Canoodling on the Concord River

We put back in the Concord River where we had last left. “We” this time also included Natascha.

DSC_0096She took the little yellow kayak, I took The Girl in the big red kayak, and The Boy took a rental to paddle by himself.

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The weight balance is far off in the red kayak with me in the back and The Girl in the front. DSC_0077

The Concord River continues it slow flow through Billerica towards Lowell. The day was partly cloudy with almost no wind. The river was glass smooth at times.

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Of course there were plenty of birds to see. <Insert obligatory picture of waterfowl.>DSC_0088

What we did not expect to see was a killer frog.

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I had read that bullfrogs were carnivorous, but I had never seen one eating a mouse before. Until now.

The end point was the Faulkner Mill in North Billerica.

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Dams at this location can be traced back to the late 1600s, at first to control flooding and grind corn.

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This is also a waypoint for the Middlesex Canal which flowed from Lowell to Charlestown. The mill pond helped feed the canal.

Casting Along the Concord River

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The Boy and The Girl ready for paddling

The Concord River forms from the merger of the Assabet River and Sudbury River. The two upstream rivers flow into each other at Egg Rock which is just upstream from the boat launch at Lowell Road.

This is a large boat launch area with room to pull the truck down to the water and drop the big red kayak in the water. We were there on a pleasant, sunny Saturday afternoon. There was a stream of cars pulling in and out unloading canoes and kayaks into the river.

The Boy brought his new fishing rod, hoping to get a fish bite. He wanted to work on his casting skills.

The highlight of the trip is passing under the Old North Bridge. (Actually, it’s a replica of the original bridge.) You get a great view of the bridge and the minuteman statute from the river.

Old North Bridge from the Concord River

This was the spot where the “shot heard round the world” was fired. The minuteman were on one side of the bridge and the British regulars were on the other side.

Most of the right bank of the Concord River is protected land: the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge along the Concord River
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge along the Concord River

With all of that protected land, there is some great birdwatching. We saw five herons perched along the riverbanks and felled trees in the river. Unlike the Charles River herons, the Concord River herons were nonplussed by the approaching kayak.

Bird Watching on the Concord River
Bird Watching on the Concord River

The Concord River is wide and flat during most of this stretch. It’s wide enough and deep enough for motorboats. There was a jetski buzzing around us. He was a thoughtful rider and slowed to a crawl leaving no wake to upset the kayak.

Broad expanse of the Concord River
Broad expanse of the Concord River

This is supposed to be a great stretch of the river for fishing. We saw several tricked out fishing boats with serious fishermen aboard. Sadly, our fishing was unproductive. I did see a big fish jump out of the water, but that was the closest we got to a fish.

The takeout is at Bartlett’s Landing. There is parking lot for a handful of cars. The landing is a sandy beach just after passing an island in the river. There are several private sandy beaches upstream from the landing.
Bartlett's Landing on the Concord River

The Route:

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July 26, 2014