Monday, November 9, 2009

Indian Summer – Ashton to Albion - November 8th

You couldn’t ask for a nicer day – sunny and warm - so I decided to take my canoe down to the Blackstone River in Ashton for a quick paddle. I usually paddle the canal/river loop from Ashton down to Lonsdale, but this time I decided to go upstream from Ashton to Albion.

I don’t paddle this section of the Blackstone very often – probably because its such a short trip. Its no more than a mile-and-a-half from the Ashton Dam up to the Albion Dam. The most prominent features on this section of the river are the two huge bridges that carry traffic from Route 295 over the river. On the Cumberland side, the pike bath takes landlubbers on a pleasant trip along the river. On the Lincoln side, the banks are steep with huge rock outcroppings that plunge down into the river.

I had forgotten how different the river looks once the leaves have dropped. With the leaves on the trees, the river feels isolated - like paddling through a green canyon. Once the leaves drop, signs of civilization are everywhere – houses, businesses and traffic. I am always amazed that the banks of the Blackstone escaped the development that occurred elsewhere in the valley.

I only took me 20 minutes to paddle upstream to the Albion Dam. The water was low, but I was able to surf some small rapids below the dam, and chat with a fisherman who was also taking advantage of the beautiful day. The trip back was even quicker, so I played in the waves below the Ashton Dam for a while. A small group gathered on the bridge below the dam to see if I would take a swim. Fortunately for me, the crowd was disappointed.


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