June 2003
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Marblehead, MA Seaside Park Walk - June 28, 2003
Activity and photo by Rich K.

Your Webmaster is attempting to put some names to the photo...help!!!
____, ____, ____, Cathy (back), Jen (front), Sasha, Victoria, ____ (pup) at Fort Sewall
Uhhh...I have a feeling I know some of the "____" people...uh ohhhh...
Well, you know, it's the second thing to go...

Canoe/Kayak on the Swift River - June 15, 2003
Activity and trip report by Sheila C.

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 the water.

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.