Head for the Hills — Oswegatchie, That Is — for Annual Niantic River Kayak Regatta

From a water’s-eye view on the Niantic River, an unbroken swath of green rises majestically on East Lyme’s western bank that contrasts with the houses, marinas and nuclear power plants spread out on the eastern shore and beyond.

These are the Oswegatchie Hills, a 420-acre Nature Preserve that comprises one of the largest sections of open space along Connecticut’s highly developed shoreline.

The preserve’s views reward from land as well as from water. Officially opened in 2007, it includes more than 3 miles of trails that meander past an abandoned pink granite quarry, alongside ponds and streams and through dense forest. Along with the Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in Stonington, Bluff Point Coastal Reserve in Groton and Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme, the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve offers some of the best hiking with water views in southeastern Connecticut.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday, Aug. 18, a group devoted to preserving the hills plans to stage its ninth annual Niantic River Appreciation Day Kayak Regatta, partly a parade, partly a race but mostly a celebration of efforts to keep the hills unspoiled. I hope to be there to support the cause and to enjoy a paddle among fellow kayaking enthusiasts.

The free event is sponsored by the organization Save the River-Save the Hills, which for nearly a decade has been fighting to block or limit a Middletown developer who has repeatedly applied to build a high-density housing complex in the hills adjacent to the preserve. I hope the preservationists win, because, as is sadly often repeated, once such treasured land is built upon it is forever devalued and defaced.

Save the River-Save the Hills also has sponsored programs on water quality testing, watershed education and a pumpout boat. More information about the group and Saturday’s event is available on the website SavetheRiver-SavetheHills.org.

Participants may launch their kayaks at 10 a.m. or earlier at Three Belles Marina, 113 Oswegatchie Hills Road, Niantic.

The parade starts at 10:15 in front of 47 Oswegatchie Road, followed by short races for different classes of boats at 1 p.m.

There will be music, food, a fire boat demonstration and a drawing for prizes.

Hope to see you there!

 

Reader Comments

MORE BLOGS

Embrace The Cold! It’s Fun (Right)

Just as Dylan famously sang so long ago, "You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," I don’t need a thermometer to know the temperature – or at least what to wear when I venture outside for...

A Chilly Paddle Among The Seals Off Fishers Island

"What did you say the water temperature is?" my buddy Steve Kurczy called out. "Thirty-eight degrees!" "And how long …" He didn’t have to finish the question.

Death In The Antarctic: Adventurers Who Live On The Edge Sometimes Topple Off

Virtually all outdoor enthusiasts, myself included, regard Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1915 as history’s most extraordinary survival tale, in which he and his entire crew managed to make it...

Death In Antarctica: Adventurers Who Live On The Edge Sometimes Topple Off

Virtually all outdoor enthusiasts, myself included, regard Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1915 as history’s most extraordinary survival tale, in which he and his entire crew managed to make it...

Finally, Some Cross-Country Skiing

After emerging on cross-country skis from protective evergreens into an open field the other day, I pulled on a fleece balaclava as an icy gust whipped across frozen ground and a giant, dark shadow advanced with the lowering sun.

Touching The Top Of The Bottom Of The Planet: Mystic Climber Scales Antarctica’s Tallest Mountain

Experienced mountaineers realize that reaching the peak isn’t the most important goal of any climb. The fact is, it doesn’t count unless you get back down.

Nuts About Acorns

By now I’m sure you’ve noticed, as I have on my regular rambles through the woods, that we’re up to our — er, elbows — in acorns.

A Year Of Fun: It All Begins With The New Year’s Day Run-Swim

First of all, it doesn’t hurt that much. Really.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow ... (And Don’t Stick Your Foot Into A Bear Cave)

I know that a month from now, when I could very well be digging out of my driveway just as I was in the accompanying photo taken last winter, I may have to eat these words, but ... Come on! Where’s all the snow?!

An Impromptu Kayak Circumnavigation of Fishers Island in December: Glad I Missed the ‘Fun’ Part

You know those adventures you could have experienced but had to pass up for one reason or another, and then when you later ask how it went your friends gush, "Oh, man, it was awesome! Best time of our life! You shoulda been...

Celebrating Second-place Slackers: A Quiz

Back when my son Tom and I were tagging all 67 of the 4,000-plus-foot mountains in New England, a perverse idea crossed my mind: What if we stopped inches short of each peak and then climbed back down?

With The Fagin Fitness Ankle Bracelet or Fagin Fitness Implant, You WILL Get In Shape!

The problem with Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Withings Pulse, Microsoft Band and other electronic fitness trackers is that, like so many old-school aids designed to get people off their butts and into shape (workout charts, personal trainers,...

Beware The Deadly Deer

Every season presents the potential for paradise or peril.

Autumn Berries: A Succulent Reward During A Long Bike Ride

While biking through the hills and along the shore of Mystic and Stonington the other day with my friend Spyros "Spy" Barres and son Tom, I began to regret that I neglected to bring along a water bottle.