It has been a long time since I have been in the kayak. Given my current free time, I thought it would it would be a great activity on a beautiful fall day.
I have read that the Stop River Confluence area between Millis and Medfield is a beautiful stretch of the river. It certainly is. View Map of the Route
I put in at a launching site on Forest Road in Millis. There is gravel parking lot with space for 5 or 6 cars. It had nice gentle entrance into the Charles.
The weather was beautiful, 70’s and not a cloud in the sky. This section of the Charles is flatwater, with just a gentle current.
This section of the Charles is the largest area of the Natural Valley Storage Project. In 1974 Congress authorized the “Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area,” allowing for the acquisition and permanent protection of 17 scattered wetlands in the middle and upper watershed. final acquisition totaled 8,103 acres, with 3,221 acres of land acquired in fee and 4,882 acres in flood easement, at ta project cost of $8,300,000. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife manages the fish and wildlife resources in some of the Corps’ fee – owned land.
For those of you who are only familiar with the Charles River Basin between Cambridge and Boston, this upper stretch of the Charles River is nothing like the Basin.
The river meanders back and forth for miles. The leaves were changing, so the there were bursts of red and yellow along the banks. This section of the Charles River is mostly through conservation land. I saw just a few houses along the banks.
There was a road crossing under Route 109 and you could hear a nearby gravel pit churning along. But those were the only signs that you were within 25 miles of downtown Boston.
On one bank was MIllis, on the other Medfield. This area attracted the first settlers of Medfield. The natural hay from the meadows along the river was valuable fodder for their livestock.
At one stretch, the left-hand bank in Millis is owned by a hunting club. I got stared down by a hunting dog. His hunter came strolling along, only to be disappointed to discover a kayaker instead of something to shoot at.
The day’s route ended at a railroad bridge. This railroad bridge is just downstreamof the West Street Bridge between Medfield and Millis. Originally, this section of Millis was part of Medfield. Since the town’s Puritans lived on both sides of the river, they needed a bridge to get back and forth to the weekly meeting. The original bridge was constructed in 1653. During King Philip’s War, the Native Americans burned the original bridge in 1676.
My bike was waiting for me at the kayak take-out. I took a quick bike ride back to the truck, through the bike in and went back for the kayak. I snuck in a few miles of bike riding to go along with the paddle.