Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Paddling the Beaver River

We managed a nice paddle down the upstream stretch of the Beaver River last week, the stretch that's often plagued with log jams, and we managed it without once getting out of the canoe.  Nearly a 3 hour paddle, a lot of it in the hot sun, I was exhausted when we finished, but we saw lots of wildlife, including several Great Blue Herons and several Great Egrets as well.

Driving to drop a car at the finish point the water in the river looked very low, as low as I've ever seen it.  But the river looked beautiful when we started at Access Point 1, and we were hopeful of lots of shade.  There is a designated canoe route here, with four different public access points.

We started to run into the log jams immediately.  Most of them were like this, extending out from one shore where logs get piled up, but here leaving a gap on the left side.  We slid by easily.

But sometimes the river looked like this, apparently blocked all the way across.  Never-the-less, as we got close we were able to find a way through.  There's actually a 6 foot gap on the right side here, though some of the gaps were only canoe width.

At other times the entire river appeared to be blocked by assorted logs.  But somehow we wiggled through, twice shipping our paddles and pulling ourselves through by the branches, but we avoided any muddy portages!

We saw a lot of wildlife compared to other paddles I remember, though the only evidence I captured was these raccoon tracks in the mud at the edge of the river.  We did see a real live Raccoon though, and we also saw a Muskrat or Beaver disappear into the grass by the bank.

By the time we'd gone halfway, there were no more log jams, and we just paddled along.  The river opened out, and the shade disappeared.  We got hotter and hotter.

There was lots of evidence of higher water levels.  This part of the river flows through a huge soft maple swamp, and the entire area floods in the spring - you could paddle among the trees!  The bark knocked off this tree is evidence of ice damage, at least 8 feet above current water levels.

We passed what I think of as the Cormorant tree, since I've seen the birds here on previous paddles.  We never did get a picture of a Great Blue Heron; they flew as soon as they spotted us, which was inevitably before I spotted them.  A greyish-blue sitting on a log, they were hard to spot.

Then we started seeing the Egrets, I think 7 or 8 all together.  They were much easier to spot in the distance, bright white against the trees, though they usually flew before I got closer than this..

Luckily I spotted this one early, put my paddle down and got my camera out and ready.  I have my fellow paddler trained to just keep us moving when I'm taking pictures.  And surprisingly, this one just sat there - can you see it?

This is as close as I was expecting to get.

But with this bird I was lucky, and got one really good picture!

Shortly thereafter we came to the new Epping bridge at Access Point 2, and heaved a big sigh of relief.  Out of the sun and off to the village for a late morning coffee!

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  1. Nice trip! Glad I got to come along.

  2. I can imagine being there. Beautiful water shots and with the front/bow of your canoe/kayak, to include that makes the photo special. Thanks for birthday wishes, I am on Facebook, with my proper name
    Jean McKinstry will find me there.If you are there I am very happy to have you as a friend.

  3. Thanks for taking us along!
    Hope you are having a great week!

  4. Serenity through an obstacle course. I breathed easier when you got to the second half of the trip. Beautiful!

  5. Nice paddle! I enjoyed myself and didn't even mind the sunlight. It's easier when you only have pictures to look at! :-)

  6. That was fun and, for me, not too much effort involved, but even so I feel like a drink as well.

  7. Excellent photos. Great place for a paddle. : )

  8. How lucky that one egret was nice enough to pose for you! Looks like a wonderful way to see the river and spot wildlife.

  9. Quite a tangle at times to row through. Wonderful shot of that egret!

  10. That's a wonderful looking location.

  11. All of that wiggling around the downed tree branches was well worth the effort. All of them in that tree. That is so neat. And your next to last photo is a memorable one. A majestic bird for sure. genie

  12. Looks like a great paddle and the wildlife surely added to it.

  13. I like that paddling idea. It's something I have never done. For sure a great advantage to see wildlife and nature close up. Good stuff and nice Egret shot.

  14. a really beautiful group of images BUT i must be honest and say...when that first image loaded, wow...i did gasp!!! i went kayaking but i was afraid to bring my camera. it was nice not to have the pressure of taking picture, to just relax and enjoy it!! and enjoy it i did!!!!