Sunday, November 7, 2010

Norby and Daggett's Home

On November 7th I threw the kayak on the roof for a mid-Fall paddle on the Ipswich River, and on the way there began to worry that I wasn't wearing my orange hat, prompted by the many signs of hunting season in full swing. On the river though, I heard no shots though I saw plenty of signs advising hunters, posted where neighboring farms stretched close to the river.

The water level was above normal and the water was pretty cold when I waded in it for a bit while I set off. My feet have probably never been colder for an extended period then they were that afternoon. But the environs were beautiful and, after leaving the road and Bradley Palmer State Park behind I didn't see any people for hours. I didn't see any beavers either but what I did see was a wealth of signs that they'd been busy as ... well you know. This must be Norby and Daggett's home.

I took a few videos but they don't get the point across about the massive impact on the environment that these animals make. There were large trees that were totally girdled of bark (when not felled) by beaver teeth, huge lodges all over the place, and the most impressive thing was that, though the river was high, they had dammed it in two places. And by this I don't mean small attempts at damming a small stream: these were very successful dams that I couldn't get by and that raised the upstream water level by a half foot or more. I portaged around the first one and when I came downstream I was able to get by where the water had forced a sluiceway through the neighboring weeds. But the second dam was just incredibly well constructed totally across the river and there was no way I could have gotten around it without getting out of the kayak, getting very wet, and perhaps not succeeding anyway. So I turned around and rode the current back to the put-in.

Here's a video:

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