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Winter still hanging on | Notes from the North Woods

I spent most of the past weekend in Elizabethtown, in order to visit with family and friends, and to check out a few of the local rivers and streams.

While the weekend weather supplied ideal conditions to be outside, I was surprised to find very little open water on the Boquet River, The Branch, Barton’s Brook, Spruce Mill Brook or any of the other local waters.

For almost twenty years, I’ve kicked off the new season with a leisurely canoe trip down the Boquet River in early April. It has become a rite of Spring.

Usually, I put in near New Russia, and float all the way to the Elizabethtown Fish and Game Club on the Wadhams Road, just outside the village.

It’s always interesting to note the changes that occur from year to year, with riverbanks collapsing, log jams forming, and the ever-ongoing rerouting efforts that have changed the course of the river channel in many places.

For the past dozen years, I’ve been able to paddle the entire route without much hindrance from either ice or snow.

Despite the usual lack of winter’s white, there’s often been plenty of evidence left over from the One Hundred Year Storms that have wreaked havoc on the local landscape. Primarily, the debris is in the form of just old junk such as the hull of a fiberglass motorboat, a sailboard, washing machines, tires, kids toys, mattresses, plastic milk bottles and of course, a whole lot of glass.

I suspect much of the glass is a result of the river scouring away at roadside riverbanks that were once used as local garbage dumps.

Last weekend, I traveled to Elizabethtown with the intention of again undertaking my annual river run. I first scouted the lower reaches of the river near Boquet and Wadhams, where snow and ice remained along the riverbanks, but the main channel was partly open.

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