Outdoor Adventure

Kayaker’s delight: Best day-paddles along the Connecticut River in Massachusetts

Last summer, I chronicled my 68-mile paddle of the Connecticut River through Massachusetts. Along the way, I became very well acquainted with the river, its bends and currents, dams and bridges, trees and wildlife — even its sewage overflows! Here are a few of my favorite sections, which highlight the richly varied landscape and character of our valley.

These four-to-seven-mile segments can be paddled in a day or an afternoon, depending on your speed. It takes some coordination to shuttle boats

How The Next Generation Of Folding Kayaks Are Making Paddling More Accessible

In a city of 2.7 million, Chicagoland resident Mike Paus finds solitude gazing up at the skyscrapers and historic truss bridges from the cockpit of his 12-foot folding kayak. He likes to paddle in the morning when there aren’t many people around—only turtles, ducks and freighter ships arriving from ports worldwide. “You have it all to yourself,” says Paus, who owns an Oru Beach LT kayak. “It’s very good to just get away from it all and collect your thoughts. I encourage anybody who wants to impr

A kayaker’s chronicle: Part three of three: Sewage and stormwater flow through the same pipes in Holyoke, Chicopee and Springfield

Following last month’s torrential rain, millions of gallons of untreated sewage were released into the Connecticut River and its major tributaries; six million from Holyoke alone. PHOTO BY ANNA LAIRD BARTO

“From the viewing platform at the South Hadley Public Library, I watch the water surge over the Holyoke Dam, also called the South Hadley Falls Dam,” writes Barto. “The municipally owned Holyoke Dam hasn’t come under the same fire from environmentalists as its upstream counterpart in Turners

A kayaker’s chronicle: Part two of three: Water’s out below Turners Falls dam; farmer explains exemptions to Clean Water Act

Editor’s note: This is part two of a three-part series chronicling the current state of the Connecticut River as it runs through Massachusetts, in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to limit the Clean Water Act. In part two, writer Anna Laird Barto paddles from the Turners Falls Dam to the Coolidge Memorial Bridge. Barto began her journey before the recent catastrophic flooding throughout the region.

My journey is stopped short by the Turners Falls Dam. The concrete monolith is act

How Folding Kayaks Can Change Lives

For their 15th wedding anniversary, Trent Sluiter of Cambridge, Ontario, bought himself and his wife, Holly, a pair of Tucktec folding kayaks. For Holly, 39, the gift meant far more than jewellery or flowers—it meant the freedom to get back outside.

“You can’t go out in your kayak and be on a beautiful lake and be upset or angry or anxious,” says Holly. “It’s this instant calming that comes over.”

It’s a peace Holly doesn’t take for granted. She lives with a rare condition called occipital and

A kayaker’s view of the Connecticut River’s run through the state: Part One

The water is clear enough that from my kayak I can see the wild celery rippling on the river bottom. But there’s no sign of the granite tri-state marker, which was submerged in the 1960s after the reconstruction of the Turners Falls Dam. The view is the same across state lines: steep wooded banks leading up to fields of strawberries, vegetables and hay. Rivers do not respect socially constructed boundaries.

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