(NOTE: This is the same trip that many cancelled out of last week because of the rain. I went anyway, and it’s a place that’s well worth paddling, so I am scheduling it again. My report and photos are at http://ronhaines.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/just-me-and-the-ducks/)
Paddle the 6.5-mile loop on the Charles River in Dedham, MA. I urge you to go to http://dedhamtrails.com/ and learn about the trail before you go. Note that I have already scheduled a back-up date, Sept. 22, the following Monday, in case we need one, so you may want to keep that day open too.
We will start at the Dolan Center Launch, 269 Common Street, Dedham, MA. The launch is quiet, kayak/canoe friendly and there is ample parking. The signs actually call it the ‘Dedham Parks and Recreation Complex.” If you miss the first entrance there is another just a short ways along. From there we will follow the water loop counterclockwise. There are ample opportunities to take breaks along the way. I expect this will take us three to four hours. Pack snacks and drink to your liking please. The current is helpful and the paddling will be easy. We can expect at least one short, flat portage of about 20 yards where the ‘Long Ditch’ rejoins the river at Needham Street.
The 10 am start time is butt in the boat ready to go, so plan your arrival accordingly please. Travel tip: The I-90 (Mass Pike) interchange with I-95 seems to be perpetually very busy. You may want to consider a route that avoids it.
If you are running late, call my cell phone[masked]-0528. We will wait for latecomers, IF you call.
Some ‘to bring’ suggestions:
1. Plenty to drink. We’re going to be out for up to four hours.
2. Water shoes. Most of you use them I know, but want to make sure. I know of at least one place we’ll be wading (portaging) in shallow water/rocks and there might be others.
3. Food. There will be ample opportunities to stop and snack along the way, but we won’t be very close to places you can go and buy something.
4. A whistle. Use it if you need assistance.
5. PFD, bring it and wear it please.
6. A line for your canoe or kayak. A ten-foot length of just about any kind of rope tied to an end of your boat will come in handy if we have to walk through any shallow spots where the boats can float.
7. A poncho if you like in case of rain.
A word about portaging. I intend for portages to be communal in nature. They should be a spot for regrouping, so no one leaves a portage until everyone is through. If you can do the portage without help, fine. Others may need help though, so please be willing to pitch in. And don’t let all this scare you. I’m not into hard work either.
I’m not a fanatic about always staying clumped together, but I will insist that this be a leisurely group ride. To that end there are four places where we will stop and regroup along the way, to make sure everyone’s OK. These will be our snack stops too, most likely. These stops will be at No. 4, the town landing (1.5 miles from launch, No. 11, Kehoe Park (2 miles from 1st stop), No. 13, the top of the Long Ditch (1 mile from last stop) and at the Needham Street Bridge, portage spot at bottom of the Ditch, which is a half mile long. From there it is about 1.5 miles back to our start point.
Remember, do your homework. Check out this place at http://dedhamtrails.com/.