Monday, August 30, 2010

Hot Day on the Middle Sudbury

Met up with a friend at the 117 put-in on a hot, hot Sunday (August 29) and headed upriver through the brilliant light. The parking lot was full (with our cars!) and the river had a number of boats on it, but everybody was moving slowly. We got up to route 27 and then headed back downstream. The current seemed to barely be moving in some places. A good number of herons stood like widely-spaced sentries along the bank, but it was too hot for much wildlife activity besides that. Saw a few trees that had already started turning well before the end of the hot, dry summer.

CFO of the Aberjona

On Thursday the 26th it was a beautiful day after 4 days of rain and so I cartopped the kayak over to the Mystic Lakes after work and put in on the upper, upper lake. Nice late afternoon light and very few people out ... more fishing than boating. After meandering out onto the upper lake I cruised the shoreline back along the middle upper lake (where I saw a slew of Turnabouts almost swamped by the huge rain ... someone needs to start bailing), some really nice majestic oaks, ashes, and pines, and one dock covered with duck shit. When I got around to the mouth of the Aberjona I figured I'd paddle up it as far as I could and was doing so when I spied a mythic figure, sitting under a tree on the bank with some kind of box that said Budweiser 24-pack on the side and a smaller rectangular box that said Lucky Strikes.

He introduced himself and then let on that his name is actually a throw-away. He's in fact a CFO and comes from Alaska. He's landed in Boston and, though he went to college in the area, he's having a hard time coping in what is a very different world than he had been in since then. I seemed to him to not be freaked out by his talk of different worlds and mythic stereotypes, so he offered me a beer and we continued to chat. Had a nice talk and then left him there to finish his 24-pack and decide if he really wanted to go back to work the next day.

That's the wonderful thing about poking your kayak into out-of-the-way places ... you never know what kind of wildlife has carved out a foothold in that ecosystem.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

LL in Lowell, etc.

Last Friday (the 13th!) we went up to Boardinghouse Park in Lowell to see Lyle Lovett with his large band. We are totally disgusted with the policy at the Lowell Summer Music Series of letting people stake out claims in the park with blankets, chairs, etc. and then leave until whenever they feel like re-claiming their space.

Sarah and I arrived at 5:30 or so (two hours before the concert started) and luckily were able to squeeze our chairs into a small space next to the soundboard. Our friends Phil and Ann arrived about a half hour later and were lucky to get seats where they had any kind of view of the stage at all. We then watched over the next 2.5 hours as people argued about space and who moved whose chairs ... interrupting everyone's calm on a beautiful summer night and interrupting their enjoyment of the first act. The Lowell Summer Music Series gets some good acts but has to do something about this situation.

Anyway, blah blah blah. It was a great concert and I really mean that. The people who were there for a concert were dancing around to Church ... he did Loretta and closed with No More Cane. Fantastic stuff, including The Front Porch Song and of course, If I Had a Boat.

Other stuff from then 'til now:

-Wonderful kayak by myself from the Mystic Dam almost all the way down the River to the locks at Everett on Saturday the 14th
-Great time with Laura doing an after-work kayak on Wednesday the 18th, going from the Lowell St. bridge under route 2 almost all the way up to Fairhaven Bay and back
-Took Dave back to IC this weekend: delay for two hours Westbound on Saturday because of a stinking air show and delay for two hours back Eastbound last night because of a fallen tree ... and New Yorkers; miss Dave a lot!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Circus on Charles

Last Saturday was an absolutely brilliant, stellar, shining, summer day. I brewed some Belgian in the morning, got some brake work done on the car (long story), and then met friends to go kayaking on the Charles in Newton. When I arrived in the Norumbega Road parking lot, looking for somewhere to put in and/or my friends, I caught a glimpse of fat people taking pictures of each other feeding Cheetos to Canada Geese.

I headed to the other end of the parking lot and pushed my way to the river past hordes of ducks and geese who wanted to be fed. "Have you no shame?" I asked. No response. Put in and it was beautiful on the river but I've never seen so many kayaks in my life. Actually, in 10 minutes I saw more kayaks than I'd ever seen in my life, they were that thick. Two-seaters rolled by with couples, one of whom had obviously said to the other at some point that day, "Fine, but *I'm* not paddling." Four-seaters were the real hazard ... those people had no idea of what to do or control over what they hit.

Met up with my friends down half-way to the Waltham Dam and had some nice talks with riparian land-owners, then headed back South under the highway and had an excellent paddle. There were beautiful, luxurious wildflowers on the banks and as I say, it was an incredible day to be outside.

On Sunday Dave and I went paddling in the Upper Mystic Lake in the afternoon and had another wonderful time. It was a bit more humid and threatening to thunderstorm, but the Upper Lake was in full form with recreators all over it. We had fun.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Watermeal Soup

Went for a short paddle after work on Monday. Put in where 117 crosses the Sudbury ... or at least I thought I did but the carpet of watermeal was so thick you couldn't tell when you were actually in the water as opposed to just skimming the organic stew. Out in the current it was still like that, but then some stretches of more open water appeared as I paddled down into Fairhaven Bay. Saw lots of herons; one was stationed every hundred feet along the shore, each trying to ignore each other and look invisible to me. When I got to the downwind side of the Bay the stench from all the vegetation exposed by the incredibly low water, rotting in the humid air, was very distinctive: almost like a cattle barn when the wind blows the right way. Had to hose the kayak and myself down pretty thoroughly when I got back to wash off the caked watermeal and mud.