Monday, December 28, 2009

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.

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

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