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Archive for the ‘Chicopee River – Front St’ Category

Put-in above dam looking towards Chicopee Center

I’ve just about been on every stretch of the Chicopee River that’s kayakable since I first put in with my brothers Ray and Don 12years ago at Red Bridge. The river between Chicopee Center and Chicopee Falls has always eluded me. A few years ago we found a trail of Granby Road but it was very long and steep. Don and I walked it and in my mind we were going to return someday with the kayaks. But it never happened probably because we both knew the carry back up would have been murder.
Then last winter while I was at the Chicopee Library I scouted the river behind its grounds. I found a path down to the corner of the fence and continued through to the newly built bike path. That day I took pictures of the dam and mouth of the Chicopee canal. I took a walk up the bike path along the river until about a hundred yards up I saw a trail that went down the embankment to the waters edge. It looked like a great kayak put in. I said to myself, return I shall. This spring i took Andrea and Don down to see it. I could tell Don was reluctant to come back to give it a try.

I’ve suggested several times this year we should try it and each time we found reasons to go elsewhere. But on this beautiful cool August morning I brought my kayak wheels and there was no talking me out of it. We strapped both kayaks on and descended to that spot. Going down was not that bad.

Yet another Great Blue…

We put in and I immediately knew it was going to be a great paddle. The water just above the dam was quite calm. There was a Great Blue Heron on the opposite shore. He watched us for awhile before flying off with a gak gak gak… There were ducks aplenty, Cormorants, swallows, and more Great Blues along the way. Looking up the embankment on the right were the backs of the businesses and soon the Chicopee Electric Light Department. There was some debris along this side of the river but I am told that the Chicopee River Watershed Council has done a lot of cleanup here. Kudos to Ralph Shrewsbury and his gang!!! I do have to make it to one of their meetings some time…

On the left side going upriver was nothing but green trees. You could guess that there were houses and streets behind them but nothing visible. Was just so nice. The river grass flowing downriver beneath to surface made a finishing touch for a perfect paddle.

River view of UNIROYAL

Seen better days…

Before we saw the old FISK buildings looming in front of us. The FISK later UNIROYAL has been closed for over thirty years now. In its heyday it was a booming tire factory and probably a big polluter of the river. Now, it’s just sitting there waiting for demolition. Looks like nature is trying to reclaim it while waiting for that, but that will take a long time too. For now it is home to birds that we could see from our kayaks and probably, rats, bats, skunks, and whatever else you could imagine.

We made it a little further past the plant to within sight of the FACEMATE tower in Chicopee Falls. Sitting quietly on the shallow pebbles we had gone as far as we could. Maybe when the river is higher we could make it to the falls? Anyway, sitting there for a rest was very nice. We could hear the wreckers working on the FACEMATE buildings making way for the new Senior Center. Gee I’ll get to use it when I retire in a few years! Hope it has a great river view!

Heading back we enjoyed more of the same. The only new addition was the roar of the turbines that were now making electricity at the CELD. Other then that we have the portage back up the embankment to the car to look forward to. 😦 it was in the end not too bad, but Don and I both agreed this would not be one of our frequent kayak spots. But I must say I certainly am glad I found and conquered it! 🙂

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