Monday, July 30, 2018


I put in at a junky and unmaintained canoe launch near the bottom of the Quinnipiac River.  It has all of the charms of an inner city start, the broken concrete shoreline, the collapsed cement sidewalk, and the abandoned restaurant that stands nearby.

This is old industry water.  Fishing boats have set out from here until recently, a few still do.  It's working waterfront, or was working waterfront. There were factories and warehouses, the river was a conduit for sea going enterprise, it was also a conduit for sewage and industrial waste.  I suppose it is better than it once was but it doesn't take much imagination to see what was going on.

I head down river and pass under a truss framed swing bridge, then a more recent (although not too recent) draw bridge.  The shoreline is walled or rip rapped.  The rip rap is stone or brick salvaged from demo'd buildings or concrete salvaged from who knows what.  It protects the shore from erosion.  It also walls people off form the water.  No one likes stumbling over loosely dumped rip rap.

Dead coal power plant on Ball Island
I turn up the Mill River.  When I said old industry, I meant the start of American industry.  Connecticut was the industrial state before the advent of steam power.  Textiles and high quality metalworking were major industries.  Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, built a gun factory for producing muskets on this river. 

The river is full of large schools of bunker.  Near the shutdown coal power plant on Ball Island I paddle over a school that runs bank to bank and a 100 yards long.  When the fish startle there are enough of them to create a small wake.

Above Ball Island the river narrows.  I pass under several bridges before reaching the tide gates.  I could portage and continue another 2 miles or so, but it seems a logical point to turn around.

No comments: