CANOE/KAYAK TRIP ON THE
On June 15, 2003,
Fathers Day, the rain ended and the sun came out. We rented boats from
James McNaughton again who led 16 of us, including 11 people from The
Pioneer Valley Hiking Club, to paddle yet another river. We were
scheduled to paddle on a pretty and quiet section of the Ware River in
Thorndike, but when we arrived in Palmer, Mass, our leader, James,
said the Ware was at flood stage! "...but not to worry, we will travel
the Swift River, instead," which was also nearby.
On the way to the Swift we crossed a
bridge over that Ware River section which is usually so calm: it was
raging, whitecaps and all, from all the rainfall this month. I was
very glad James made this change in plans for us, as I didn't need
whitewater today or any day.
Our put-in spot was in Belchertown off
Rte. 181 & Cold Spring Rd. James pointed out a 4 mile rail trail which
looked inviting, something to explore another time. We had a larger
group this time: 2 canoes; James & Gail each paddled a solo canoe; 9
solo kayaks. Ann Marie and Ed joined us with their intriguing yellow
tandem kayak. I chose a kayak this time.
We paddled easily upstream about a mile
and a half on flat water that was barely moving, getting to know our
boats. This kayak was rather long & also very comfortable. We saw &
heard lots of birds including a Northern Oriole, Mallards who seemed
very proud of their little ducklings, 3 white ducks swimming together
quacking away and wagging their tails...they were very happy to be on
the river too. There were interesting houses along the way as well.
What a great place to live! Downed trees completely blocked travel
farther north (we would have had to portage), so we turned around and
went back downstream.
We stopped at a sunny meadow for our
picnic lunch. The area was a part of the Herrman Covey WMA in
Ware, a great place to hike. After a pleasant rest and stretch of the
legs, we had the opportunity to switch boats, but most people were
comfortable with what they had and continued our trip downstream past
our put in area to see some islands and more wildlife including
turtles, a carnivorous red plant, and a muskrat who was taking a bath
and preening itself until he realized he was being watched.
Soon it was time to turn around and paddle
back up to our put in area again where our cars were parked. This was
the end of another wonderful 5 mile paddle...what a fun day with great
company! Can't wait to go back...next time we can paddle downstream a
lot farther south to see what's there.
July 26th we will try again to paddle that
section of the Ware River, if the water level doesn't drop too low.
Next time I will try the shorter kayak which is also very stable in
We have other great trips planned ...the
Sunderland-Northampton section of the Connecticut River is on the
schedule for Saturday, Aug 16th.
Pottapaug Pond at Quabbin gate 43 is
planned for Monday, September 1st, Labor Day (a Mass fishing license
is required for this one but a day pass can be purchased there for
$2.50 extra-so you could fish also).
These trips aren't cheap but worth every
$....when you don't want the hassle of packing & transporting a boat.