Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Backyard Water Safari

Paddleboarding the Charles River:
Sunday was a beautiful evening low winds and clear skies perfect conditions for paddleboarding. While I was getting the kids ready for bed after a busy family weekend away; I patiently watched the clock as the remaining daylight slowly ticked away. I couldn’t hold out any longer my wife knows that look. I tossed my board on the caravan and headed for the closest body of water - The Charles River. In just 5 minutes I was at Millennium Park canoe launch and on my board. I estimated I had about an hour of paddle time before dusk. This section of the Charles River from Dedham into Needham is a wide placid river which meanders with wide-radius curves, great for paddleboarding. The timing was just right – sunset and high tide. I quickly paddled upstream to Long Ditch. The Long Ditch tributary is just past the Millennium canoe launch and made for a little excitement as I paddled the narrow stream through the old colonial-era hayfields. The ditch itself was hand-dug in the mid-1600s to allow greater cultivation of hay in the Dedham/Needham area. Once into the LD, the pace slowed as I paddled against the outgoing tide and rip currents. I put in a good anaerobic effort knowing I would be able to float back down. River SUPing the LD made for a unique experience and as I paddled between the narrow and steep banks I felt like I was walking on water. With standing up paddling I had a great vantage point and at one point I could see deer bouncing through the field. It was as close as I could get to a backyard water safari.

Despite the hanging clouds in the sky my brother and I got back on the Charles for some paddleboarding, and what a night.

Charles River Map

Paddleboarding flickr safari