Category Archives: rivers

Susquehanna Dusk

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Another of the nightly summer spectacles on the mighty Susquehanna River, Speeceville, PA.

It’s been a busy summer, and I’m just catching up. More to come.

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Also posted in Pennsylvania, reflections, Susquehanna River, Watersheds

New Haven Ledges Race

New Haven River Race, VTNew Haven River Race, VTIt was warm and sunny for the annual whitewater race on the New Haven River in Bristol, VT, yesterday. Because it was such a low-snow winter, the river was lower and rockier than usual but the turnout was higher for the event, which is run by the Vermont Paddlers Club. Click here for a gallery/slideshow.New Haven River Race, VTNew Haven River Race, VT

Also posted in kayaking, Vermont, whitewater

The North Branch Most People Don’t See

DSC_2209copyWSH Vermont Route 12 from Montpelier to Morrisville is a beautiful road, especially in its upper reaches, where it cuts through a near-wilderness of forested hills and along the North Branch of the Winooski River. It’s a road used daily by commuters, tourists, and local trucks. It’s also a major cycling route and you’ll almost always see somebody pedaling up its easy (for Vermont) grades or coasting down them. The road cuts through wetlands and it’s not unusual to see moose and, less commonly, bear.  But most people — except for kayakers who paddle the North Branch when the water’s high enough for them to run the falls and pools — don’t realize that the real beauty is just off the road, where the North Branch cascades through the woods. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Vermont. Access is easy when you know where to go, and some of the people who do know what’s there leave behind beer cans, tires, an occasional sofa, and campsites. The Vermont River Conservancy has been working to preserve the area and to eventually make it better known and appreciated. I’ve been photographing parts of it for the VRC. DSC_2613copyWSHDSC_2609copyWSHDSCF6288copy2WSHDSCF6330copyWSH

Also posted in Vermont, Watersheds

Keystone State

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Always lots to see in Pennsylvania.

Top, Susquehanna River, Dauphin, sunset.

Below, deal, Perry County.

Also posted in canoeing, Pennsylvania, Susquehanna River

Northern River, Maine’s St. John

The St. John River is just about as far north as you can go in Maine, paralleling the Quebec border where the river begins in the ponds, streams and bogs of the North Woods. It runs 418 miles from the middle of nowhere, north and then east and south to the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. The St. John is surrounded by land owned by paper and lumber companies. You pay their fees ($24 per day per person) to run it and you spend hours rattling over their dirt roads (made for logging trucks) to get there. But the Maine branch of The Nature Conservancy has bought 40 miles of shoreline, there are no dams on the northern reaches, and the river feels wild and remote like few, if any, others in the Lower 48. For mile after mile, tinged like tea from the tannic acid of the woods runoff, the river turns past shores lined with spruce, fir, pine, and poplars and birches in their lightest spring greens. It is narrow and shallow at the top but grows wider and deeper with every branch and brook that enters. It’s northern river and shore country, but for the East, it’s also big sky country: big expanses of weather stretching out over the trees and water. It has to be run during spring runoff because, barring storms, it’s too low in the summer.

Paddling down the river last week we saw moose every day, including a calf so small it must have been only a few days old, and a big moose splashing across the river in front of us, high-stepping from shore to shore. Unfortunately, it also rained every day, culminating in an all-night rain, followed by an all-day rain, headwinds, rising water and plunging temperatures. When we pulled off, a day early, record river heights for the date, snow and temperatures in the 30s followed. We were happy to head for the Northern Door Motel in Fort Kent (La Porte du Nord, as the sign says) and burgers at the Swamp Buck. I should have more pictures of the rain and foul weather and the big white- and brown-topped waves in the Big Black Rapid, but — except for the one of Lisa and Andrew and their border collies Rigby and Nitro, below — I kept the camera in its waterproof box when the weather turned bad and stayed bad. Need to get a waterproof housing. And I need to go to Maine more often.

A classic article on the river is John McPhee’s 1976 New Yorker story, “The Keel of Lake Dickey”, which describes a trip down the river and concerns that the proposed Dickey-Lincoln dam would flood much of it. The dam was never built.

 

Also posted in canoeing, Maine, Spring, St. John River, water, Weather

Green Again

Spring always creeps slowly into the winter-brown Vermont hills and then explodes. This, the other foliage season, a riot of green, seems to arrive in the space of three days. And in the space of two weeks we go from skiing (bottom photo, Mt. Mansfield on April 22nd), to plowing (top, East Montpelier), to bicycling, paddling and mowing the lawn. Summer’s so short it’s a good thing that when spring finally gets here it pounces.

 

Also posted in farming, kayaking, mountain biking, mountains, roads, Skiing, Snow, Spring, Vermont, water

Wildwater on the Deerfield

On a beautiful late summer afternoon, the United States of America Canoe and Kayak 2012 Wildwater Team Trials began today on the Deerfield River in northern Massachusetts. Fastest kayaks down the 2-mile course in men’s and women’s classes win. Two sprint races will be held over the next two days to determine team members for the 2013 world championships in Solkan, Slovenia. These photos were taken in the Zoar Gap section of the river, the toughest part of the course. It’s mainly a Massachusetts river, but, hey, a lot of the water comes from hydropower impoundments in Vermont.

Also posted in canoeing, kayaking, water