The Housatonic River has many moods form its beginnings in the Berkshire Mountains west of Pittsfield, MA to its outflow into the Long Island Sound. Well known as the recipient of PCB’s from General Electric’s manufacturing plant in Pittsfield, MA, this led to $ 7.75 million settlement for restoration and recreational improvements in the watershed. The good news is that the beauty of the river through much of its course has been restored.
Kayak buddy Christian and I set out to the Push’em Up fishing hole, recently discovered by us, but long known to the fishing community. A car was waiting for us eight miles downstream at the beginning of a 7 mile section of the Appalachian Trail that follows the river. We put in with that feeling of “ahhhh” that accompanies all put-ins!
Concerns left on shore, it’s time to focus on the water, wind, sun, and spirit.
I catch (and release) my first serious fish – a small-mouth bass. Christian takes it off the hook for me. That’s my next skill to master.
The next set of rapids is bouncy and playful with 80’s sun warming us after what still feels like the longest winter ever! I experiment with holding the camera between my knees so that I can use my paddle to negotiate the rapids. Not too bad for a first attempt.
Sets of rapids are mixed in with flatter, deeper sections with quick water, class I and II’s, and some III minus thrown in for a bit of extra excitement.
The scenery is a layering of undulating high hills overlapping and festooned with trees of all varieties. The locally famous white water at the historic Covered Bridge are usually a III, except in spring when they’re a IV. We have fun with them today, definitely not terrifying!
A bit further along, we have the late spring enjoyment of spotting a family of common mergansers high-tailing it out of our way! I love the “hairdo” and how it speaks of speed.
Gazing up in the sky, an immature bald eagle is being chased by some much smaller birds – always amazing to contemplate their courage.
In what seems no time at all we’re at the Route 7 Bridge, its graceful arch a surprisingly inspiring structure. Bouncy water, perfect temperatures, and a day that’s mellowing with golden rays. Feelings happy fatigue mixed with ample amounts of gratitude flow freely…..