Sunday, September 24, 2017

Westfest – September 23, 2017

At the put-in
I was up at 4:00 a.m., and met Paul at the MacDonald’s at 5:00 a.m. for the early morning drive up the Westfest on the West River in Jamaica, VT. We left early so we could meet a CTAMC group at 8:00, but those plans went awry when I took a sleep-deprived wrong turn on to Route 35 in Townshend.

By the time we reached Jamaica State Park, the CTAMC crew had already taken the shuttle up to the put in.  No problem. Charlie Sweet was waiting in the shuttle line, so we paddled with him for the rest of the day. 

The shuttle started at 8:30, but the release wouldn’t ramp up to its full release level of 1500 cfs until 10:00. The river on the first run was a little lower, and a little more technical with more rocks to dodge, but I liked it. 

As I pulled my solo boat into the take out, I saw Dave Draper waiting.  The plan was for at least one tandem run with Dave in his Caption – we ended up doing two. 

By the time we got on the river for our second run, the river had reached its full release level. The Caption is a great boat, and very stable, but we had a hard time keeping water out. Maybe it was just poor route selection by the bow paddler (me), but we had to pull over to empty the boat after pretty much every big rapid. 

At the Dumplings, we took the left line, and were able to eddy out behind the second rock before heading down the left side to avoid the big waves.

With a little confidence after a successful second run, we decided to hike up to the dam to run Initiation on our third run. The line is just left of the small rock at the top (to avoid the rocks at the top on the right), then go right to avoid the big hole, and catch the eddy right side.  We filled up with water in the big hole and got spun around backwards, but made it to the eddy before tipping over. 

Dave and Erik
Self-rescue complete, we emptied the boat, ferried left to avoid the big rock on the right, and then rode the big waves down to the footbridge, where we emptied the boat again.  That pattern repeated itself for the rest of the run. 

After the third run I knew I was done. The shuttle line was short, so Paul headed back for one more run – a 15-minute shuttle ride up, and a 17-minute bomber-run back down. 

As tough as it was to get up at 4:00 in the morning, I did like getting an early start. We got two runs in before 11:30 with no lines at the shuttle - including the lower water run. Unfortunately, there is always too much going on to take many pictures. 


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Seekonk River – September 9, 2017

Below the Pawtucket Falls
Our original plan was to put-in at Bold Point and paddle over to Providence, but instead we decided to paddle up the Seekonk River to Pawtucket. We hit the tide just about right. We put-in a little before 10:00, and high tide was at 11:00, so the tide was coming in on the way up and going out on the way back down. We made it all the way up to the Pawtucket Falls, and got to see the Dragon Boat Races at the Pawtucket Arts Festival at the School Street Landing.

Pawtucket Falls and Slater Mill

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Alton to Bradford - September 2, 2017

Below the Alton Dam
I knew it would be raining on Sunday, and I wasn’t sure what we would be doing on Monday, so when Frank suggested a paddle on Saturday, it sounded good to me.

The Blackstone would have been closer for both of us, but it is getting low, so we decided to run the Wood/Pawcatuck from Alton to Bradford.  We ran the shuttle, and put-in to the Wood River below the Alton Dam.  There were a few blow downs that we had to paddle around, but we made it through fine.  

Broken dam at Brudickville
The Wood River joins the Pawcatuck River about a mile downstream.  The level in the Pawcatuck was low, but fluid - 2 feet, 40 cfs on the Wood River Junction gage.   Because of the low water, we decided to carry around the broken dam at Burdickville rather than bounce down the rocks. 

We stopped for lunch at the Burlingame Canoe Campsites, and then paddled to the take-out at Bradford Landing.  The Bradford Dam is under construction, but I didn’t take the time to check it out – another time.

Approaching the Burdickville Road Bridge

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Paddle and Party at Spring Lake - August 22, 2017

Our Spring Lake Paddle and Party with Julie and Steve means that the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club season is coming to an end.  We put in at the Black Hut Boat Ramp, and paddled around the lake for pizza at Julie and Steve's house.  Always a nice night, but it is sad that the summer is coming to an end.  Bring on Fall!

The Blackstone Valley Paddle Club

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

RICKA SUP Night at Lincoln Woods - August 17, 2017

We had a good time trying out SUP boards last night with EMS at Lincoln Woods. We had lots of boards to try, great staff to get us started, and a perfect night. I spent most of my time falling of the board trying to do pivot turns, but I was starting to get the back of it. Thanks to Joe, Benn, Cat and the rest of the EMS staff.

My Pictures
Lincoln Woods from Rhode Island Blueways

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