Shade and Seclusion in Hyde Park
By Will Reason
Few of the shoppers who congregate each weekend at the Stop & Shop® just off of Truman Parkway are aware that mere yards from where they’ve parked snakes a band of wild river, hiding its meandering course from the prying eyes of civilization.
It is difficult to describe my awe, having just stepped from the sunny refuge of the Martini Shell parking lot, upon entering such a shadowy and untamed slice of wilderness. Here, tree boughs hang precipitously over the water. Sunlight filters in, dappled by bright green leaves. High banks block off the sights and sounds of a world left behind. The illusion isn’t perfect.
Unfortunately, I paddled past some trash, sometimes just a plastic bag or an old toy, sometimes something more unsightly, like the large two-piece beer cooler someone had tossed haphazardly on the river bank. At one point, I pushed my paddle into the water, only to feel it rebound powerfully from what was unmistakably a tire.
But the progress I see is encouraging. When I first learned to canoe on this same section of river, more than a decade ago, my dad had to steer around sizeable islands of accumulated jetsam, typically built around a central shopping cart that had been rusting away for years.
On my recent visit, all these islands were gone, and even small pieces of garbage were a relatively rare sight, testament to the great success of NepRWA and its volunteers at cleaning up vulnerable areas of the Neponset. This stretch of the river, from just east of Fowl Meadow, all the way to the Dana Avenue Bridge, is a beautiful corridor of seclusion in the midst of urban sprawl — and it is thoroughly worth a trip.
About the author: Will Reason is a rising senior at Boston University Academy, who writes about his experiences exploring the Neponset River and its watershed. His series highlights a different area of the watershed with each installment. He hopes to inspire readers to enjoy and help protect this fabulous urban waterway.