Friday, July 07, 2006
Paddling Jones to Osgood and Beyond!!!
We went on a paddle today with my parents and some friends of theirs who are visiting from CT. It was a beautiful day, and we only saw one other paddler on the trip, and he was going the other way.
The trip starts at Jones Pond, follows a narrow outlet over to Osgood Pond, goes through a narrow (and wild/wooded) canal to Church Pond via a no-name pond. In the process we got to paddle through some magnificent wilderness, see lots of wildlife (including great blue herons, a beaver, frogs, turtles, wild irises, and carnivorous plants). On other trips along this route we've seen bald eagles, ospreys, bear, kingfishers, and wooly mammoths (I lied about one of those animals, but I'm not telling which).
The trip involves a lot of partially completed/destroyed beaver dams (it depends on your point of view I guess), and it can be tricky negotiating the tight turns while maintaining the necessary speed to ram/jump/push through the dams along the way...although it's certainly fun. Some years, we have had to get out and carry our boats over numerous dams, or through muddy sections rendered too shallow by beaver activity...this year, we had relatively smooth sailing the whole time.
The scenery and feeling of paddling along this isolated waterway, surrounded and a part of the ecosystem (biting insects added about a pint of my blood to the food cycle on today's trip), are incredible...the sun seems to shine brighter, the paddle to cut into the water more smoothly, the air smells cleaner (the swamp gas sharper...) while you are occupied in the constant paddling and turning required to make your way through the outlet on your way to Osgood Pond.
The sundew is a carnivorous plant that lives along the water on this trip. The liquid substance on the tips of the plant allows it to attract and catch and digest its prey. The insect prey is enfolded within the "arms", which close around it over the course of an hour or so. This interesting adaptation allows the sundew to live in places where other plants cannot make a living due to a scarcity of nutrients for roots and leaves to secure.
We stopped on Osgood Pond for a breather before facing the perpetual headwind that always awaits us on this body of water (today wasn't as bad as some days...we've faced 1-2 foot waves before!).
We stopped for lunch on the no-name pond connected to Osgood Pond by a canal dug decades ago by caretakers to allow the wealthy camp owners on Osgood Pond to attend church on Church Pond (I'm not positive this is a completely factual accounting of the canal's history, but I like it anyway). As always, my mom outdid herself, and we enjoyed a great selection of sandwiches and such.
The final canal leads us into Church Pond and eventually to the boat launch near where we ferried one of our cars at the beginning of the trip. We load up our stuff, and head home, with various plans for the afternoon...what a great morning!