Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kayaking the Charles River

From Spring to Fall each year, I kayak 6 miles a day on the Charles River between route 128 and the Moody Street Dam.

My general rule of thumb is that I kayak when the sum of water temperature plus air temperature is greater than 120. The risk of hypothermia is much less when the water temperature is above 55 and the air temperature is above 65. This usually occurs sometime in May and lasts until October. Today's water temperature was 65 and the air temperature was 75F with a very light wind - perfect conditions.

The route I take passes through the "Lakes District" of the Charles - a wide, shallow, and particularly beautiful stretch for flatwater paddling.

I generally kayak between 5:30-6:30pm, stopping at the Charles River Canoe and Kayak boathouse on my way home. It's a great way to get some exercise and decompress - I can work a full day, kayak, have dinner with my family, and the continue to read and write until bedtime.

The early evening on the Charles is a perfect time to view widelife - Great Blue Herons, Trumpeter Swans, American River Otters, Snapping Turtles, and enormous Carp. The river is different every time I kayak with variable weather, changing wildlife, and new people. Today I did a rescue of a mother and daughter from Montreal who tipped their kayak in the deepest part of Charles. We did a T-rescue and all is well.

The boat I prefer is the Epic Kayaks V10 Surf Ski, a fast 17" wide boat that's a racing and fitness kayak, just unstable enough to keep the trip very challenging. In windy or turbulent conditions, I'll pick the Epic 18X. Here's my guide to choosing a kayak.

The other advantage of daily kayaking is the calorie burn - greater than 500 calories per hour.

Incredible sights, a relaxing river, 2500 calories of aerobic exercise, and an ever-changing riverscape. Highly recommended!


Unknown said...

Did you portage over and kayak Hobbs Brook Basin to get to the CIO Retreat yesterday? ;-)

Great presentation. Thank you for the information.

Unknown said...

I kayaked this stretch of the river today - it was great.

Ahier said...

You should try coming to the Columbia River Gorge - there is great kayaking, rafting, hiking and rock climbing...

Matthew said...

What I want to know is, John how you manage to get out of the office in time to drive to the start of the Kayaking, drive home, hang with the family, write your blog posts, and still sleep--meanwhile doing what most of us think is a pretty demanding job! Did you stretch the space-time continuum somewhere or so you just type REALLY fast!

Unknown said...

Couldn't have said it better myself!

My favorite kayak route however is along the Rockport coastline ending at the lighthouse on Thatcher Island.

And yesterday was one beauty of a day for my favorite ocean kayak...and me!

- BostonKayakGuy

Susan Warthman, Public Service Librarian said...

Yes, you are a truly amazing man. I can't wait to meet you at our NAHSL 2010 conference next year. I read blog all the time and am still wondering what we shall you speak on. You are so prolific on so many topics. Sue

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Outdoor Steve said...

John, most interesting site. I have been trying to blend my outdoor commitment with my healthcare IT profession - you are doing it!

If you have an interest in my Outdoor Enthusiast blog go to I look forward to learning more about your professional endeavors.