Sixteen paddlers showed up today for a trip up the Connecticut River to explore the Mattabasset, enjoy the fall colors, commune with the wildlife, and pick up garbage. John Hall and Kate Miller of the Jonah Center for Earth and Art led the way. All in all it was a great day on the river. We started at Harbor Park at 10 a.m., and made it back around 1:30 p.m. Sightings included a few great blue herons, some belted kingfishers, one or two egrets, and a peregrine falcon (perched on a girder under the Arrigoni Bridge). The group first stopped at Wilcox Island for a brief discussion of the local ecosystem, the nature of the Connecticut River watershed, and the impact of pollutants and invasive species. Then we headed up to the Mattabasset and enjoyed the scenery, occasionally snagging whatever garbage came our way. After stopping briefly at an area of wild rice near the landfill, we arrived at an old beaver 'dam', where we ate our lunches and collected garbage in earnest.
Photo credit: John Hall
It was a perfect day for a jaunt on the river. We also came across some fishermen, who looked like they couldn't be happier.
In case you're looking for an excuse to spend time by the river tomorrow (12 October), you might consider watching the Head of the Connecticut Regatta, currently in its 34th year.