Monday, September 7, 2009

Canal Loop - Ashton to Lonsdale - September 5th

Its Labor Day weekend and I didn't have much time for paddling, but I did get out Sunday for an easy run on the Blackstone.

I decided to do the canal/river loop from Ashton to the Pratt Dam. I had read in the newspaper that the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone had recently installed new signs and buoys at the Pratt Dam, so I wanted to check it out.

I arrived at the put-in near the Kelly House around 3:00. The water was low, but nice for an easy paddle. Its 3 miles down the river, and then three miles back up the canal. In higher water there are a few easy rapids. Today, there were just ripples.

There were hundreds of people on Blackstone River Bikeway, but I was alone on the river. Birds were everywhere – ducks, geese, and blue heron – and the late summer flowers were in bloom.

I approached the Pratt Dam and took out on river right as instructed by the new sign. Hopefully, the new buoys will keep people away from this dangerous dam. It’s a short portage along the bike path to the put-in on the Blackstone Canal.

The current in the canal is light making for an easy paddle back upstream. Turtles were sunning themselves on rocks and the banks were covered with flowers – goldenrod, purple loosestrife, daisies, and lots of wildflowers that I couldn’t identify. I passed the time trying to get some good close-up shots.

I got back to the take-out around 6:00 and headed home – not bad for a local paddle.

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