Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 3: Osceola Island to Summer Street Bridge (Greg Keches)

So day three started off by waking up with the sun and cleaning up camp on Osceola Island. Some dirty rotten scoundrels had littered the campsite on the island so we grabbed a trash bag and cleaned up a bit. After clearing camp, we hopped into our canoes and paddled across Robbins Pond to the beginning of the Satucket River. Before departing though, Paula Tyack delivered to us some provisions and water, and Justine. Into the foray we charged with great passion and furious will power. Unfortunately for us, we encountered exactly what Nik had described, the dreaded swamp weed and a shallow river to start. We stepped out of our boats into about a foot and a half of mud.

After about 20 minutes the river deepened and we hopped back in our canoes. The flood plain disappeared and we were transported into a mystical river. Slowly, the river became more secluded and the dark forest engulfed us most dramatically.

Many downed logs found their way between our flotilla and the intended destination.After what seemed like 40,000 portages, we eventually made it to Carver Cotton Gin Mill.

We explored the factory grounds and decided to munch on of some delicious snacks provided by the one and only Paula Tyack. Once refilled with nutrition and heart, we sent the canoes down through a spillway in the Cotton Gin dam and began to head further downstream.

Once again we were greeted with downed trees around every oxbow. Fortunately for the flotilla, we attacked them with the poise and grace of a Gazelle… oh wait… I fell in about every time… at least everyone else did all right. The Satucket did provide more than just downed trees though. We saw some beautiful Flag Irises, Painted Turtles, Great Blue Herons, Mallards, Geese, Fish, and some amazingly large spiders which became regular stow-aways on our canoes due to some pretty bad steering on my part.

After a grueling afternoon, we eventually emerged from the forest and the river widened. We joined with the Matfield and eventually made it to the Taunton. As the river widened though we ran into a slight problem… our one phone decided to stop working on us, and we needed to be picked up soon. Nik jumped out of the river and ran into a random Garden Center/ Nursery where he asked a lady to use her cell phone. Back in the river again, we encountered a beaver and some Class 2 rapids. Awesome. Taunton widened further and after many oxbows and nightfall, we finally arrived at Summer Street Bridge.

So this being my first canoe trip and all, I honestly can say that being on a river is nothing like I have ever experienced. I expected some Huckleberry Finn escapades, but I got a whole lot more. The river gives you a front row seat to just about every creature the Northeast has to offer. All I can say is that the Wampanoags might not be too happy with the way their territory turned out. Suburbia has infiltrated the beauty of the river at points and this was all too clear by the occasional trash found on our passage. I was happy to be able to raise awareness of the Passage and also to raise money for the NSRWA, who are working to preserve the integrity of this beautiful watershed. The journey was majestic; we should keep it that way.

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