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September 20, 2008

Saturday 2008-09-20 canoe trip

Okay, I've got an ongoing RTM item that reads: "blog about canoe trips". Ideally I'll blog about every trip. But at the very least, I have to put something up about the latest trip, so I don't get farther behind.

Also, I'm going to lie about the date. I'm posting this on Monday, but the "Authored On" date is Saturday, the day we actually canoed. I think that'll make things a bit easier to follow. I'll put the actual date in my signature.

Saturday, we put in at the top of the Dedham Loop (right there in the brick-paved spot off of Great Plain Ave (or whatever it's called on the east side of 128). One thing noteworthy was that we were combining a canoe trip with regular Saturday errands, so the car was full of not just the canoe stuff but 5 5 gallon water bottles we were returning. Car was somewhat cramped.

The put-in is good. Not very busy. There was another car there when we got there but they were gone when we returned. There's a short half-gravel / half slippery mud path down to the water. Got the canoe off and everything out of the car and in the canoe, and carried the canoe down to the water. Remember what I said about slippery mud. Well, a youtube-if-we-had-video-going moment was when I slipped in the mud, landing flat on my keister -- twice. The biggest downside to this put-in is the "beach" itself, which is mostly clay, mud, and murk (yeah, just coined murk; the active ingredient in anything murky, not to be confused with the verb form). What with the mud-wrestling with the canoe and getting my sandles stuck in the mud, I was rather messy when I finally got in the canoe.

We went upstream from there. It's heavily wooded, and the water was high and flowing well (not so well that we couldn't paddle or anything, just enough to ensure a nice time coming back). Before we hit 128 there looked like some better put-ins, that probably bear further investigations. Some guy was fishing there (he didn't catch anything, but I think for some, actually catching fish just interrupts a good day fishing). It was loud going under 128, as expected, and I thought I saw a paved path on the south side between the two bridges, but it was just for drainage. After the two 128 bridges there was a third bridge (off-ramp? not sure), then the river turned sharply to the right, then to the left.

Continuing on, it seemed there might be some picnic spots here and there, until we got into some definite backyard area. Lots of private docks. We ended up tying our stern painter to a branch sticking out of the water and eating lunch in the canoe. I thought Maria wasn't feeling well (she was hardly paddling the whole trip, which isn't like her), so I suggested we go back, but both ladies wanted to continue on, so we did.

After a little while the river turned to the left in a wide open area, and we saw a bridge, and some VERY low fast water. We initially tried to navigate it, but the water was too fast and shallow, so we gave up. On our way back we noticed a picnic table nearby, to make a mental note to stop there next time.

Heading back downstream was nice and uneventful. I managed to keep my feet under me while we got the canoe out of the water and back on the car. But I'm sure I was still a muddy mess to look at at Shaws.

All in all, a good day, and nice paddle in some new territory.

Michael, 9/22/08

Posted by mlv at 12:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 07, 2008

Yet another new category post

This time, canoeing.

If you're wondering, I've got a running gag of sorts going on here. That is, the disproportionate number of posts that solely introduce a new category.

When I was a kid, we'd go up to Canada for our vacation every summer. We had a canoe, and I spent a lot of time in it. There's something about getting out in a canoe on a glassy smooth lake early in the morning.

Now fast forward to about a decade ago, my brother invited me out to the Adirondacks to go canoeing. It didn't start well; my first step in the canoe caused it to capsize! But after that, we were more careful (and I was always the first one in the canoe!), and I had a lot of fun canoeing.

Fast forward again to 2-3 years ago; up at St. Xenia Camp, they have canoes there, and when I'm not running the store (at that time, probably doing inventory), I would go canoe a bit.

Back in July my family and I happened to drive by a canoe rental place, and stopped to investigate. It seemed like it would be something nice for us to do as a family. A few days later, we went to Norumbega Park and rented a canoe there. We just went downstream for a ways, ate a picnic lunch, then went back.

It was so nice that we started watching Craigslist for canoes. We almost bought a nice one for about $600 until saner minds prevailed, and we got a cheap Gazelle Kennebunker with paddles for $200. The guy who sold it said it was 60 lbs, but frankly if it weighs 60 lbs, then I weigh 180 (trust me, I don't). The canoe is, as we put it, a "starter canoe". We're hoping to get a better (lighter) canoe next year. When we do, my wife wants to use this canoe as a planter.

We had to spend some money outfitting. We got some life jackets (oops, sorry. Gotta learn the new terminology: "PFD"s), some cushions (both PFD cushions and thin seat cushion types), and a dry bag.

We've been canoeing mostly in Norumbega Park and Dedham on the Charles River.

Later (some time in the next couple years :)) I'll post some details of specific trips.


Update: there are some posts back-dated to August so my canoeing posts can be properly date-stamped.

Posted by mlv at 08:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thanks, Hanna

Sunday, Sep 7, was a wonderful canoeing day, thanks to Hurricane Hanna. She had dumped lots of water on our area on Saturday, and by the time Sunday came around, all that was left was blue skies, and deep water.

We put in at a new place we found, right across the street from the Dedham Mall and Sears. There's a little dam there controlling a creek, and a parking lot by the building that controls the dam. Just off the parking lot is a short path to a sandy beach and the Charles river.

Put in there, and started upstream. The weather was absolutely perfect. The Charles is rather windy and narrow here, so there's plenty of water, but it can be a bit fast. We managed upstream just fine, though, eventually getting as far as the Dedham Parks and Recreation department. We got out there, had lunch, and had a nice drift back down to the car.

Michael, 9/22/08

Posted by mlv at 02:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack