Gentle Water After Spring
"By the Ancient Hemlocks, grim and gray, Our Boat drifts slowly on its way" reads the stone carved on the banks of the Asabet River. Incredibly shallow, we took our sea kayaks to navigate this quiet, sleepy river. Quite a contrast to the trip report we read on the web about another paddler's journey after torrential rains.
While driving through Concord looking for a place to drop our boats, we tried each spoke off of the 'rotary' in front of the Inn and Saint Bernard's Church. Our final choice was Lowell Road where we hit gold when we saw a bridge over the water, and the side of the road was crowded with vehicles bearing canoe and kayak racks and pads on their roofs. A few time back and forth and we discovered the dirt path shooting off Lowell road at the beginning of the bridge. The place to unload!
Further putting the little Pontiac Vibe to the test, we slowly crawled down the cruddy path to a muddy landing where canoes were going in and out. A few minutes later, kayaks in the mud, and the car was returned to the pavement along the road with the rest of the weekend warriors.
Honestly, we were the only 17' sea kayaks in site, but no one raised a brow as we pushed off and wondered what lay ahead. The first choice, of course, is upstream, but we were immediately confronted with a fork in in the waterway. To the left, a fleet of canoes and kayaks headed towards us, reviving images of the Head of the Charles. To the right, no one. Robert Frost would have been proud of our selection.
The route we took up the Asabet was complete solitude if you don't count sunning turtles and a blue heron. On this day, the river was not navigable for a normal canoe or kayak that reached more than a few inches into the water. The sandy bottom came to greet us several times, and rocks and logs at each turn kept us focused on route selection. We paddled about an hour to a little waterfall of about 6 inches which Bill maneuvered his kayak up, though hands on rock were as much to credit as his paddle.
Ending the day was a hard choice, but the route was amazing and continues to call back to us. Not reccommended for deeper craft and probably a bad idea for a fiberglass kayak, but if you don't care about running aground in the middle of the river or smacking into a rock, the route is beautiful.