Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rollin' on the River

Late Saturday morning the sky was clear, the tide was still coming in, and a group of eager paddlers, organized by the Shelton Trails Committee, set out to explore the Shelton section of the Housatonic River, starting at the ramp behind Sunnyside School, with the intention of paddling upstream to downtown Shelton and the old riverside factories below the Ousatonic Dam. The heat of the day was tempered by a challenging breeze.

Hearty seafarers Emma, Richard, Sheri, Terry, Ken and John
make preparations for getting under way.

Leader of the pack Terry attempts to catch up with the eager voyagers.

Once away from the launch area, the river provided a surprising
departure from the cityscape, into a serene, almost rural atmosphere.

A lone gull, perched on the remains of a long-abandoned dock,
observes the passing seafarers.

O'Sullivan's Island (shown on some maps as Hog Island) appears ahead, with the Naugatuck River and railroad bridge just to the right. The fleet, however, chose to stay on the left and stick with the Housatonic.

One of the problems facing waterways all over the country is the proliferation of this invasive plant, Purple Loosestrife.

Rich and Emma take in the sights along the way. We saw a lot of waterfowl; ducks, egrets, cormorants, and even a crane.

No, it's not a Sandhill crane! But it is interesting how most of the industrial and municipal yards along the river manage to keep out of sight for the most part.

A view of the Route 8, "Commodore Hull" bridge that only fish and boaters get to see.

Trees growing out of retaining wall built many years ago.

Several tunnels were built under the factories to provide water for power

The last lock of the old canal the carried boats from above the Ousatonic Dam to the river below.

The orange line is the GPS trace of the paddle route, starting at the bottom from the Sunnyside ramp, up to the canal locks, and return to Sunnyside. (Click on map to enlarge)

The threat of oppressive heat undoubtedly discouraged more folks from joining us, but those that did agreed that it was a fun and entertaining paddle. Check our blog and the local news for future activities, as well as planned work parties.

1 comment:

  1. Looks good. When you're down on the water you don't even realize you're near civilization until you get to downtown Shelton.