Today is actually the day before my birthday and also the day of the long awaited work crew kayaking trip. What a great way to celebrate. There was 10 of us on this trip, including Desmond and I. We were like a pack of howling wolves slowly making our way down stream. The animals must have been a little thrown off as they scurried for their lives from this screaming group coming towards them. Considering how unusually quiet it is in this area on a normal Thursday morning, everything within a quarter mile radius knew we were on our way. Here we come Nemasket River, ready or not…
After the short stretch on the Taunton River, everyone more or less had their bearings and were semi-confident in their kayaking. As we turned onto the Nemasket River, the path narrows down quite a bit making it a small path for such a large group of boats. The water was pretty clear as it normally is on this end of the river and we made our way against the light current to begin our trip up the snaking delta. Water levels were low already and we aren’t even mid-summer yet. The lack of rain was showing here by the tangle of river plants that we had to paddle through at every corner. This made the going slow on parts of the river, but also made for great turtle grabbing. Turtles bask in the sun right on top of all the tangled river plants and if your quick enough you can just grab them before they have a chance to scurry away.
Everyone managed to make their way under and around all the downed trees with very little issue. There may have been a few traffic jams here and there, but none of them were really the cause of anyone going for a swim. That hilarious story comes later.. The trees stood no chance with this serious group of newbies. For the bulk of the trip though, it wasn’t the trees that were the problem. The river plants were the real problem. Every sun exposed section of the river was just a mess. We were lucky if we could find a relatively clear path through the thick of it. Now for all of us, the major part of this trips physical exertion would be done in direct hot sunlight, with the occasional shady reprieve.
Once we were 2 hours into the trip, we all decided to turn back. Lucky for us, we paddled with the current for our trip back, which made it so much quicker to backtrack our path. For a big group of folks who really never get out kayaking like Des and I do, everyone was in a great mood and having a fun time even with the heat and workout. Turtle catching continued and a couple of trip goers went home with their own tiny turtles. Man they were pretty damn cute. Then while trying to catch a turtle, Ray leaned a little too far and flipped his kayak in about 2 feet of water. It was too funny and Ray took it like a champ jumping right back in his kayak to head back downstream. The laugh was sort of re-energizing for the group and we quickly made our way down stream.
Before I knew it, we were back at the mouth of the Nemasket. We took a pit stop here real quick before the last leg of the trip. Mosquitoes were brutal here when we stopped. While I was waiting for Desmond to get back to my boat, I was surrounded by a cloud of them. We quickly got back in the river and joined the group for the short trip upstream on the Taunton River heading back to the cars at Summer St bridge. It was a calm paddle back because at this point everyone was feeling the burn. It’s always the hardest part of the trip - the last 20 minutes. You know you are so close to the end but it still seems to take forever. Everyone did their best and we all made it back in a pretty short time. John had paddled ahead of everyone. While he was by himself at the ramp, he fell in while getting out of his kayak. That’s always a tricky move, I should know. It was a shame that none of us got to see the fall.
We all crowded into the dirt ramp as we pulled our kayaks in. There were boats and people everywhere. We all did our part and carried all the kayaks back over to Jims yard across the street. He supplied us with all of the rentals for this trip and as always he’s a great guy to do business with. He even brought us all ice cold water bottles before we pulled out in our cars. I know I had high expectations for how fun this trip was going to be but it was really way better than I expected. Everyone was tired but all were happy with the fun time we had. Even Desmond let me know how great of a crew they all were. I’d have to agree. This was an over-the-top early birthday gift for me. Thanks everyone!