Monday, April 18, 2011

Marathon Monday - South Natick Dam

Normally we would be standing on Route 16 cheering on the Boston Marathoners, but today the river was calling us.

Arriving at the South Natick Dam area of the Charles River, we quickly unloaded our boats into a pine grove then set out for a paddle on the river.  The day was bright, sunny but a bit chilly at around 51 degrees.  The strong southwest wind made the temperature feel even cooler.
Paddling upstream was rather difficult as the current was fairly strong.  Our newest kayaker looked as though she were standing still while paddling under the footbridge.  It was like being on a water treadmill!

Wildlife:  Almost instantly we spied a pair of mute swans lingering near the shore.  As these are aggressive birds we made sure to give them a wide berth.

Nearby a female Canada goose was sitting on her nest while her male counterpart was distracting anyone/thing that came close.

Basking on logs and in the matted swamp area were many turtles.  Paddling to get a closer look only made them plop into the river.

Overhead we heard the unmistakable call of a red-tail hawk.  Swooping easily through the trees he made his way in search of lunch.

Our Lady of the River
Landmark: As always one of the highlights was viewing 'the praying woman statue' otherwise known as, "Our Lady".

There are many stories surrounding this mysterious statue, but she was erected on a boulder on the side of the river before the Depression by a writer named Daniel Sargent. 

Our trek back to the landing area was rather quick as the swift current carried us without much effort (as if in repayment of our hard work and effort going upstream.) We spent 2 hours paddling upstream and it took only about 40 minutes to get back to the South Natick Dam.

 We just love how each adventure on the Charles River is different from the previous one! You know it was a good day on the river when you can feel your muscles ache and you're ready for a good night's sleep!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Maiden Voyage 4-9-11

Splish! Splash! Splish!  Kayaks teetered as we carefully placed our left foot, then right, into the boat. With just a little effort we pushed ourselves into the waiting river! Our paddles plopped in too and we were off for our 'maiden voyage' along the Charles River on this beautiful spring day!  The temperature at 62 degrees was perfect for our first  outing of the season!  Heading upstream the wind was blowing briskly in our faces at a strong 7 miles per hour.
The river looked very different from our last paddle in the fall.  The trees that once held brightly colored leaves were mostly bare.  Upon closer inspection some of them were beginning to bud - a sure sign that soon it will be full of color once again.    Homes, paths and other landmarks not visible in the summer and fall could now be seen. The sparseness provided us with a contrastive view of our familiar playground.

Life on the river was rather quiet as well. Although the Peter's Point parking area was crowded, there was only one other fellow kayaker (he had a sleek fiberglass kayak equipped with racing paddles). However, one or two painted turtles, five turkey buzzards, a pair of busy mallards moseying about, a pair of boisterous Canada geese protecting their nesting area, and a favorite, the majestic  great blue heron were spotted during the trip.
Heading Down Stream

Hikers and walkers were seen on high atop King Philip's Overlook, the rocks near the Rocky Narrows section of the river.  Paddling through this narrow stretch of the river surrounded by the high rock formations, always makes me think about the Native Americans who might have paddled the same section of the river hundreds of years earlier.

Pulling into Peter's Point after a Great Day of Paddling!

After the mile or so paddle to the Route 27 bridge, we headed home with the wind at our backs and the sun peaking in and out of the clouds.  It was a perfect ending to a perfect day out on the Charles River.