Boat Meadow River, Eastham
Directions to the Launch: From US Rte 6 at the Orleans Rotary, take the Rock Harbor exit off the rotary, turn left, and go 0.3 miles. Turn right onto Bridge Road and continue 0.7 miles. As Bridge Road turns right, go straight ahead onto Bayview Road and continue to the parking lot.
The Boat Meadow River, with its marsh extends, from Cape Cod Bay nearly to Town Cove near the site of the current Orleans Rotary. In the early 1800's the town of Eastham dug a toll canal that connected the Boat Meadow River with the Town Cove at high tides. The canal failed financially and has since disappeared. Today, at high tide, a kayak can easily navigate up river as far as the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which is the terminus for the trip.
The trip is about 5 miles. Heading north from the launch point, the river meanders, flowing under the Bridge at Bridge Road in 1.2 miles. After another .5 miles of meandering in a generally west direction a "tee" intersection is reached. Turning left, paddle along an old dike. A break in the dike that leads to the Boat Meadow Bog is reached in about ¼ mile. At a mid tide, the current is quit swift, so be wary.
After exploring the bog, return to the tee intersection and paddle generally south along a narrowing stream until the Cape Cod Rail Trail is reached after about ½ mile. Across the bicycle trail, the stream can be seen to continue for about another .1 miles reaching a point that is only 500 feet from the Orleans rotary and ¼ mile from the Town Cove. However, no portage route exists today into Town Cove.
Returning to the launch point brings the total distance paddled to about 5 miles. The trip should be done near high tide. Nearer to mid tide, strong currents make paddling against the tide a vigorous exercise in the narrow upper reaches of the stream.