A Fairhaven Farewell

Paddling towards Scout Island across a half frozen Fairhaven Bay seemed a fitting final voyage for a vessel that had never failed me. Of the two boats I paddle, it was the one that did most of the heavy lifting and dirty work. Over the past 13 years it had hauled everything I'd asked it to from all manners of aquatic trash to my camping gear.  Its manufacturer labeled the boat "Squamish", a name which conjured-up images of salmon-filled rivers flowing through cedar forests in the distant Pacific Northwest.  Constructed of rotomolded plastic it was anything but dainty and gladly bounced off rocks, ascended beaver dams, and slid across gravel bars whenever asked to.  However, as is often the case, Father Time eventually extracted his toll and a dignified retirement for this old friend is now called for.

So on a sunny late February day with temperatures in the 40's my Squamish and I pushed-off from the shore at Sherman's Bridge one last time and headed down the Sudbury River for a farewell voyage.  We approached a sugar-coated Weir Hill...

...passed the mouth of Pantry Brook where any thoughts of ascending the brook were dismissed...

Below Lee's Bridge, and in keeping with the season, some stately maple trees adorned with old-style sap buckets were seen...
 
Fairhaven Bay had an ice-free channel running through its mid-section, and a narrow path of open water through brambles allowed access to Scout Island...

The island's snow-covered ground showed no signs of recent visitors...

There was a serenity about the island and the bay...

Looking across the channel of open river were seen the bay's only other occupants, ice fishermen...

Soon it was time to head back upriver and just before passing under Lee's Bridge movement was detected along the base of Lee's Hill...

Two white-tailed deer watched me for awhile before bounding along the hillside.  While watching those two, additional movement was detected some 20 feet above at the top of the hill where another half dozen or so deer were seen bouncing along in the same direction.   This herd of deer provided a fitting wildlife encounter for the occasion.

A final leg-stretching stop was taken at Weir Hill...
...before lowering myself into the Squamish's cockpit for a final time.

Now, I'll commence the process of preparing the boat for proper recycling into its next incarnation.  'Twas a good boat and will be remembered fondly! 

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