I took a few vacation days to make this a long weekend (Thursday, Friday and Monday off). Amy is off in Arkansas visiting her Mom, and I've had the house to myself. I've been working on a project and enjoying the time off. On Thursday I loaded up the kayak and headed to the Concord River. I had an ulterior motive which was to get pictures of the bridge in the Minuteman National Historic Park. This is the bridge in the Ralph Waldo Emerson poem Concord Hymn - "By the rude bridge that arched the flood". (Incidentally when I looked up the full text of the poem it references that it was "sung at the completion of the battle monument". I didn't realize that it had been sung. I'd love to find the music.)
The pictures of the bridge are for a post on my woodworking blog and LumberJocks. A couple of months ago LJ launched a virtual challenge. The challenge was to acquire 3D modeling software called SketchUp (free from Google) and use it to create a dining room table based on an inspiration - bridge, building, mountain, etc. It took me a while to decide on an inspiration and even longer to get a handle on the software. I missed the challenge deadline, but finished the design anyway. The last step was to acquire pictures of the bridge. I could have used someone else's picture but since the bridge is nearby I wanted to use my own. I haven't posted the design yet, I'll post a quick note here when I do.
Anyway back to the river. I got a later start than I wanted and then couldn't find the road I was looking for. Downtown Concord is very confusing. With the help of my trusty map I did finally make it to the launch site. This is just down river from the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury Rivers which join to become the Concord.
This is a really nice launch site. There's a gravel road down to the water's edge, and this year there is even room to turn the car around without going into the water. The last time I used this site was in the spring two years ago. We'd had a really wet spring, as opposed to the fairly dry summer and fall we've had this year. That time the water was well beyond where my kayak is in this picture (click for larger view). The large rock, partially hidden by the tree, was underwater then.
While I was getting the boat off the car and loading it up with my gear I heard a many, many geese honking. This continued for several minutes. As I was setting off at least a hundred (yes, hundred) geese flew overhead. I'm not sure what caused the mass evacuation but there were numerous geese sightings along the river. Seeing geese on the rivers around here is not unusual. What was unusual was the number of flying geese I saw and heard. Geese honking was definitely the sound track for this paddle.
There wasn't much in the way of fall color along the river. Some of this may be because the colors weren't popping. It was a hazy day - there was fairly thick fog in the morning, which had only just begun to burn off when I hit the water just after 11. What color there was was primarily yellow the red leaves in this picture were about the only ones I saw.
Other than the geese and a few ducks I didn't see much wildlife. These turtles were hanging out soaking up the sun. You'll need to click on the picture to see them.
I did see quite a few tourists, though. The picture at the left is the bridge that was the impetus for this journey. If you look carefully at the larger version you will notice a group of people at the right edge. This is a tour group which was passing over the bridge as I went under. The guide was loud enough for me to learn that this bridge is wider and higher (more arch) than the original.
I continued down river another mile or so before heading back to the car. All in all it was a very pleasant paddle. Oh, and the drive home did not require unplanned detours.