I just spent three days paddling down the Connecticut River on my SUP. This was my second such jaunt this summer. I have now paddled from McIndoe Falls in Monroe, NH, to Hatfield, MA. This weekend was the southernmost part of that, and it was incredible.
The river is such an interesting place, and I have way to many impressions to share here. Wildlife is so ubiquitous it becomes part of the scenery as much as the water and the sky. And on the one hand the remarkable absence of man, even though we are winding through one of the more populous parts of the country, and on the other the signs of man’s presence in the form of bridges ancient and modern. Most emotionally stirring are the remains of bridges long abandoned. Sometimes it is just stone or concrete towers, or in the case of the Schell Bridge, the entire rusting relic.
When I first saw it, I was amazed at its size and grandeur. As I got closer I noticed there had been no cars crossing since it came into view. Then I realized it was a complete rusty wreck from a different age. A strange sight.
Notice the still water in these pictures. This was early in the day, which is usually very calm, as are the last hours before sunset. The best times to paddle.
I had such a time on this trip. I’d like to give a shout out to the three boys in Vernon who helped me carry my gear around the Vernon Dam, and steered me towards a place to get food. Also to the fine gentleman from the power company who shuttled me and my board around the Dam at Turner Falls, and filled me in on some of the workings of the dam and electric plants. Such good souls the world contains.
Finally, let me record one more observation. As I approached the Yankee Nuclear Power Plant at Vernon, I first saw the huge electric wires leading away from it. Then I considered the things that were absent: smoke, smell, filth, coal trains, oil trains, pipelines. So little space used. And the satisfaction of so many people at its demise (it will be shutting down for good within a year or two – you can look it up).