Canaan Bog east, Canaan


There are two different places on the Gazetteer listed as the Canaan Bog, so I'll refer to them as east and west. Sibley Pond abuts the east bog, separated by Route 2. You can pass between the pond and the bog by paddling under the bridge, so if you launch into the pond itís simple enough to get to the bog from there. You may even have paddled into Sibley from Rt 23 on Black Stream.

As you enter the bog, stay to the left and it soon opens up to a 25-foot wide channel that meanders back and forth as you travel upstream. You won't notice much current, as the bog is wide and absorbs most of the motion of the water except where it occasionally narrows and shallows up a bit. You'll have relaxing paddle, passing three beaver lodges on the left side of the stream. You'll be able to see into one of the lodges, as the entry is well above water level and faces the stream. At about 45 minutes into the trip the channel narrows abruptly to three feet wide.  Donít be discouraged. Keep going and it soon opens back up to 12-feet wide, continuing for at least another half hour. Here you'll encounter a beaver dam and you may choose to turn back. Since I like to keep these trips less than three hours I chose this option. I'm told that carrying your boat over this dam will give you plenty of additional paddling as the dam holds back water enough to create ample depths above it. I may go back later when the fall rains have deepened the channel and the foliage is changing. The hardwoods along the edges of the bog should provide for great color then.

I suppose one could take a GPS unit along and know just how far the stream goes but I prefer to meander without any particular goal in mind except to see what there is to see. I'm rarely disappointed. When the channel narrowed and the deer flies began their assault I was rewarded with a large flock of barn swallows that were happy to act as my personal fly catchers. They stayed close by and seemed to catch most of the flies that were bothering me. The channel through the bog is lined with wild roses and buttonbush, as well as the usual pond lilies and pickerelweed. Fish jumped, beavers and muskrats swam alongside, and there were blue-winged teal, kingfishers, eastern kingbirds and great blue herons to keep me company. Overhead ospreys scanned the surface of the bog for food, and bald eagles soared in what seemed random patterns.

You could go later in the day. I prefer very early in the morning, when the fog is just beginning to clear and the world is awakening. Being on the water then feels like being a million miles from civilization. It can be a contemplative time, listening to the rest of the world racing back and forth on the highways in the distant fog. Civilization-sometimes I wonder just how civilized it all is.

The launch site is across the road from ďAlong the LakeĒ, a small, now closed resort at Sibley Pond on Rt 2 west of Pittsfield. The access is narrow and rough so you may choose to leave your vehicle on the side of the road and walk in. There is room for just one car at the launch.

As always, remember to clean any vegetation off your boats before you leave the area so as not to transport invasive plants to the next body of water you visit. Enjoy your paddling Ė see you on the water

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