This is the spot of My First Real Paddle on my own board. My uncle brought me (only three years older than I, he’s more of a big brother. He’ll like being called that being the youngest of 12!). It’s possible that others don’t get jammed up but I get a bit intimidated going somewhere new, especially with an 11′ board to deal with. I am grateful that he brought me here and it’s part of the reason I write this blog. I know you really want to know good places to paddle and what to expect when you get there. There are a couple of other decent sites/blogs with paddling info but they all focus on canoeing or kayaking. While many times, Sup-ers can go where kayakers go, that is definitely not always the case
You’ll find Zeke’s Bridge in Coventry on Harkney Hill Road. The parking lot is before the bridge and on a curve so it is easy to pass right by if you’re coming from the east. The bridge acts as a “border” between Johnson’s Pond to the north and Reynold’s Pond to the south. Reynold’s Pond then turns into narrow and windy Big River (maybe it was a big river before they dammed it?). There has always been ample parking when I’ve gone and there is a good sized boat ramp.
When you get your board in the water, take a left and head right under the bridge. Don’t even stand up, go on your knees (or even belly if water level is high) to get under bridge. Zeke is really clean and has a smooth concrete bottom 🙂 whew! Now, you’re in Reynold’s Pond.
Reynold’s Pond is pretty idyllic; quiet, birds chirping, heron fishing, lily pads and the such. There are no motors here, only fishermen, canoes and kayakers. Early spring gives you the best access to what this area has to offer. As the weather warms, vegetation takes over the edges and your fin will take on a lot of pond plants looking for a free ride. This can really drag you down and you’ll have to sit down and reach back to clean it off or it’ll make you nuts.
Feel free to just putter around the pond, it is not that big. If you want a little adventure, head south! The pond meanders to the right a bit as it turns into Big River. You won’t get lost, you just hit dead ends if you miss the turns. Once you get into the “river”, you’ll be hearing automobile noise because you’re approaching route 95. Get this! You can paddle under it. There are 3 big, long, dark tunnels.
Did I say they are long and dark?
I have very little imagination but I get creeped out. Thankfully (and literally) there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have absolutely no idea if there are any water obstructions because the water is pitch black but I’ve never hit anything yet.
Going under bridges on my board is a small thrill.
Aaannnd…the river goes on but after a short while you come to…another bridge!! This bridge is for route 3 and it is about double the size of Zeke’s. It is MUCH older and marked for repair but it is still clean underneath. After passing under, you can paddle for another 10 minutes or so but depending on water levels and water plants, you may have to turn around. Also, at this bridge, there is a small parking lot on rt 3 where people park to fish and put in kayaks. I have never checked it out to see how hairy it is getting a paddle board in. Someday, when/if water levels are on the high side, I want to put in here and try to head further south to see how far I can go.
Depending on the wind and how quickly you decide to paddle, the full trip takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours. I know the ocean is way sexier but I love fresh water paddling where your biggest concern is wind and that’s not usually much of a concern (unless you’re in a big open area). And for most of us, it is easier and less stressful to reach a lake or pond than the ocean. They both have their pros and cons.
Next post, I will discuss paddles and accessories. What do you “really” need and what little things make paddling a lot more fun. Until then…