Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Paddle of 2009 - River Island Park - Dec. 31st

I paddled for a couple of hours this morning with Andy down at River Island Park.   The river was at a nice level for surfing, and it started to snow just as we put in - great way to end the year.  I'm looking forward to the start of the 2010 paddling year tomorrow on the Crystal section of the Farmington River in CT. 

My Pictures

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ode to snow melt (and drysuits) by Matt M.

‘Twas two days past Christmas, and all thru the state
The snow it was melting, the weather was great

Message board was a perking, but the gages were ice
With some optimism, we thought paddling ‘d be nice

Came Tommy, Craig, Erik, 2 Jeffs and a Scott
Wade and a Sparky, Al, Aaron, dang that’s a lot

Tommy he e-mails, says “I’m gonna’ pole”
Well I gotta’ join him, can’t just be one a-hole

Well, the gages they’re spiking, but now it’s too late
Dumoines already loaded, 3 poles on the tailgate

I tell Al the new guy, it’s a real scenic run
More scenic than exciting, it’ll still be fun

Well seems two feet of snow melted and it’s fifty degrees
Throw in a new put-in, I’m just thinkin’ “Jeez”

What the heck am I doing, poling on a whim
I know what’d feel better, think I’ll take a swim

Now that feels better, swimming is fun
Guess the feelings mutual, ‘cuz in plops my son

Well swimming may not have been part of the plan
But throw in some snow melt and one broken dam

Well we do recover, another swim, no big deal
So in goes Craig and Al, flippin’ for real

Well return on investment they taught me in school
Since we’re all wearing drysuits, we’re loose, pretty cool.

This was written by Matt M. and was inspired by a late-seaon run on the Salmon River.  It was posted on P-Net, but was too good to lose.

Salmon River - Dec. 27th

We had a great day yesterday on the Salmon River in East Hampton, CT.  The Salmon is a finicky little class II(+) river that's tough to catch, but is a blast when you do. It forms where the Jeremy meets the Blackledge and runs through the hemlock-covered hills of the Salmon River State Forest in central Connecticut.  With yesterday’s warm temps, the river was covered with fog which added a mystical feeling to the trip (but made it tough to take pictures). There were waterfalls running down the banks, and icicles on the rocks. The river was as pretty as it was fun to paddle.

I’d paddled the Salmon a couple times before – last year with Matt and Aaron, and the year before with Mike B. Both times, the river was around 500-600 cfs. At that level, the river is more technical – still class II, but lots of rocks to dodge. The East Hampton gage was iced up yesterday, but the locals were estimating that the river was around 5.5 feet and 1,000 cfs which buried the rocks and produced long wave trains that were a blast to ride.

We put-in on the Jeremy River which added a mile of nice class II rapids to the trip. The toughest part of this section of the river was dodging the ice chucks that came floating down the river. It also required a tough portage around an unrunnable dam. Everyone helped out and we quickly got all the boats up the steep bank, around the dam and back in the water.

The toughest rapid on the river is a broken dam with 3 drops - each around 2’. The usual route is through a shoot on river right, but with the high water yesterday, a shoot on river left also looked runnable. Matt tried the shoot on river left in his 16’ Dumoine, got spun quickly, and ended up in the water. Matt’s son Aaron tried the shoot on river right, hit a rock below the first ledge, and also took a swim. Tommy hit the same rocks on river right, but made it through clean in his Explorer.

Salmon River from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

No swims for me – obviously I wasn’t trying hard enough.

My Pictures
River Description from American Whitewater
Matt's Ode to snow melt (and dry suits)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It was a busy couple of months in 2008

I have been uploading old videos to my Vimeo account and found these three videos from February and March 2008:

Crystal Rapids on the Farmington River with Matt, Aaron and John - February 2nd

Farmington River from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Shepaug River with Matt, Aaron, Bob and Scott - February 24th

Shepaug River from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Branch River Icebreaker with the RICKA crew - March 15th

Branch River Icebreaker from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

I caught the paddling bug in the spring of 2005, and started paddling year-round in the spring of 2006. Since May of 2006, I’ve paddled every month except February 2007.  I did paddle inside at the RICKA rolling clinic that month, but that doesn’t count. Its nice to be able to look back through my old pictures.

Looks like we have some snow coming for Christmas.  I'm hoping for some warm weather and rain after Christmas to bring the river levels up so I can do some paddling next week.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause - December 6th

I saw him yesterday poling a Mad River Explorer on the Ware River.  He sometimes goes by the name Mike, and he was accompanied by seven elves – Chuck, Tommy, Marshall, Matt, Sean, Mena and me.

We had a fun day on the Ware River in Gilbertville, MA. Eight boats (six Explorers - Mike, Chuck, Tommy, Marshall, Matt and Sean, one Dagger Reflection - Mena, and one Mohawk Whitewater 16 - me) put-in at Hardwick Road and poled down to Upper Church Street – about eight miles.

When we arrived at the put-in at around 10:00, the area was covered with a thin blanket of snow - not as much as we had received in RI, but still pretty. The river starts off as flatwater with an occasional riffle.

About a mile above Gilbertville the rapids begin. The AMC guide and American Whitewater rate them as class II/III, but that is dramatically overstated - at least at yesterday's water level (Ware River near Barre, MA - 3.5 ft., 110 cfs). At the bottom of the first set of rapids there is nice ledge to practice attainments. Sean pushed up with no problem, as did Mike, Tommy and Matt. I made it half way up, only to get spun sideways and pushed back downstream.

Below the Route 32 Bridge the river is shallower and picks up speed – avoiding rocks becomes a major challenge as Tommy found out the hard way. Not wanting to ruin my perfect record, I also took a swim a little further downstream.

After loading the boats, we reconvened for pizza and beer at Hardwick House of Pizza - another great day.

Tommy's pictures
River Description from American Whitewater
Directions to put-in from Google Maps
Upper Ware River - December 2, 2013