Tuesday, June 25, 2019

To Shelton and Back

I set out on the big river from the state's newly rebuilt launch.  Connecticut does a very good job at providing free access to water and this is a nice addition to the Feral Cat Park put in, which is a mile up, and the Wheeler put in, which is a mile down and unusable at low tides.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron
I head up river on calm waters with no more than a hint of wind.  Using this put in makes a trip through the Peacock-Carting-Long and Pope's Flat archipelago an obvious choice.  Four Egrets and a Black-Crowned Night Heron are perched in the trees at by Peacock Island, it is a good start.  The islands are looking great. Part of a National Wildlife Refuge, the government has been removing the non-native and invasive phragmites that too effectively crowd out animal and plant species.  The phragmites is being replaced with marsh grasses and shrubs.

From the top of the islands I cross back over to the east shore to take advantage of shade while I have it. 

Three hours up river I turn around.  It's been a steady paddle except for stopping to watch a mother ground hog with two pups.  I can feel the fatigue and paddling is a bit of labor.  But at four hours, I am over the edge and in the "zone", the paddling becomes smooth again and the muscles stop complaining.

About two miles from the put-in the wind comes up, stiff and in my face.  My pace slows to a crawl and with the islands in sight again, I cut across the river looking for a buffer.  Although longer, the route through the islands is protected from the wind.  When I come out from behind Peacock Island, the wind has disappeared, go figure. 

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