Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Lower Deerfield - June 29, 2020

It has been a while since I‘ve had my whitewater boat out, so when Conrad posted a trip for the Lower Deerfield I decided to join him. The plan was to bike shuttle back from Shunpike, and that worked out fine - took about half an hour.  It was an 800 release scheduled for 11:00. We put in 2 hours after the release was supposed to have started (3 hours is better). The river still seemed low, so we wasted some time by paddling up to the Gap.  

After that we headed downstream and scraped our way down to the first rapid.  We knew something was wrong.  As it turned out, the released started at noon - so we had to pull over and wait another half an hour for the bubble to show up. Once it did, it was amazing how fast the river came up.  From there it was fun run down to Shunpike. I had one short swim, which made me a triathlete - I biked, I paddled and I swam. Fortunately the swim was short. Nice afternoon with Conrad and Jessie.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Slatersville - June 27, 2020

Upper Dam
needed to stay local today, so I decided to paddle at the Slatersville Reservoir. This reservoir was originally the power source for the Slatersville Mill Village just downstream. The first dam was built on this site around 1807. Eventually, three dams were built to contain the 140-acre reservoir that delivered water to the mills.

I arrived at 8:30, and the parking lot was already filled with trucks and boat trailers.  There were lots of power boats on the upper reservoir, so I decided to portage around the upper dam and paddle the lower reservoir.  Its small, but still pretty.  On the way home I stopped in Slatersville to check out the middle and lower dams.

Slatersville Mills from under the Stone Arch Bridge

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Bike Path Runs Along It - Lonsdale to Manville - June 22, 2020

I did my first bike shuttle yesterday on the bike path from the Lonsdale Drive-in to Manville - 6.5 miles up on the bike, about 7 miles back down in the boat, and 3 portages (Albion, Ashon and Lonsdale). It took my about 4-hours.  Nice way to spend Father's Day morning.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Keeping the Circle Small - Charles River Bays Region - June 13, 2020

Bays Region
When I think of the Charles River, I usually think of the section from Medfield to Natick since that was the first section that I did, but there are lots of nice sections of the Charles. The "early morning paddling crew" got out yesterday for a run on the Charles through the “Bays Region” in Natick and Dover. I did this trip several years ago with the RICKA crew, but we put in at the other end at Elm Bank Reservation (900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA). 

The Charles arises in Hopkinton and meanders 80-miles on its 30-mile trip to Boston Harbor. We had the place to ourselves at 8:00 when we put in at the boat ramp at the Charles River Peninsula (87 Fisher Street, Nactick, MA). We paddled a short ways downstream under the South Street Bridge to check out the Cochrane Dam before heading upstream. In this section, the river is relatively undeveloped except for some large houses as the river flows through a couple of the ritziest towns in MA - Needham, Dover and Wellesley. We went upstream about 3.5-miles to the Dover Road/Charles River Road Bridge where we turned around. When we got back to the put in at around 11:00 the place was packed.

The crew - Erik, Conrad, Al and Jonathan

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Concord River – June 7, 2020

At the put-in
I met the crew today at the Lowell Street Bridge in Concord. Usually we take out at the Lowell Street Bridge after shuttle trips down the Sudbury or Assabet Rivers, but today we would be putting in there for a round trip on the Concord.

The Concord River arises at Egg Rock at the convergence of the Sudbury and Assabet Rivers just upstream of the Lowell Street Bridge. The river flows generally north for about 16-miles until its convergence with the Merrimack River in Lowell. For most of its course the river meanders through swamps and wetlands, but the last mile in Lowell is a class III (IV) rapid.

Old North Bridge
We put in at around 8:00 for an early morning trip with 3 canoes (Jonathan, Erik and Julie) and 3 kayaks (Al, Joe and Conrad). Just a little ways downstream we paddled through the the Minuteman National Historic Park and under the Old North Bridge made famous in the Battle of Concord during the Revolutionary War. We continued another 3-miles downstream into the Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge before turning around just shy of Route 225.

On the way back, Jonathan decided to pull out his small 1-hp "put-put" engine for test run, so I caught a ride. Not bad - beats paddling!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Blackstone Gorge – May 30, 2020

Millville Rapid
Jonathan is up in Maine, I hadn’t heard from Bill, and I needed to go run some errands for my parents, so I decided to stay local and paddle at the Blackstone Gorge. Its a nice up-and-back trip for these COVID-19 times. 

The parking lot was empty when I arrived at around 8:30, but full when I got back at around 11:00. The river was 3.5 on the Northbridge gage, 7 ft., 275 cfs on the Rt. 122 gage – plenty of water for the paddle up to the Millville Lock. I had to walk my boat though the shallow water below the Millville Rapid, but the rapid itself was fine. I tried to carry my boat up to the top of the rapid, but the path under the bridge was completely overgrown, so I gave up half way up.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Back to the Nashua - May 23, 2020

Through the strainers
I went back to paddle the Nashua River in Lancaster with Jonathan and Conrad. This time we put-in at Ponakin Bridge/Pellechia Conservation Area (off Rt. 70) on the North Branch (which flows generally south), and took out on Route 117 on the South Branch (which flows generally north). We paddled downstream about 5-miles, but the way the river loops around we only had to walk 2-miles back to the cars. Pretty section of river, and enough going on to keep us occupied. Level was 130 cfs on the Leominster gage - low but fluid.

Looking back I realized that I did the section of the North Branch above this back in November 2011, putting in at Searstown Mall on Rt. 2 in Leominster and taking out at Ponakin Bridge on Rt. 70 in Lancaster. Level that day was 380 cfs  on the Leominster gage. An old broken dam was the highlight of that section. 

Masks and social distancing at the take out