Monday July 6th, Isaac and I took our kayaks down to the Nashua River in Pepperell MA. Our local lake was overrun with power boats, so I was a little anxious about how busy the put in on Rt 119 might be. It turned out better than I anticipated. We only saw two cars at the small hand launch. A few other kayak groups launched from the motor boat ramp across the way.
This was our first trip for the season and I didn’t have Tyson to help, so we had a few things to iron out. I forgot a sponge to bail the boats. I grabbed Tyson’s paddle instead of mine. Luckily I also brought my spare paddle. Isaac thought he was in the clear until I pointed out that he had to do a wet exit. It took him a long while to work up to doing the wet exit. When he finally gathered his courage, it went fine. He was pretty proud of how well he exited. Then we paddled off down the river towards the oxbows.
Isaac spotted turtles. I didn’t have my prescription glasses on, so I didn’t spot them. We saw a heron and a brown water bird that I couldn’t identify. We explored one oxbow that was filled with water lilies and duckweed. Isaac thought the lily pads were giant.
I haven’t paddled that section of the river in a while. My last report is from 2015. We paddled that stretch of river regularly in 2009 training for the Blackburn Challenge race. Mostly it is the same as ever. There are several giant trees washed up against the Rt 119 bridge almost blocking it. I don’t remember those from before. We were very cautious paddling past them.
We over-estimated the warm weather and dressed too lightly. Isaac shivered for a while after doing his wet exit, and again later after he tipped over playfully reaching for my boat. I quit roll practice after only one roll because I felt cold. Full wetsuit next time, or at least a neoprene shirt.
I towed Isaac part of the way back, but overall his paddling has gotten stronger than last year. He showed me that he can paddle fast enough to get his boat up to hull speed. We both practiced paddling backwards. Isaac figures that after practicing a few more wet exits, he will be ready for a loose spray skirt. Time to go surfing in the ocean!