Friday, May 19, 2023

Working River, Formerly

I put in at the Rocky Hill Ferry. the day is fairly cloudy with a temperature in the low 60's and it seems windier than the prediction. I head down river, with a light current but against the wind, which is coming straight up the channel from the south.

Last time I came here, about three weeks ago, the Hartford gauge was reading almost 15 feet, and that gauge is just a couple miles upstream. The current was really moving on that day and I didn't set out as it would've been a one way trip to some point downstream. Today, the gauge is wobbling about 4 feet, a drop of 11 feet. I think 4 feet is low for this time of year. I expect to see something more like 7 or 8,  but I do not actually pay that much attention to it. Anyway, there is not much of a current right now.

I like this section of the river. It is a moderately wide meandering channel with the eastern hardwood forest coming right down to the last few feet of river bank. In places, those trees are backed by river bottom farm fields, and in others, high hillsides hold the river in place. This section of the river reads like old working river, and I am sure that it is. Every so often there is an abandoned industrial dock with heavy pilings for the barges or steamships that might tie up. People, crops, and quarried stone would have been moving up and down the river. NOAA still maintains sea charts as far up as Hartford and there are a couple of active channel markers down near Gildersleeve Island. 

I paddle against the wind, hugging the west shore. I brought my track casting kit, which means I do not see any animal tracks on the silty sand shore. I spot a couple Plover, several small Sandpipers, a few Great Blue Herons, a couple Kingfishers, one Red Tail Hawk and one immature Bald Eagle.

I believe this is the foundation of an old navigation marker

I turn back just above Gildersleeve Island, crossing the river to catch the strongest breeze for the push back. I see no one else on the water.

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