There's a strong wind off of the sea and a fast tidal current jetting through the narrow gap that connects the marsh to salt water. But once I am in the canoe, seated low, the wind is not so much a bother and I ride in relative comfort inland towards my destination.
After paddling a half mile through a broad salt marsh I reach the road where I have to do a very short and easy portage into a small pond. The culvert that connects the pond with the marsh is too small and fully submerged with a powerful current rocketing through it.
I quickly reload the canoe and head up to the narrow arched railroad bridge. The keystone of the arch has 1891 chiseled into it. There is little current as the culvert at the road is acting as a filter, slowing the passage of water that would have made this gap a fast ride.
It is a secret garden passage, a narrow arched tunnel that enters a beautiful lake surrounded by forest with short cliffs and steep hillsides descending into the lake. I immediately flush a kingfisher and a great blue heron. But soon I discover a problem. Almost everywhere it is surprisingly shallow. The water is 6 to 8 inches deep in most places with a soft layer of silty mud beneath. When I lose the deep channel I decide to cross the lake at a narrows and probe for any depth. Most shallows have a deep channel...but this does not. I continue a shore ways and it stays shallow, so I head back out knowing how long it might take to extricate myself from a mudflat.
At one time this lake was probably just an extension of the sea. Then a railroad was built with just a narrow opening to let water pass. For a 126 years the flow of tides have been restricted to a trickle of what it once was. It has been slowly filling with silt ever since. I suppose that the shallow water gets quite warm in the summer, the bottom absorbing the suns energy with no deep water or current to carry the heat. It may possibly be too warm for a lot of plants or fish to survive. Some day it might be a meadow - it's not much different than a large beaver pond.