Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kayaking Through History

The reason I never get tired of kayaking on South Watuppa Pond is that the light, clouds, and wind are constantly changing.  July 28 was a typical summer day in that the afternoon breeze was from the south.  The calm lake in the last post now has a stiff, cool breeze from the west carrying huge clouds.  By winter, the wind will be coming from the north.  Wind direction is always important, and I plan the outing so the afternoon wind will blow me back to the boat landing.
     A Sunday afternoon paddle is always a history lesson. There is everything along the shore from stone rows and effigies  to the Meditech building and suburbia.
     Here is the view from inside the square enclosure (7/4/2012), which may have been a Native camp site or burial ground.

 Since the water is always calmer in here, it is a handy place to stop for a water break.
     One of the loveliest spots is Christopher Borden brook.  When the water is high, it is passable all the way to the little stone bridge on the Fall River Rod and Gun Club road.
This deep inlet did not exist hundreds of years ago when the pond was much lower.  Neither was there any spartina marsh grass or purple loosestrife. However, there were the same painted turtles, frogs, muskrats and dragon flies. The waterlilies are native and the roots can be used as food. The wide shallow area directly outside the brook  was probably a Native campsite ( 7/18/2012 ). 
It is always a little jarring to drift down the brook, follow the curve, and suddenly see Fall River, I-195, and Mount Trashmore in the distance. Further north along the shore is the foundation of the Lassonde ice house.
Note how the walls are straight and even on top compared to the stone rows. Further along, on the Fall River side, are these large stone disks.
These were fly wheels in the mills. And here's an old mill water intake.
And finally, the outlet of the Quequechan River, which powered the mills.
This view of Fall River is a little hazy in the afternoon sun.

 From left to right is a mill smokestack, the very thin steeple of St. Mary's Cathedral, the square bell tower of the Rodman Mill, and the old BMC Durfee high school.  Water power from Watuppa Pond made all this possible: the mills, the cathedral built by Irish mill workers, and the high school funded by a mill owner family.

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