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UPPER NEMASKET RIVER

September 16, 2015

Now I know this time of the year, after a long dry summer and very little rain over the past few weeks that the upper Nemasket River was going to be shallow and full of overgrowth. But I really wanted to take on the upper section at some point this year, and Desmond and I were willing to give it a shot.

 

At some point during the trip, I somehow deleted nearly all of the days video off my GoPro. Fortunately I was able to recover much of it using some software, and used what I could get back to make my video. Sadly, I lost about 50% of my video and was not able to get it back. There were enough clips for me to put something together though, so it wasn't a complete loss.

 

 

 

We parked at the DPW parking on the south east side of the Wareham St bridge. I have never had trouble parking here, and it is a short walk down hill to the fish ladder, and a little rocky put in that works well as a starting spot. We were heading upstream from here. Downstream from this put in is not an option, due to the double dam waterfalls located directly under the bridge. We slid into the shallow water, and made our way down a very narrow clearing through the brush to the river channel.

 

 

I've said several times in the blog how clear the Nemasket is. When you are this far up river nearest to the source, the huge Assawompset Pond, the water is at its clearest. It is really amazing, and hard to resist the idea of just jumping in for a swim. If it wasn't for all the snapping turtles we kept seeing, I would have considered it. It was cool, and absolutely clear, and at parts, incredibly shallow. You can see this in the video. Some parts were so shallow that you have to get out and pull the kayak over the rivers bottom to get to deeper water.

 

 

 

It was pretty darn hot during the whole trip. Much of the upper portion of the river are flood plains with very little tree cover. We had to rely on several of the bridges we went under to take breaks to cool down. The tunnel under 495 is probably the best for this. Long and wide, very little sun gets under there, and the water is moving slow enough to allow you to sit there and relax.

 

 

 

After stopping to stretch our legs at the Old Bridge St put in, we headed up the last leg to the Vaughan St Bridge. From here its about 35 minutes to the very beginning of the river, the dam between Nemasket and Assawompset. But once we got to Vaughan St, Desmond wasn't keen on making the last leg, and was eager to head back through the "waterfalls" we had to go over on the way up river. Just before Vaughan St, there is a small off shoot of the river that acts as a great sort cut, but this time of the year its very shallow. So shallow it created a small waterfall over the rocks on the river bottom. This was also happening under the railroad bridge you pass. That was actually a little more fun to go over. Des really enjoyed it. I couldn't blame him for wanting to go back through there.

 

 

 

We also took a few minutes in this section to explore the first short leg of Fall Brook, which empties into the Nemasket here. I had never noticed it until studying the map of the area before this trip. Even with low water levels, it was still pretty deep as I went up the brook. I turned after a short time, but I will definitely make a trip when water levels are higher so that I can really paddle up the brook to see how far I can get. Maybe I will try in the fall. I guess we will see.

 

Other than the shallow sections, the water flowed slow and steady. It was like sitting on a tube at a waterpark as we floated down river leaning back in the kayak. Loads of fish were swimming around us, turtles were just about everywhere you look, swans were hanging out as we passed by, and it doesn't get much better than that. We really enjoyed the trip, and hopefully someday you will be able to head out and check it out yourself!

 

CLICK HERE FOR THE TRIP MAP

 

 

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