29 September 2014

Hiawatha on the Charles River

A perfect day to paddle.

A beautiful autumn day lured us out on the 80-mile long Charles River, which originates in Hopkinton, flows through the western suburbs, skirts our town of Newton, continues to Cambridge and empties into Boston Harbor.  We have season passes at the Charles River Canoeing and Kayak Center and have paddled so many times this summer that DH has labelled me Pocahantas. Right back at you, Hiawatha.  The weather was unseasonably warm for late September, so the Nahanton location of the paddle center was doing a brisk business in rental kayaks, canoes and paddleboards.

Who needs Vermont? - great autumn color right here.

Family fun - no screens or batteries.

DH in the stern.

The Charles is very shallow in places.

Yes, the geese (and humans) in the image above are actually standing in the river; we were in a marshy area of the Charles known as Cutler Park Reservation, straddling our town of Newton and neighboring Needham.  In addition to Canada geese, we saw plenty of Mallard drakes and ducks, as well as Blue heron and another bird which I think is some kind of cormorant.

Blue heron.


 We also saw many turtles hauled out onto logs and rocks; unlike the geese and ducks, which seem very acclimated to human presence, the turtles immediately dove into the water if we got too close. (Thank goodness for a zoom lens.) There are both painted and snapping turtles in the Charles.

Trio of turtles.

While most of the amphibians were basking in sunshine, the biggest group we found were lined up on a log, shaded by a tree overhanging the river.  I think these were all painted turtles.  A Google inquiry reveals that a group of turtles is referred to as a "bale of turtles."

Social amphibians.

A picture-perfect afternoon on the river.