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The paddling season can be a long one beginning once the ice thaws and ending only once it begins to form again. And in the between time, kayakers are treated to beautiful and peaceful local waterways that are home to waterfowl and wildflowers. Here are five locations you may want to dip a paddle or oar into this autumn to take in the brilliant colors of the turning foliage.
Acting as a border between Guilford and neighboring Madison, the East River offers kayakers a great opportunity to paddle their way downstream to the Long Island Sound or upstream to the Neck River. Part of the East River Marsh complex, the East River is home to herons, egrets, osprey, as well as otters. The East River is accessible from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's (DEEP) boat launch on Circle Beach Road in Guilford.
Selden Creek Preserve
Though this creek is technically located across the Connecticut River in Lyme, Selden Creek is most easily accessed by departing from the Deep River town landing on River Road. According to the DEEP, the creek was formed during the spring of 1854 when powerful erosion separated what is now Selden Neck Island from the mainland. The waterway between the newly formed island and the Connecticut River's east bank is now known as Selden Creek. The creek features marsh and woodlands and is home to osprey, swans, and other waterfowl.
The Thimble Islands
If you can find parking in Stony Creek, you can embark on a kayaking trip through one of the most beautiful areas along the shoreline. Unlike Selden Creek and the East River, kayaking among the Thimbles can be a bit more of a task. Currents between the islands and a rip tide off the southern end of Outer Island can make for a tricky adventure. Take your kayak out on the mile and a half trip to Outer Island and spend some time on land as well as sea.
Farm River State Park
Farm River State Park may be one of the smaller state parks at just 62 acres but it's a hidden gem for kayakers. The park is home to snowy egrets in the marsh areas, and ducks, gulls, and blue herons stick close to the shore. Kayakers will need a boat launch pass to enjoy the River, however, and passes are available for a fee through the Community Boating Program.
A 73-acre pond, Messerschmidt offers limited parking and no access for launching large boats but it's simple to launch a kayak or canoe from the shore. The pond is home to beavers, and lily pads frequently cover parts of the coves. Visit Messerschmidt near the end of the day to be treated to a nice sunset as it reflects off the water.
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