Up a Lazy River

I took advantage of the nice weather on Sunday to spend some more time on the Charles. Earlier in the afternoon, I went in town to go rollerblading for the first time in a long time. I started in Allston, and skated up the bike paths, then crossed over the Anderson bridge to Memorial Drive and skated up to Western Avenue. There was a dragon boat race there, so it was really crowded. It was fun to be back on skates, but boy, was it painful. My legs just aren’t what they used to be.

After getting back to the car, I headed back out to Newton to go kayaking. I’d gone downstream last week, so this week I was determined to go upstream, all the way to the Route 16 dam if I could.

When heading upstream from Newton, the first thing you encounter is a welter of bridges– first, the kind of decrepit one for Route 30, then the overpasses for the Mass Pike (I always feel like I need to inspect them as I pass under them), a foot bridge, and then the massive concrete arch bridge carrying the railroad.

The railroad bridge

The railroad bridge

Today, because I was looking for things to shoot, I was paying attention to the curtain walls at either end of the bridge. I finally noticed the cornerstone, on the left hand wall:

Bridge cornerstone: 1876

Railroad bridge cornerstone

I continued to paddle downstream, toward the golf course. Along the way, I passed a big patch of lily pads.

Lily Pads

Lily Pads

After passing the golf course, I reached the Park Ave bridge. It was getting later in the afternoon, and the sun was just low enough to be reflecting light off the water onto the bottom of the arches. I spent a fair amount of time playing with exposure and positioning of the reflection:

Sunlight reflecting onto the bottom of the Park Ave bridge

Reflections off the water

I continued up the river, with sunlit trees on either side of me.  Once past the golf course’s footbridge, the current picked up quite a bit, due to the heavy rain during the week. I found I couldn’t stop for pictures for very long at any one place, due to the strong current. I knew I was getting close to the end when the new footbridge/old railroad bridge came into view:


Footbridge, formerly a railroad bridge

This was a conversion of an old railroad bridge that formerly served the Newton Lower Falls Branch of the Boston and Albany Railroad. Here’s what the bridge looked like five years ago, before conversion:

Bridge pre-conversion, in 2007

Bridge in 2007

The whole area around the bridge has seen a lot of development since I first saw it in 2007.

Just a short way past the footbridge is the end of the line. There’s a dam at Route 16, with a small waterfall and rocks and shoals at its feet.

Rapids at the end

Shoals at the end

So I turned around, and the current gleefully grabbed me and took me downstream. As hard as it was padding against the current, it was a lot of fun running downstream with it. Along the way, I passed backlit trees and spikes of grass along the banks:

Grass Tassles

Grass Tassels

Once past the Park Ave bridge again, the current slowed again. Along the way, I saw a family of Canadian geese:

Goose Family

Goose Family

I generally think of Canadian geese as annoying poop machines, but the little goslings were cute. As I passed Riverside park, I saw a couple of swans.

By this point, it was starting to get late, and I hurried back to the dock. As I clambered onto the dock (oh so gracefully– not!) I noticed the reflections of kayaks in the water.