HIGHLIGHTS: Few pastimes are as relaxing as paddling the placid waters of the upper Housatonic River. The water on this entire excursion is flat. Here the river is broad and smooth, with just enough current to keep you moving at a gentle pace. This idyllic stretch of river meanders past meadows ablaze with wildflowers, golden fields of corn and alfalfa, classic colonials with manicured lawns, rustic barns crowned by weather vanes, and cows, grazing in sundappled pastures. Drifting along, you may catch a glimpse of a bald eagle, kingfisher or peregrine falcon overhead, see a turtle basking in the sultry summer sun, or watch the graceful movements of a great blue heron wading in the river. Each bend and niche of this quietwater holds yet another surprise to discover.
Along the way, explore the Hollenback River, a labyrinthine side river about one mile from your put-in point above the dam in Falls Village. This narrow stream is well worth the sidetrip and is teaming with wildlife and colorful foliage.
You will also pass the home of the late Hal Borland, a naturalist and author, who wrote many books about this lovely river valley.
Put-in and Take Out Point: Falls Village: Rte. 126 to Main St., to Water St., go past power station, cross the river, then turn right on Housatonic River Rd., and follow until you come to the landing above the power dam.
Mileage: 17 miles to CT/MA border.