I paddled upstream, the current was fast enough to push me gently if I stopped, but not strong enough for a strenuous workout. Along the banks, deer tracks as well as smaller footprints were displayed like graffiti in the mud. At one point I flushed a wood duck in a small tributary. I pull ashore, hoping she would be back so I could try for a photo. Far off in the distance life went on as the sound of cars and trucks seeped in through the trees.
On my way back down to the bridge, a pair of Canada Geese waddled down to the shore, herding four fluffy yellow goslings. They were not terribly concerned with me as they picked at the tender green shoots and stomped through the brush.
When I reached the bridge there as a small crowd of folks in the parking lot. I climbed unceremoniously up the slippery banking, dragging my kayak. Two gentlemen and a boy came to watch. It was obvious this was a grandfather, father and son. In the background stood the grandmother, mother, and four daughters. The dad and grandfather smiled and asked if they could help me. From there the conversation just took off. The family had flown to New York for a graduation ceremony and were touring as much of New England as they could squeeze in. They had walked the Freedom Trail in Boston and visited Plymouth Plantation. The Covered Bridge tour was their favorite day so far.
I have ties to Arizona, their home state so we talked about the vast differences between the two places. They asked the same question, “Why are the bridges covered?” The simple answer is that it kept the wooden roadway from being slippery in wet weather and protected the structure from the elements. The Monadnock Region is host to seven of the state’s fifty-five remaining covered bridges.
On the way home, I marveled at this friendly family and their choice of vacation destination over Disney. I bet they have visited all the great natural spots in their own state as well.