Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lower Deerfield - August 19, 2017

There was traffic everywhere – on the Mass Pike driving up, and in tubes on the river – but it was still worth it.  I headed up to the Deerfield to do the annual “Easy Whitewater” trip in the Lower Deerfield with RICKA. 

We ran the section from the Zoar Picnic Area to Charlemont Academy – about 7 miles.  We had 7 boats – 4 kayaks (Kate, Earl, Bob and Andy), 2 canoes (Brian and me) and 1 ducky (Sandy).  The river was at a nice level for the run (1,100 cfs on the Charlemont gage).  Since the release didn’t start until 11:00, we had to wait until 2:00 to put-in. 

I really do enjoy this section of the river.  It’s more quickwater than whitewater, but there are enough playspots to keep it interesting, and I can paddle my Yellowstone Solo.  There are even a couple of named rapids above Shunpike (I never knew that): 
  • Directly below the Zoar Picnic Area is the Blam Dance Rapid
  • Below that, the sharp curve to the left is the Spin Out Rapid
  • To the left of the island with the squirt line at the bottom is the Junction
Below Shunpike, it is mostly quickwater interspersed with easy rapids.  We pulled out at Charlemont at around 5:30.  After retrieving the cars, we stopped at Smokey Bro’s for BBQ on the way home.  Great day.

Approaching Shunpike

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lackey Dam - August 15, 2017

Julie and the water chestnuts
I haven’t done many Paddle Club trips this year, so it was nice to be able to get out and paddle the Mumford River at Lackey Dam.  This time if year, the pond is choked with water chestnut, but it is still a nice trip.  We paddled under Route 146, and up the Mumford River until the river was blocked by blow-downs.

Sunset over Lackey Pond
My Pictures

Sunday, August 13, 2017

River Bend Farm - August 12, 2017

Visitor Center at River Bend Farm
With the RICKA crew off to the Adirondacks, there weren’t any local trips planned this weekend.  Traveling wasn’t an option, so I posted a trip on the Flatwater Massage Board for a canal/river run at River Bend Farm.

River Bend Farm was the former Vose Farm, and is now the Visitor's Center for the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. It’s a popular place to hike or paddle with great views of the Blackstone Canal, the stone arch bridge at Hartford Avenue, Rice City Pond and the Stanley Woolen Mill.

Portage into Rice City Pond
I met up with Mike and Bill at 9:00 at the Visitor Center.  From there, we paddled up the Blackstone Canal before portaging over to Rice City Pond. The pond itself was shallow, so we paddled up the old canal to the Goat Hill Lock before turning around and heading back to the river. 

The Blackstone River was low but fluid - 3 feet on the Northbridge gage.  We crossed over at the dam and headed downstream.  Even at a low level, the river can be tricky with lots of twists and turns and low hanging trees. We crossed back over to the canal above the Stanley Woolen Mill for the trip back to the take out – nice morning.

Quickwater on the Blackstone River
My Pictures

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Wickford Harbor - July 30, 2017

I ended my vacation back where it started – in South County. I joined the RICKA trip in Wickford.  We padded the backwaters around Rabbit and Cornelius Islands, and then paddled along the breakwater into Wickford Harbor and around Wickford Cove. 


Friday, July 28, 2017

Newport/Kings Beach and Gooseneck Cove Marsh - July 28, 2017

Looking out from the put-in
I’ve been working my way through the Newport launch sites on Rhode Island Blueways, and today I got up early to paddle among the rocks at Kings Beach off Ocean Drive. 

Kings Beach is is typically a sea kayak put-in since conditions can change quickly due to tides and weather. To the west is Brenton Point and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. To the east is the rocky coast along Ocean Drive and the Cliff Walk. 

Cormorants on the rocks
The sea was relatively calm when I arrived with 1-2 foot rolling waves. Unfortunately, fog was rolling in as I launched, and visibility eventually dropped to zero, so I was forced to return to the put-in. With my original trip cut short, I decided to paddle Gooseneck Cove Marsh at Green Bridge, to the east of King’s Beach on Ocean Drive.

Gooseneck Cove Marsh is a wetland that has undergone a 10-year restoration by Save the Bay. A dam was removed and culverts installed along Ocean Drive to improve the flow of sea water into and out of the marsh. I put in at Green Bridge and paddled up the marsh as far as Hazard Road. Green Bridge would also be a good place to put in to paddle the ocean since it would avoid the paddle around Price Neck to the west of Kings Beach - I may try that next time.

Old boat in Gooseneck Cove Marsh

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Newport/Fort Adams - July 27, 2017

Fort Adams
It was another nice morning, so I headed back to Newport to check out the put-in at Fort Adams. 

Fort Adams was established in 1799, and the current fort was built from 1824 to 1857. During World War II, Fort Adams was part of a network of coastal forts that protected Narragansett Bay including Fort Greble on Dutch Island and Fort Wetherill, Fort Hamilton on Rose Island, and Camp Cronin on Point Judith.

Newport Folk Festival Stage
In 1965, the fort and most of the surrounding land was given to the State of Rhode Island for use as a state park. The park is best know for hosting the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival.  The park was preparing for the Newport Folk Festival the day I paddled by.

I paddled out past the fort and into the east passage before paddling back to check out the harbor.

Newport Harbor

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Newport/Rose Island – July 26, 2017

Newport Harbor (Goat Island) Light
After several rainy days the sky finally cleared, so I headed over to Newport to paddle out to Rose Island.

I put-in at the Washington Street Boat Ramp, paddled out through the Goat Island Marina, and past the Newport Harbor (Goat Island) Light. The first lighthouse was constructed on Goat Island in 1823, but it was moved to Prudence Island in 1851 where the structure still remains as the Prudence Island Light. The current Newport Harbor Light was constructed in 1842.

Rose Island Light
I paddled out into the channel for the 1-mile crossing to Rose Island. With its strategic location on the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, fortifications were constructed on Rose Island as early as the American Revolution. In 1798, the U.S. government began constructing Fort Hamilton on Rose Island. Like Fort Adams, Fort Greble on Dutch Island, Camp Cronin on Point Judith and Fort Wetherill, Fort Hamilton was a coastal defense battery during World War II, and was also used store explosives as part of the Naval Torpedo Station.

With increased shipping traffic around Newport in the mid-1800s, Rose Island seemed like an ideal place to build a lighthouse. The Rose Island Light was completed in 1870. The lighthouse stands atop a bastion of Fort Hamilton, which was built in 1798-1800. The wooden keeper's dwelling features a mansard roof with an integrated 35-foot light tower.

Barracks from Fort Hamilton
The government stopped using Rose Island as a military base after World War II. After the Newport Bridge was completed in 1969, the lighthouse was also abandoned and fell into disrepair. 

In 1984, the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation was established to restore the lighthouse. The lighthouse now functions as a bed & breakfast, and the island is a wildlife refuge. 

Newport Bridge