Desmond and I couldn’t decide where today's trip would be. Even last night before bed I still wasn’t sure what to do. I woke up early this morning. Before Desmond and after a cup of coffee, I had more or less decided where we would go: the upper section of the Nemasket River. I had made this trip last summer with Desmond and accidentally deleted most of my video from the trip. We hadn’t been there since that time and even that day last year we weren’t able to make it all the way to the dam at Assawompset Pond due to the low water levels. For this trip, we started a little further up the river so I could be confident we would make it all the way to the dam. That was going to be our destination today, along with a little exploration on Fall Brook.
We used the put in by the old bridge on Old Bridge St in Middleboro. This road can be easy to miss if you’re looking to get to this spot. If you are able to find it, the location is great for a short trip to the mouth of the river. If water levels are right, you can get to the dam in a little over an hour and the trip back down stream is even quicker. The further you go up stream here on the Nemasket, the stronger the current is. After paddling for about a half hour you will reach the Vaughn St bridge. There is a tape measure on the left side of the bridge as you go upstream. If water levels there are above 2 feet, then you should be able to make it to the dam. Any lower than that and there will be spots where you will have to get out and pull through, especially when you get close to the dam. When we got to Vaughn St, we were up to 2 ½ feet.
I knew prior to getting there that levels would be fine. There is a very narrow shallow section of the river that is just before the bridge, which you can see in the video. This section is also too shallow when levels at the bridge are below 2 feet. Even though the current was a bit of a struggle, we made it through the section without scraping up on a single rock which was a clear sign to me that we would be able to make it to the dam today.
The closer you get to the dam, the clearer the water becomes. The last ½ mile is by far the clearest portion of the whole river. It looked like bath water. You can see fish swimming around and turtles sitting on the sandy bottom. It makes you want to jump out of the boat and swim around. If it weren’t for all the snapping turtles in this area, I would seriously consider it.
When you’re going up stream, you’ll want to pull up on the right side of the dam. The other side is private property and you will see the signs that let you know you are not welcome on their side. There is an area with stone on the right and that’s where I pulled up and we were able to get out easily. This little spot is great. Desmond was so interested in how the dam worked. You can see a decent size water level difference between the lake and the river. He was intrigued at how only some pieces of wood could hold back all that water. There is a little beach on the lake shore here. You get a great view of the huge lake. As we hung out there, some seriously dark clouds started to move in towards us and my weather app showed there was a lightning storm near us. As soon as I mentioned the approaching lightning, Desmond was ready to leave. He’s not a fan of lightning and being stuck in the kayak in the middle of a lightning storm is not a pleasant experience for anyone. It was really hard to judge if the clouds where heading in our direction because of how much the river snakes. We were rushing back when the clouds began to move away from our direction. Once this happened, we decided to stay on the river and go explore Fall Brook. I had been up this creek before, but I wanted to go up much further today. I couldn’t resist since the water levels won’t be high enough to get up the creek in a few weeks.
This creek is pretty narrow but it’s deep enough to easily navigate. We were surrounded by tall grasses which made us feel like we were in a long hall. We ran into a few families of ducks, some swans and heron. We paddled until the river was getting too narrow for us. Once we turned the kayak, the light current pushed us down stream. There were areas where the grass was so tall that it was blocking the wind. Mosquitoes swarmed in from everywhere. At one point, we looked like we were in a cloud of them. I would have to paddle fast downstream to lose them or try to find a spot where the wind would pick up and blow them away from the boat. It didn’t take too long for us to get out of the creek and back on the Nemasket. Where the two rivers connect, we were literally 5 minutes away from my truck and the end of the kayak trip. Before we paddled the last stretch, Desmond and I watched a swan that was hanging out near us. It was cleaning itself and that was unusually entertaining. After watching the swan for a bit, we headed down stream. Within minutes, we were already under Bridge St and quickly approaching the arch bridge at Old Bridge St. Pulling in is easy and you can bring the truck right up to the boat for easy loading.
Des and I had a pretty good time today. It was nice getting up to the dam and I can’t remember the last time I was up that far. The little man really enjoyed it and that always makes my trip awesome. This is a pretty good trip for those looking to check out the upper section of the river. It’s really unlike the rest of the Nemasket and it’s neat to see what is fueling the flow of that long river.