Wednesday's are thankfully still kayak days, and Desmond and I went into the morning having no idea where to go. Just about every trip this season I try to get Desmond to choose the location. I do have to sometimes convince him not to go to the same spot we went to just 2 weeks ago, but other than that I have been trying to let him make the decision. It's always interesting to see what he will come up with. I let him loose on my YouTube channel and see which spot he's into this week. Today, it was "Waterfall Park", aka Oliver Mill Park on the Nemasket River right off Rt 44, in Middleboro MA.
The water level was great, after the rain we had just a few days earlier. It was still low for the time of year, but not as low as I have seen it. We brought the yak over to the beach area which we normally use to put in on the lower end of the falls. Aside from the walk from the parking lot, which is no big deal for me with the kayak cart, this spot is a breeze for getting the kayak in on the Nemasket. It's a nice little sandy beach area, right by the picnic tables, with a nice soft slope making for an easy out and in. The current was strong here for the water levels. When I first pushed off, I thought it was due to the falls pushing the water a little quicker. Once we rounded the corner and made our way through the tunnel under Rt 44, I could tell the rain from the other day was really giving the river a push. The current stayed strong though the whole trip, making for a great ride out, but a slightly more intense paddle back upstream. Even with that struggle, it was still well worth the trip.
I used my new gimbal for the first time today, after breaking the old one a few trips ago in the Shingle Island River. It tested out wonderfully, and was a great upgrade from the older version. Unfortunately my wireless remote for it came in while we were on the river so I was unable to test that out today. But having an actual controllable gimbal will make changing camera angles much easier on the trip. I can't wait for that! It was great on the trip, regardless. Desmond was actually controlling the camera angle for most of the trip today. The gimbal has a little joystick on its back which was in Desmond's reach. He took charge of most of the changes today. He loved it.
The winter brought quite a few newly downed trees on the river this year, that were not there last fall when we made our last trip here. There were a few spots that will cause a major challenge during the summer when the water levels drop further. There was one tree which was already a big struggle that completely crossed the river in one section, and as the river goes down it will most likely be completely blocking the path. We were able to wiggle our way over it with a little work going down stream. We should have realized going back across this tree fighting the tide was not going to be an easy task on our way back. We continued downstream after the tree, moving pretty quick from the current pushing us the whole way. Soon we would be coming to the old Plymouth St bridge. At this point I wasn't really sure it was going to be a possibility we could get under the bridge, but we had more than enough room, and quite a bit of water to help us avoid all the rock that was under us as we went under the bridge. The current really pushes through here, and you need to be careful when water levels are high because it will end up creating a pretty serious vacuum current that will cause you lots of trouble as you get pulled into the bridge. Today, the levels were ironically, perfect. We squeezed right under with little issue.
After the bridge, we only traveled a short distance beyond it before turning around to head back up stream. Here the currents real effects would set in. It was quite a different ride heading back than the relative comfort we had on the way downstream. I love it though. The struggle is great, and exhilarating at times. It's not a serious challenge for me, but still enough of one to make you feel good once you beat the challenge. Getting back under the bridge took a little bit of pushing, but we made it under quite easy, then across a few other downed trees before getting back to the one I knew would be a struggle. I almost took out the gimbal again on our first attempt to get though, but I pulled back away, moved the camera, changed our approach angle and we were able to make it back over the tree after a few minutes of work. After all the arm work to get us over the tree, it made paddling a little more difficult for the rest of our trip. Luckily after that tree, there was only about 45 minute of upstream paddling left to get us back to the park.
Des and I were having a blast. Joking back and forth about the silly Canadian geese and their babies that were being so funny as we approached them on the kayak. We would crash into a submerged rock because we were too busy joking around to pay attention to where we were going in the river. It was funny when we it it, we were joking about snapping turtles and Desmond screamed a little when we hit the rock and told me later he thought it was a snapping turtle. It was a good laugh.
Before you knew it we were back at the tunnel going under Rt 44, and after a few pit stops, pulling over to stick our feet in the water, and break time for drinks and snacks, we had otherwise powered through the whole run with not much but a dirty boat and a sunburn to prove what we had done. I promised Des we would run around the park after we got back. The falls there, though small, are great, and it is a nice little spot to walk around and explore for a bit before heading home. I had 3 people come up to be at the park to talk about kayaking with me. Pretty rare around here for me. There's nothing greater than talking to other folks about yaking, especially about local areas. All around great day for both of us, and a great success for the cause of current fighting.