is smaller and shallower with a sandy bottom.  I've been up it a few miles before, but the water is down and I turn back after about a mile coasting much of the way out on the current.  I portage back over the dam and speed down river on a good current.  It has been a good day.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

What neat places you go!
We had a catalpa (we call them ca-taw-ba) tree in our yard when
I was young. Had the nastiest worms on it part of the year, and
because it was in the back yard, they got on the clothes hanging
on the clothes line, crawled into the back door, ect. Yuck! I
won't have one close to the house today for that reason, lol.

Why so much pottery in the river bottom?