Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nashua River - Groton to Pepperell - October 19, 2014

Exploring a side channel
I got out on a crisp fall day today to paddle the South Branch of the Nashua River.
The South Branch of the Nashua River arises at the Wachusett Reservoir in Clinton, MA and flows generally northward for 56 miles through north-central MA and southern NH before emptying into the Merrimack River in Nashua NH.  While I had never paddled the South Branch, I had previously paddled the North Branch of the Nashua River from Leominster to the Lancaster. The North Branch rises west of Fitchburg and flows generally southward for 30 miles until it joins the South Branch near Lancaster.
We put in at the Petapawag Canoe Launch off Nod Road in Groton, and took out at the Nashua River Canoe Launch on Canal Street in Pepperell.  The river twists and turns among many islands and side channels that turn this inundated marshland into a giant 5 mile long maze.
Paddling with Bill on one of the side channels
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Blackstone Gorge – October 12, 2014

If you want to get a sense of what the Blackstone River might have looked like before it was dammed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries during the Industrial Revolution, then the Blackstone Gorge is the place to go.  Its steep banks are lined with Hemlock and Mountain Laurel, and its rocky course tumbles over a series of three ledges and a small waterfall at the end.  It’s a great places for some fall foliage pictures.

The final drop in the Blackstone Gorge

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Lookout Rock – October 11, 2014

Checking out the view from Lookout Rock
Lesson number 1 – if you are going on a pre-dawn hike, make sure you know where the trail is!

I decided to try to catch the sunrise from Lookout Rock in the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage Park in Uxbridge. It was still dark when I arrived at the parking lot on Hartford Avenue.  I got my flashlight out and headed off on the King Phillip Trail, only to lose my way after a couple of hundred yards.  After a couple of aborted attempts, I decided to hike in from the parking lot on West Hill Road instead.

Unfortunately, there was no sunrise due to the clouds, but the view of the river snaking through the valley below was still spectacular.

Looking north toward Rice City Pond and River Bend Farm
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