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Holiday on the river

  • Marc and Stephanie Parent of Orange prepare to launch from the public boat ramp in Gill on Labor Day while infant daughter Aubree unwittingly awaits her life vest. Stephanie said Aubree likes boat rides, but not life vests. Not pictured is Aubree's sister Natalie, age 3 and enjoying the shallows.       <br/>Recorder Chris Curtis

    Marc and Stephanie Parent of Orange prepare to launch from the public boat ramp in Gill on Labor Day while infant daughter Aubree unwittingly awaits her life vest. Stephanie said Aubree likes boat rides, but not life vests. Not pictured is Aubree's sister Natalie, age 3 and enjoying the shallows.
    Recorder Chris Curtis Purchase photo reprints »

  • Wayne Pleasant of Turners Falls addresses his boat's mechanical concerns before, with luck, enjoying the water Labor Day afternoon at the Franklin County Boat Club docks in Gill.<br/>Recorder Chris Curtis

    Wayne Pleasant of Turners Falls addresses his boat's mechanical concerns before, with luck, enjoying the water Labor Day afternoon at the Franklin County Boat Club docks in Gill.
    Recorder Chris Curtis Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marc and Stephanie Parent of Orange prepare to launch from the public boat ramp in Gill on Labor Day while infant daughter Aubree unwittingly awaits her life vest. Stephanie said Aubree likes boat rides, but not life vests. Not pictured is Aubree's sister Natalie, age 3 and enjoying the shallows.       <br/>Recorder Chris Curtis
  • Wayne Pleasant of Turners Falls addresses his boat's mechanical concerns before, with luck, enjoying the water Labor Day afternoon at the Franklin County Boat Club docks in Gill.<br/>Recorder Chris Curtis

GILL — The unofficial end of summer passed Monday with sun and heat. Despite the impending cold, people on the bank of the Connecticut River were unaccountably cheerful Monday afternoon.

Walking off the dock from noon fishing at the public boat ramp off Route 2, father and son Donny and Trey Fraser of South Deerfield were unperturbed by the prospect of changing seasons, despite a recent return to the area from snow- and slush-free Florida.

Trey, who has just begun his fourth-grade year at Sunderland Elementary School, reported two and a half fish caught in the couple hours they spent on the bank. One slipped the line before it could be thrown back. Fishing was a summer activity they didn’t miss this year. Donny Fraser said he grew up in the area but moved to Florida for 20 years, and this was the family’s second summer in New England.

“Up here, when summer ends, it ends. We weren’t used to that sense of urgency, getting all the summer stuff in, so our first summer up we didn’t do a lot of stuff,” he said. After fishing, the two were off to swim in a friend’s pool. This year he is optimistic the weather will hold out a little longer.

Trey learned how to snowboard last year and said he is looking forward to snow.

Next door, at the private Franklin County Boat Club, Wayne Pleasant was temporarily kept off the water by a mechanical glitch in his outboard motor.

“Boats are like that, always something. Relatively simple, but it never fails on a nice day,” Pleasant said. Pleasant said he was enjoying the nice day as best he could. “Hoping there’s more, hoping there’s a few days left for Indian summer,” he said.

Pleasant lives on Carlisle Avenue, on the opposite bank of the river, swims and fishes in the Connecticut and said he has enjoyed it all his life, although he can remember when it wasn’t as enjoyable.

The Connecticut’s water used to stink and alternate colors as the paper mills dumped waste water and the towns’ sewage.

“It was a different color every day,” Pleasant said. “The worst was white. Seeing a white river was pretty ugly.”

Just a few decades later, the water looks like water. As a birdwatcher, Pleasant also appreciates the river for its varied bird life. He is not, however, pleased with the growing number of non-native white swans, which he suspects are pushing out native ducks, geese and other water birds.

Just off the public boat ramp, Marc Parent was having better luck with his boat as the family attempted a 2:30 escape from land. On the bow in the shade of her car seat, 5-month-old Aubree was oblivious to the bustle of preparing a boat for water. Sister Natalie, 31/2 , splashed in the shallows. Stephanie Parent said Aubree likes water travel, although she isn’t as happy with her life vest.

The Parents, of Orange, were out for the first time at the Gill boat ramp, prompted by low water in Hatfield.

Marc Parent said they were trying like heck to enjoy the holiday. “Finally a nice day,” said Stephanie Parent.

Autumn begins September 22, winter December 21.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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