Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 1: Scituate to Hanover (Sam Jones and Lucien K)

When Nik asked Sam and I to join him on the first leg of his North River paddle journey I admit I was hesitant at first. I had not grown up on the river as my friends Nik and Sam had so I had no relationship with the river except to imagine the mosquitoes, leeches or other foul critters that could inhabit those murky waters. Furthermore, I had kayaked only once in my life and was afraid I would be a burden on the group (not to mention embarrassing myself). In the end I managed to hold my own on the water–floating breaks helped–and the critters we saw were egrets and ducks not leeches. In fact, I got more mosquitoes bites at the post paddle barbecue than during the whole paddle.

Looking back on the trip, I cannot imagine a better way to have spent that day. We took the thirteen miles at a relaxed pace which gave us time to take in our surroundings and explore the river instead of rushing through it. There is something special about being so close to the water, floating just above the surface, so you can feel the water beneath you. It is an intimate feeling that you can’t get from a bridge or on a motorboat, and most of the time we move to fast to notice what we are missing out on. Seeing Nik and Sam’s connection to this river that they have known all their lives rubbed off on me, and experiencing it for myself made clear why they love it so much. The four hours we spent on the river that day changed my relationship to the river and was an experience I will not soon forget and hope to soon repeat.

- Lucien Kahn

I have lived next to the North River my entire life, swimming and kayaking in it since I can remember. My family loves the river, the most enthusiastic member being my dog Jack, who escapes down to the river whenever he gets a chance. The major reason my parents moved to our home in Hanover was because of the North River. When I was young my dad was the NSRWA director, and is still involved as the North River Commission Representative for Hanover. Starting at age three I was attending river cleanups and clambakes.

The annual NSRWA Great River Race is a tradition with my family, and I’ve raced in it since I was in middle school. The growing enthusiasm surrounding the race and the increase in participation is really remarkable. When Nick asked if I wanted to be a part of the Wampanoag Canoe Passage I was thrilled, but a little nervous because I hadn’t paddled in the river since last summer. In comparison to the next few days of the journey, Day 1 was a relatively tame 13 mile stretch. Seven of us started at the mouth of the North River (the Spit in Scituate), taking one double kayak and two canoes, and ended a couple hundred yards before reaching the Washington Street Bridge in Hanover. The North River is truly beautiful. We saw a variety of birds and even a muskrat in the reeds. The Wampanoag Canoe Passage is fun, but also a great opportunity for fundraising. In its 40th year, the NSRWA is an incredible non-profit organization that has continued to grow in numbers, educating people in the towns surrounding the rivers, working to restore and preserve our incredible natural resources.

- Samantha Jones

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