Thursday August 22 2019 Paddling and camping on the Waterbury Reservoir by Phyllis RubensteinOn Thursday, August 22, 2018, in the late afternoon, 6 of us paddled from the Little River Boat Launch (off Cotton Brook Road in Moscow) to remote campsite 12 on the Waterbury Reservoir. We are thankful to Chad, the water ranger, who helped us secure this campsite, which has a large sand beach and multiple tent sites in the conifer woods above. Five of us set up our tents, we all ate dinner (either hot or cold), and one person paddled back to her car at dusk. That evening, we had a fire on the beach and watched the sky as the stars to emerge.
On Friday morning, we paddled to the boat launch at the Little River State Park and enjoyed two naturalist programs with ranger Brian Aust, a former GMC employee. In the first program, we learned about how the park is trying to control invasive species and other aggressive plants, like poison ivy. In the second program, we learned about the nature and history along the Stevens Brook Trail, from flora and fauna to the logging industry. We saw a cellar hole, a boiler and other remains of a sawmill, and various pieces of machinery. After returning to our campsite, most of us went for a swim. As we were preparing for dinner, we had a visit from the paddler who hadn’t spent the night. After she left, we enjoyed another campfire and stargazing.
On Saturday morning, two paddlers left for home. To warm up, three of us bushwacked up the hill behind our campsite and then went for a long paddle to the southeast portion of the reservoir. We were surprised to see two women on a very long swim, as well as a float plane, which landed twice, presumably with a pilot in training. We had a restful afternoon, followed by another evening campfire.
On Sunday morning, we packed up and slowly paddled back to our cars. We spent some time looking at other campsites and decided that #12 is the best. We viewed the mud deposited by the recent mudslide from the Cotton Brook, which resulted in the closure of several campsites and the trails from the Cotton Brook parking area. During our time on the reservoir, we saw two bald eagles, several loons. herons and kingfishers, and one red salamander, and heard owls hooting intermittently all night. We plan to return next year!