Monday, October 19, 2009

"Love the Rock" Part 2 - New Boston Run on the Farmington - October 18th

When I pulled into the small parking lot at the Bear’s Den Rapid Sunday morning, there were already two cars in the lot. It was 9:00 AM, and we had agreed to meet at 9:30 AM, so someone had arrived early.

Walking down to the river I could see Jeff Budz and Geoff (GMK from NPMB) hard at work releasing a canoe that had gotten pinned the day before. Before I could get my drysuit on to help, they had popped the canoe off the rock. Good work.

After Saturday’s poling trip, I was back at the Farmington River on Sunday to run the New Boston section in my whitewater canoe. The run is about 7 miles. The first and last couple of miles are class II with one class III rapid at the end. The middle is class III – a narrow creek-like run with lots of rocks and several 2 to 3 foot drops.

We pretty much had the river to ourselves. I guess the lousy weather and low release kept people away. We had 4 canoes (me, Matt, Aaron and Jeff) and 2 kayaks (Geoff and Jeff).

I had done this run with Matt two years ago at a level of 4 feet, and did pretty well. I swam going over the biggest drop at Decoration Rock, but otherwise ran it clean. No such luck yesterday. Yesterday’s level was 3.7 feet which made for a boney, technical run. I spent the day bouncing off, riding up on, and flipping over on rocks.

I swam twice in the middle section – once below the first big drop after the slalom course, and once just above Decoration Rock. Both times I rode up on unseen rocks, got spun sideways, and was unable to hold the upstream gunwale out of the water – a sure recipe for disaster in a fast moving river. At least I was able to self-rescue.

By the time we got to the last rapid – Bear’s Den - I was cold and tired. Temperatures had only been in the high 30’s, and it had rained and snowed on-and-off all day. I watched as Scott and Matt ran the rapid, but didn’t feel confident. Sure enough, I flipped about half way through. Thanks goodness for drysuits.

Bear's Den Rapid from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

I’d love to do this run again with a little more water – everyone said it would be easier. Maybe next year.

My pictures
Jeff's video of my run above Decoration Rock
River description from American Whitewater
New Boston Gage

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