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Boston Inspiring Connections Outdoors

Bringing kids outdoors since 1994

June 23, 2013 - Zumix Charles River Canoe Trip

A bright and beautiful Boston day made for an excellent Boston Sierra Club ICO canoe trip on the Charles River!

After a quick breakfast in East Boston, Zumix staff member Dan, ICO leader Laura, co-leader Susie, and volunteers Amy, Ray, and Maria rounded up all eight kids and headed out . Unlike most canoe trips, our adventure didn't begin on the river; it started in the urban jungle as we switched from the Blue Line to the Orange Line to the Red Line then hiked a little over a mile along the Charles to our canoe pick up.

During our river walk, we started catching glimpses of wildlife, including a mother duck with her babies. Ray, Susie, and Laura also taught the kids how to make whistles with marsh grass, and everyone seemed to enjoy the brief cacophony. It was a successful hike, especially considering our large group only toppled one cyclist (no kids were injured and the very nice cyclist, who'd swerved to avoid us, was fine!).

We met volunteer Liz on the bed of the Charles, where she'd set up a wonderful picnic lunch. After eating sandwiches, fruit, and snacks, we filled up our water bottles, learned about canoe safety, got fitted for life jackets and paddles, and boarded our canoes.

Getting into the boats without tipping was a major feat, and it was great to be able to teach the kids the simple physics around moving a canoe. We spent a lot of time almost running into the banks and dodging bigger boats in the middle of the river, but by the end of the day, everyone seemed to have their turning and paddling skills down.

We paddled up and down the Charles for a few hours, encountering two turtles balanced on a piece of wood, a large hawk perched in a tree, innumerable ducks and Canadian geese, and at least one dead fish. The turtles seemed to be a favorite, but the kids almost enjoyed the humans on the river more: my canoe crew screamed with delight every time a speed boat passed us because the resulting waves really rocked us around.

After spending the afternoon paddling up, down, and across the river, the kids (mostly exhausted) regrouped for snacks. We formed our closing circle on the riverbed, and each kid told us what their favorite part of the trip had been. "The whole thing" was my favorite answer. We sat in the shade for post-canoe snacks, which were eagerly devoured, and the stalwart kids trekked the mile back to Harvard Square in the blazing sun with little complaint. 

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