Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

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Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

Postby guitbit » Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:30 am

Ok, so I'd read about the Dedham Water Trail online and decided to give it a try. Dedham Water Trail is a 6 mile flat-water loop in Dedham not far off Rte 128/95 on Rte 135/Common St. There is free parking at the Parks & Recreation Launch (#1 on the map) and they even provide trail maps at the launch.

I finished building my folbot Greenland II around 9:20am and launched. I brought everything just in case I needed it as I'd not been here before and wasn't sure what I'd need. I could have done without any of it, and it would have made things simpler. The trail starts off with lots of quiet views and a meandering current. The water is plenty deep in most places until you reach Motley Pond where it gets bottom-scraping shallow in spots. There's also a bit a debris in the pond so keep your eyes open. This is just one of many of the tranquil scenes you'll see along the way.

Once you've meandered past the various properties along the first leg of your journey you will find yourself in Motley Pond. Lots of Terns (or whatever they were) on the island here, along with some fish jumping and even a Crane of some sort. I'm not a birder so don't fault me for my identifications please. Use a bit of caution here as I did almost run into some sort of large pointy metal object while navigating this shallow pond (not a good thing with a stretch-skin kayak). You couldn't actually travel between the islands as the map indicates, but you can go around both islands to the right without scraping bottom (although it's certainly quite shallow).

Now out of the pond, it's short trip past a few more private docks and launches to the Bridge Street overpass. All of the numbers on the map are clearly posted with round signs, so it's easy to see and track your progress. Passing under the bridge the river opens up quite wide and there are yards visible along both banks.

Just a bit further and you encounter the curve for the old Dedham Boat Club. Not much here anymore although the map indicates you can walk to Dedham Square from the Town Launch (4).

After passing under Ames bridge you start to get into a much more secluded setting. More birds, and I even saw what I think was a large owl of some sort (Barn Owl maybe?). The wind did start to pick up as I approached the curve North, however it was more than manageable by myself with the rudder down. As I rounded the curve to head north I also so another of those Crane-like birds on the shoreline (or was it the same one??? Is it stalking me?). The river begins to widen and get shallow here. There is lots of spots with some sort of river weed that you need to keep an eye out for.

As you pass Mother Brook (8) the weeds begin to get much more prevalent and there are spots where it gets shallow enough that I heard the rudder scraping. This section of the trip is the most secluded part baring the Ditch. It is also the windiest, but pay attention to the shallow spots and weeds and you'll be fine. The wind was against me here, so I had to keep paddling and sadly didn't get to enjoy the quiet setting as much as I would have liked.

Eventually you get to the end of this long, straight section and start into some meandering curves. This is where I encountered my first recognition of other human beings, as I passed a trailer park on my right and heard (and then saw) someone sitting out talking on their phone. I also saw what I though was someone in a flat-bottomed boat fishing along the bank, but as I got closer I realized it was just the boat's motor covered with an old shirt or jacket. I guess I should begin to consider getting some glasses.

There is a dock on the left just prior to reaching Mosley's On The Charles (9) where I stopped to get out and stretch. It was a good place for it, although you might want to go just a bit further and stop at Dunkin Donuts on your right as you approach the Bridge St. Bridge. There did appear to be a place where you can tie up there. You can see it straight in front of you as you approach it.

Ok, just before going under the bridge there is the Olde Irish Ale House. Not really much to see, but I'm guessing later in the day you might be able to stop for drinks and a bite. The bridge itself was easily navigable and then opens up again onto slow-moving and wide water. There is a sign on your left for 11, and then a bit further one for 12. Neither of these were anything of much interest as far as I could tell.

Just past the "Beach" As I rounded the curve into Cow Pond I did get my first wave from a woman and her dog. Well, the dog didn't wave but I could tell he wanted to. As I entered the pond the wind picked up again and kept me to the left. There are houses with private docs and boats all along the left side of the pond. As the pond narrows at the far end there is a large weed island that takes up a good section of the pond but it was not a problem when passing to the left.

There is another short section of secluded river after leaving the pond with more birds on the banks. I had to take out the map as I knew I was approaching the Ditch and wasn't sure if that is what I was seeing in front of me. It wasn't. You'll see the railroad bridge on the far side of a pond before you should start looking for the sign for Long Ditch.

As I rounded the sharp turn in the river toward Long Ditch I encountered the first boat of the day: two people fishing with a a small child in a flat-bottomed aluminum boat. At this point I scraped bottom slightly while searching for the Ditch sign. The sign is on the left side of this small, unnamed pond as you enter. You can't see the actual opening until you are right at the sign so head directly for that sign even though it looks like it might be off to the left more. The Ditch itself is reasonably well hidden but I assure you it starts right where the sign for it is.

Entering the Ditch it seems like it will be fairly navigable, and for the most part it is. However after a few turns I encountered a pipe with what appear to be large bell-shaped valves on top of it. This crosses the entire Ditch. At this point I had to exit the boat and pull it across the pipe and a bit of sand bar. It's only about 10 feet of dragging the boat and then you're back in deeper water.

From there it was simply a matter of navigating the shallow sections and the downed trees for a bit. Until you reach the end. Then it gets...um...complicated. There is a section with lots of branches, but it was mostly navigable. But then you realize the branches are there because it shallows into a sand bar. However I stayed to the left and was able to simply exit, drag the boat a bit and re-enter, thinking this is the "portage area" the maps spoke of. It's not. Just after that you see a bridge (Needham St. Bridge) and all I could see was a big pile of tree limbs directly in front of the bridge. There is no water under the bridge at all, and very little on the other side. This meant portaging 80lbs of boat and gear about 25 yards to the other side over loose rocks. This wouldn't have been an issue if I weren't alone, however being alone it was the least pleasant part of the trip. Of course once I was over the portage area and sitting on the edge of my boat on the sand bar (more mud than sand really) resting another group of paddlers went by. I wonder if they wondered why I looked so beat on such a calm river?

In any case I was now back on the section of river where I started. The scenery here was similar as well; quiet rambling river with signs of people intruding now and again. Here is where you'll notice the gazebos that have been constructed along the hiking trail on the water's edge. But keep alert, you'll encounter more of those shallow spots where you can run aground (I nearly did at one point here).

And that's the end of the report. I finished in around 3 hours but I was taking it slow due to my unfamiliarity with potential hazards. This trip was in no way hazardous really and makes for a nice scenic day trip. In short, a pretty safe trip for a kayaker of any skill level assuming you have a bit of endurance. Although I went the entire loop with the current I think it wouldn't be all that much more difficult to do against the current, as there really is that much current to contend with. It may have actually been faster to do so given the wind direction of east-to-west as the wind doesn't have any effect to speak of in either the Ditch or the western-most leg of the trip.

Happy Kayaking!

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Re: Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

Postby Ken R » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:23 pm

great report.
KR

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Re: Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

Postby guitbit » Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:13 pm

Thanks Ken. I did my best to keep it short but there was a lot I wanted to cover so that others might get something from it.

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Re: Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

Postby Ken R » Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:52 am

guitbit wrote:Thanks Ken. I did my best to keep it short but there was a lot I wanted to cover so that others might get something from it.

That is the exact reason for writing trip reports. They are a great resource for future trips.
KR

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Re: Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

Postby Chip » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:19 am

Nice Report. I didn't know about the Dedham Water Trail
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Re: Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

Postby guitbit » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:52 pm

Yes Chip, I think it's a well kept secret :-).

I'm slowly trying to create a Google Map of it and once I've done that I'll share it here. That way people can add their own comments and correct my poor navigation skills.

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Re: Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

Postby guitbit » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:21 am

So here's the map. Apparently there isn't any way to allow comments only editing, so if anyone has any problems with it let me know and I'll make any necessary changes.
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... QgwJSssnK0

All comments welcome!

Grant

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Re: Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

Postby pdetorres » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:31 pm

Nice Description:
You must of hit the trail at ultra low water. I have done it in spring/summer (Bow saw also recommended as one always finds the need to get out and clear fallen branches) and there was no need to portage as well as a current in the ditch (hay canal) to the point that it was very difficult to paddle against the current under the Needham street bridge . Thanks so much for the map . The entrance is not easy to find.
I never knew it was a water trail and that there was a map. years ago there was a kayak rental near the Trailer park. I read that the ditch runs through heavy clay soil and that is one reason it has somewhat maintained its shape and banks. Caution during the prep school rowing season as Noble and Greenough shells use the stretch across from the Dedham mall for practice and races

With good water its a great circular route.

Thanks again

Pablo

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Re: Dedham Water Trail - 09/13/2014

Postby tracer » Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:37 pm

guitbit wrote:Ok, so I'd read about the Dedham Water Trail online and decided to give it a try. Dedham Water Trail is a 6 mile flat-water loop in Dedham not far off Rte 128/95 on Rte 135/Common St. There is free parking at the Parks & Recreation Launch (#1 on the map) and they even provide trail maps at the launch.

I finished building my folbot Greenland II around 9:20am and launched. I brought everything just in case I needed it as I'd not been here before and wasn't sure what I'd need. I could have done without any of it, and it would have made things simpler. The trail starts off with lots of quiet views and a meandering current. The water is plenty deep in most places until you reach Motley Pond where it gets bottom-scraping shallow in spots. There's also a bit a debris in the pond so keep your eyes open. This is just one of many of the tranquil scenes you'll see along the way.

Once you've meandered past the various properties along the first leg of your journey you will find yourself in Motley Pond. Lots of Terns (or whatever they were) on the island here, along with some fish jumping and even a Crane of some sort. I'm not a birder so don't fault me for my identifications please. Use a bit of caution here as I did almost run into some sort of large pointy metal object while navigating this shallow pond (not a good thing with a stretch-skin kayak). You couldn't actually travel between the islands as the map indicates, but you can go around both islands to the right without scraping bottom (although it's certainly quite shallow).

Now out of the pond, it's short trip past a few more private docks and launches to the Bridge Street overpass. All of the numbers on the map are clearly posted with round signs, so it's easy to see and track your progress. Passing under the bridge the river opens up quite wide and there are yards visible along both banks.

Just a bit further and you encounter the curve for the old Dedham Boat Club. Not much here anymore although the map indicates you can walk to Dedham Square from the Town Launch (4).

After passing under Ames bridge you start to get into a much more secluded setting. More birds, and I even saw what I think was a large owl of some sort (Barn Owl maybe?). The wind did start to pick up as I approached the curve North, however it was more than manageable by myself with the rudder down. As I rounded the curve to head north I also so another of those Crane-like birds on the shoreline (or was it the same one??? Is it stalking me?). The river begins to widen and get shallow here. There is lots of spots with some sort of river weed that you need to keep an eye out for.

As you pass Mother Brook (8) the weeds begin to get much more prevalent and there are spots where it gets shallow enough that I heard the rudder scraping. This section of the trip is the most secluded part baring the Ditch. It is also the windiest, but pay attention to the shallow spots and weeds and you'll be fine. The wind was against me here, so I had to keep paddling and sadly didn't get to enjoy the quiet setting as much as I would have liked.

Eventually you get to the end of this long, straight section and start into some meandering curves. This is where I encountered my first recognition of other human beings, as I passed a trailer park on my right and heard (and then saw) someone sitting out talking on their phone. I also saw what I though was someone in a flat-bottomed boat fishing along the bank, but as I got closer I realized it was just the boat's motor covered with an old shirt or jacket. I guess I should begin to consider getting some glasses.

There is a dock on the left just prior to reaching Mosley's On The Charles (9) where I stopped to get out and stretch. It was a good place for it, although you might want to go just a bit further and stop at Dunkin Donuts on your right as you approach the Bridge St. Bridge. There did appear to be a place where you can tie up there. You can see it straight in front of you as you approach it.

Ok, just before going under the bridge there is the Olde Irish Ale House. Not really much to see, but I'm guessing later in the day you might be able to stop for drinks and a bite. The bridge itself was easily navigable and then opens up again onto slow-moving and wide water. There is a sign on your left for 11, and then a bit further one for 12. Neither of these were anything of much interest as far as I could tell.

Just past the "Beach" As I rounded the curve into Cow Pond I did get my first wave from a woman and her dog. Well, the dog didn't wave but I could tell he wanted to. As I entered the pond the wind picked up again and kept me to the left. There are houses with private docs and boats all along the left side of the pond. As the pond narrows at the far end there is a large weed island that takes up a good section of the pond but it was not a problem when passing to the left.

There is another short section of secluded river after leaving the pond with more birds on the banks. I had to take out the map as I knew I was approaching the Ditch and wasn't sure if that is what I was seeing in front of me. It wasn't. You'll see the railroad bridge on the far side of a pond before you should start looking for the sign for Long Ditch.

As I rounded the sharp turn in the river toward Long Ditch I encountered the first boat of the day: two people fishing with a a small child in a flat-bottomed aluminum boat. At this point I scraped bottom slightly while searching for the Ditch sign. The sign is on the left side of this small, unnamed pond as you enter. You can't see the actual opening until you are right at the sign so head directly for that sign even though it looks like it might be off to the left more. The Ditch itself is reasonably well hidden but I assure you it starts right where the sign for it is.

Entering the Ditch it seems like it will be fairly navigable, and for the most part it is. However after a few turns I encountered a pipe with what appear to be large bell-shaped valves on top of it. This crosses the entire Ditch. At this point I had to exit the boat and pull it across the pipe and a bit of sand bar. It's only about 10 feet of dragging the boat and then you're back in deeper water.

From there it was simply a matter of navigating the shallow sections and the downed trees for a bit. Until you reach the end. Then it gets...um...complicated. There is a section with lots of branches, but it was mostly navigable. But then you realize the branches are there because it shallows into a sand bar. However I stayed to the left and was able to simply exit, drag the boat a bit and re-enter, thinking this is the "portage area" the maps spoke of. It's not. Just after that you see a bridge (Needham St. Bridge) and all I could see was a big pile of tree limbs directly in front of the bridge. There is no water under the bridge at all, and very little on the other side. This meant portaging 80lbs of boat and gear about 25 yards to the other side over loose rocks. This wouldn't have been an issue if I weren't alone, however being alone it was the least pleasant part of the trip. Of course once I was over the portage area and sitting on the edge of my boat on the sand bar (more mud than sand really) resting another group of paddlers went by. I wonder if they wondered why I looked so beat on such a calm river?

In any case I was now back on the section of river where I started. The scenery here was similar as well; quiet rambling river with signs of people intruding now and again. Here is where you'll notice the gazebos that have been constructed along the hiking trail on the water's edge. But keep alert, you'll encounter more of those shallow spots where you can run aground (I nearly did at one point here).

And that's the end of the report. I finished in around 3 hours but I was taking it slow due to my unfamiliarity with potential hazards. This trip was in no way hazardous really and makes for a nice scenic day trip. In short, a pretty safe trip for a kayaker of any skill level assuming you have a bit of endurance. Although I went the entire loop with the current I think it wouldn't be all that much more difficult to do against the current, as there really is that much current to contend with. It may have actually been faster to do so given the wind direction of east-to-west as the wind doesn't have any effect to speak of in either the Ditch or the western-most leg of the trip.

Happy Kayaking!


Did this over the weekend (8/30/15). Fantastic trip. Had to drag the yak about about 50' under the needham st because of low water, no biggie (just as guitbit said). Took me about 3.5 hours and that was stopping every ten min to get a pic.

T


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