Canoeing – Quaboag Pond, East Brookfield River – Brookfield, East Brookfield

The weather was incredible this weekend, and we had to choose from hiking or canoeing.  I hadn’t gotten Jess out on the water yet and so I pushed for a canoe trip.  Fortunately, she was game.

We decided to stay close to home and simple; we put in on Quaboag Pond, in Brookfield, less than a half mile from our house.  Jess hadn’t been in a canoe since she was a child, so she was a bit nervous at first but it didn’t take long for her to realize how stable of a platform it was as long as the water was calm.

Our initial goal was to hug the shoreline of the pond and do a little fishing when opportunities arose.  Though the air was fairly calm at our house, once we were on the water we encountered some pretty stiff breezes.  That, and given the wonderful weather, there were plenty of bass fishermen out along the shoreline as well, meaning that hugging the shoreline wasn’t possible, we had to keep diverting around the fishermen.  When the wind would pick up, the boat felt a little less stable, and it was clear Jess wasn’t having as much fun as she hoped.

So, we made a course correction, turned around, and went under the bridge and onto the slow-moving East Brookfield River.  This river connects with the Sevenmile River in Spencer as well as Lake Lashaway.  The air was calm once again, and we could paddle (or not) at our own pace.  We admired several large beaver dens and listened to the many birds nesting in the area.  Turtles would hop off logs and rocks as we approached.  A huge hawk soared overhead, and sandpipers (we think) pecked at the marshy shoreline for food.


It really was beautiful and calming; everything I want out of a canoe trip (except for catching fish, but you can’t have it all!).  We saw several other kayakers but we all gave each other plenty of space.  It was almost sad to turn around and head home, but our arms were tired and Evie was leaving gymnastics soon.  We got a solid couple of hours of paddling in, though, and we know we’ll be back.

009(and next time, we’ll take more pictures!)


Solo Canoeing, Hamilton Rod and Gun Club – Sturbridge

This past weekend, I took ownership of a genuine “beater” pick-up truck.  This truck is old enough to drive, and it looks it.  But it can do one thing our family SUV can’t — handle a canoe atop it.


The white sections are metal trim my father-in-law and I fastened to the body to make it pass inspection.  The truck used to be his, and when he took it off the road I gave it a new home.  I don’t know how long it will last, but a summer of canoe trips will be worth the cost of insuring it.


For my first trip alone with the canoe I chose a body of water I’d already paddled around (albeit with my father-in-law), the third pond (“Fish Pond”) at Hamilton Rod and Gun Club, where I’ve been a member for a few years.  I chose this for a few reasons — water is fairly shallow, has almost no current, and is unlikely to have any other boaters on it, being a pond on closed club grounds, which only allows canoes and kayaks.

The pond is fairly quiet, though I could at times hear road traffic and lawn work being done. The club also has several firing ranges on it, so the occasional echo of shooters’ target practice rang through as well.  Still, overall, it’s a quiet and peaceful experience to paddle around this pond.

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Of course, paddling isn’t enough to hold my attention; I had to bring a rod and net with me.  I caught a couple respectable perch and a large pickerel — all returned to the pond to be caught again another day!044

After about an hour and a half on the water, I made for the shoreline and the truck.048I managed to stay dry, catch fish, and successfully transport the canoe to and from the pond without any help.  I’d say it was a successful first paddling expedition.  I’m already planning the next one….