, Newburyport, MA


April 4, 2014

Crashing into spring

A kayaking adventure on the Annisquam River


Seeking safer conditions, I quickly turned atop a swell, reversed direction and paddled back into the river from the harbor. Waves lifted me up, pushed me along and then broke beside me as I sank into troughs. I used my paddle blades for balance instead of power as I rode the water that I had previously fought.

After arriving closer to shore, I took a moment to relax my arms, drift freely and relish the rush of the moment. My deck glistened wet in the afternoon sun, and my cold, red fingers warmed quickly to its rays. With surf crashing behind me in the distance, I paddled back down the river, on calming water and alongside homes and piers. As quickly as it all started, the wind had slowed and the water began to rest.

Paddling south and back to the landing, I reflected on my trip out through the mouth of the river and into Annisquam Harbor. Conditions were stronger than I had expected and it caught me off-guard a bit, but still, I couldn’t help smiling. Spring had crashed in, and I was there to feel it.


Justin Chase is an avid naturalist who lives in Amesbury and grew up in Newburyport. He is the author of the blog Outdoors, By Cracky! Visit his website at, or contact him via email at

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