Friday, November 27, 2009

A View from the River - November 27th

That's the title of a Ranger Talk that I will be doing at the Museum of Work and Culture on January 17, 2010.  The talk will be on the Blackstone River's historic mill villages.  I just finished this slideshow based on the Plainfolk song Blackstone Valley that I plan to use at the end of my presentation.

A View from the River from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Thanks to Cheryl Thompson Cameron and Keith Hainley for allowing me to use their pictures.

I can't believe that I just had a six-day weekend, but couldn't squeeze in any paddling. I had some time on Friday, but the weather didn't cooperate. I guess its good to be busy with family and friends.

Cheryl's pictures at Webshots
Keith's pictures on Webshots
Historic Mill Villages from

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bernon Mills - November 21st

It was other busy weekend without much time to paddle. I did get out for a couple of hours down at River Island Park. Level was good – 3.5 ft., 1,400 cfs.

I was surprised to see how much progress the developer of the Bernon Mill Estates condominium project has made. The number 1 mill still needs a lot of work, but the number 2 mill is ready for sale. I’m not a big fan of condominium developments, but condos often seem to be the only viable way to save these old mills. This developer has done a nice job maintaining the integrity of these historic mills which are two of the oldest in Woonsocket.

My pictures
Pictures of the Bernon Mill Estates from tblades810
History of the Bernon Mill Village from

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What to do on a rainy day - November 14th

Normally, I’d say paddle, but I’ve been fighting a cold this week, so I didn’t think that would be a good idea. I finally bought a new external hard drive to hold all my paddling pictures and videos, so I spent a couple of hours organizing my files.  In the process, I found some clips from a park-and-play session at River Island Park last spring that I put together in this video.

River Island Park from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Not as good as paddling, but not a bad way to kill a couple of hours.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Indian Summer – Ashton to Albion - November 8th

You couldn’t ask for a nicer day – sunny and warm - so I decided to take my canoe down to the Blackstone River in Ashton for a quick paddle. I usually paddle the canal/river loop from Ashton down to Lonsdale, but this time I decided to go upstream from Ashton to Albion.

I don’t paddle this section of the Blackstone very often – probably because its such a short trip. Its no more than a mile-and-a-half from the Ashton Dam up to the Albion Dam. The most prominent features on this section of the river are the two huge bridges that carry traffic from Route 295 over the river. On the Cumberland side, the pike bath takes landlubbers on a pleasant trip along the river. On the Lincoln side, the banks are steep with huge rock outcroppings that plunge down into the river.

I had forgotten how different the river looks once the leaves have dropped. With the leaves on the trees, the river feels isolated - like paddling through a green canyon. Once the leaves drop, signs of civilization are everywhere – houses, businesses and traffic. I am always amazed that the banks of the Blackstone escaped the development that occurred elsewhere in the valley.

I only took me 20 minutes to paddle upstream to the Albion Dam. The water was low, but I was able to surf some small rapids below the dam, and chat with a fisherman who was also taking advantage of the beautiful day. The trip back was even quicker, so I played in the waves below the Ashton Dam for a while. A small group gathered on the bridge below the dam to see if I would take a swim. Fortunately for me, the crowd was disappointed.