Saturday, November 30, 2019

Day after “Day after Turkey” Paddle – Tville – November 30, 2019

Moving in to surf at the Playhole
The “Day after Turkey” paddle is a bit of a tradition around here, and my original plan was the run the Lower Millers with John Kaz & Co. Unfortunately, I got half way there and realized that I forgotten my dry suit - bummer! Fortunately, the crew from CT was doing a trip at Tville on Saturday, so I had another option.  

Looking back I was surprised to see that it has been over a year since I paddled at Tville. I made one Thursday night paddle this year, but that was at Crystal. For this trip the level would be perfect for practicing in my new boat – 1.8 feet, 700 cfs. – class II, easy III.

The swim after
We put in at the park and headed downstream, checking out the play spots along the way. When we got to the main playhole I was going to pass, but when Jo-Ann offered to take some pictures I had to take her up on it. I bounced around on the billow for a while until I was able to nudge the bow down into the hole. From there the swim was quick – spun around and over I went. 

At least it is an easy swim, and the crew was great about recovering my boat. This was my forth swim of the year, and my first in the new boat. My first swim was at Great Swamp in my Yellowstone Solo, and my second and third swims were on Fife Brook in the Encore (that was a bad day). While I had practiced wet exits on flatwater in the Outrage, it’s nice to know I can do it in real conditions. 

Surfing at Cathy's Wave
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Lower Millers - almost - November 29, 2019

I did something yesterday that I rarely do. I got halfway to the put-in to run the Lower Millers and I realized that I had forgotten my drysuit. I was wearing my fleece underliner and was careful to bring my gloves and helmet liner, but I forgot my drysuit - go figure.  

Anyway, here is a nice picture from the bottom of the Funnel.  I was thinking of going right, but you definitely need to head back to the middle after the last rock to avoid the big drop.


Monday, November 18, 2019

River Island Park Again - November 18, 2019

It was another busy weekend, so I took another trip down to River Island Park. It was 28° when I put the boat in the water at around 9:30, and 34° by the time I got back to the car at around 11:30. The river was 2', 500 cfs – low up at the dam, but OK at the usual surf spots.  


River Island Park from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Monday, November 4, 2019

River Island Park - November 3, 2019

Bernon Street Bridge
It was another busy weekend - raked leaves, cleaned out the flower beds, put up the Christmas lights, went to church, cooked a big beef stew, and got my whitewater boat out for a short run at River Island Park. There are a couple of easy park-and-play waves in the first half-mile, and then I lug my boat up the flood control levee and cart it back to my car. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have completed the section of the Blackstone River Bikeway along the Main Street Bypass – it was always a pain getting through there. I had two wheels on it – just not the type that they were thinking. River was 2.5', 650 cfs - a nice level.

Shuttle on the new bikpath along the Main Street By-pass
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Saturday, October 26, 2019

River Island Park - October 26, 2019

I needed to stay local today, so I did the run from River Island Park to Manville with Mike D., Bill M. and Gary P.  River was 2.5', 650 cfs - a nice level.


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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Connecticut River Camping - Orford to the Wilder Dam - October 18-20, 2019

The put-in at Orford
The rules are simple – cocktails at 5:00, dinner at 6:30, no one goes to bed before 10:00 (we break that one a lot), first one up in the morning starts the fire, and everyone needs to be packed up and ready to go by 10:00 (we break that one a lot too – sometimes earlier and sometimes later). Why work hard when you don’t have to!

For the past couple of years, Bill and I have been camping our way down the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail along the NH and VT border. The Connecticut River is the longest river in New England flowing south for approximately 400 miles from the Canadian border through four states before emptying into Long Island Sound. Its tough for me to get away to do long camping trips, so Bill and I and a few friends have been doing 3-day weekends.

Covered bridge at Clay Brook
We started in Canaan, VT near the Canadian border, and have been slowly working our way south. So far we have done the sections from Canaan, VT to Blooomfield, VT; Bloomfield, VT to Lunenburg, VT; day trips on the reservoirs from Lunenburg, VT to Woodville, NH; and Woodsville, NH to Orford, NH. On this trip we would be paddling the 20-mile section from Orford, NH to the Wilder Dam in White River Junction, VT with Jonathan and Conrad.

As hard as I tried to get Friday off from work, I still ended up with an 8:00 meeting in Waltham. Fortunately, it only took an hour and I was soon on my way up to VT. I met the crew at 11:30 at the Wilder Dam to run the shuttle up to Orford. We had two tandem canoes, and a ton of gear. We are not known to travel light.

Breakfast at Roaring Brook
We loaded our boats at the Orford Boat Ramp and headed out for the 5-mile trip downstream. The sky was cloudy, but it never rained. We paddled past the Edgell Covered Bridge at Clay Brook and the Birch Meadow Campsite before arriving at the Roaring Brook Campsite.

Roaring Brook is a popular grassy campsite on the VT side where Roaring Brook joins the river. It is close to the road and the railroad tracks, so there can be a lot of traffic noise, but it was big enough for us to spread out a little.  

Bill takes the stern
After a short break, Jonathan did some work rebuilding the fire pit while the rest of us spread out to collect firewood. The area was pretty picked over, but we soon had a pile that would last us through the night and into the morning. With that done, we set up the tents and started thinking about dinner.  

Jonathan would be cooking fried fish and “Maine Guide” potatoes. He originally planned to cook on the fire, but it ended up being easier to cook on the stove. As it was, it was dark before we sat down to dinner. After that, we settled in around the fire for the night.

Taking a break at Patchen's Point
I finally headed into my tent for the night at around 10:00. We didn’t have a hard frost, but temperatures were in the 30’s. I buried myself in the sleeping bag and tried to stay warm. I should have put on another layer.

We woke Saturday morning to cloudy skies and a beautiful sunrise. Bill got up first and started the fire. I followed and started the coffee. Soon everyone was sitting around the fire. I cooked breakfast – omelets, home fries and bacon – and then we broke camp for the 10-mile trip down to Patchen’s Point.

A well loaded canoe
This section of the river is wide with lots of boat docks and vacation houses. We stopped for lunch near Wilson’s Landing before continuing down to Patchen’s Point.

Patchen’s Point is a pretty site on the VT side below a stand of huge pine trees. Surprisingly, there was no picnic table or fire pit, but there was a privy. We made due. We went through our usual routine – gather firewood, set up camp, cook dinner and settle in around the campfire for the night. Bill cooked spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and it was great. I called in a night at around 9:00 - yup, broke that rule.

Ledyard Canoe Club
The night temperatures were again in the 30’s, but this time I added a second layer, so I was much warmer. We awoke the next morning to mist on the river. Once again, Bill started the fire, and I got the coffee going. Breakfast was pancakes and sausage, except for Jonathan who had fried eggs and tomatoes. We packed up camp and headed downstream for the last 5-miles of our trip. 

This section passes though Hanover, and Dartmouth College’s famous Ledyard Canoe Club. As we paddled by some Dartmouth students were heading out for a trip in 8-person Clipper canoes.

At the take-out
After passing through Hanover we stopped to check out the Gilman Island Campsite before continuing down to our take out at Wilder Dam. It is a nice, big campsite maintained by the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools.

As always, it was a great trip, and we have many miles to go before we hit the ocean. Time to start thinking about a trip for the spring.



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Monday, October 14, 2019