Sunday, February 28, 2010

A snowy day on the Shepaug – February 27th

Had a great day yesterday on the upper Shepaug in western CT. Six boats – 3 Encores (Matt, Aaron, and me), 1 Detonator (Craig), 1 Vertige (Jeff) and 1 Explorer (Tommy). Boats were getting passed around quite a bit - once Aaron got in the Detonator, I didn’t think Craig was going to get it back.

The Shepaug is one of the prettiest rivers around, but it can be tough to catch. With last week’s rain, we watched it hit 4 feet, 700 cfs on Friday – a great level if you like short fast runs with long wave trains (and who doesn’t). By the time we got on the river Saturday morning, the level had dropped to around 3 feet, 250 cfs – no big waves but plenty of water for a fluid run. 

We put in on Valley Road (off Route 341 in Woodville), and took out at Steep Rock on River Road (Washington Depot).  There is also a put in at the Rumsey Hall School on the Bantam River.  Bee Brook (on Route 47 in Washington Depot) is the usual meeting spot, and the take out when the upper is jammin' and people are doing laps. Hodge Park is the take out for the longer downstream run.

The upper reaches of the Shepaug are narrow – in some places no more that a canoe length wide. At yesterday’s level, we did a little rock dodging, but it was still fun. About half way down, the Bantam empties into the Shepaug increasing the flow significantly. There are a couple of nice surf waves on this stretch – including one along the face of a huge granite cliff. Craig caught this wave perfect. I missed it twice, bouncing off the cliff, but staying upright. On my third attempt, I took a swim – just like last time I paddled this section.

Overall – a great day.

My pictures
Video of Shepaug run from February, 2008

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What a beautiful day – February 20th

After forgetting my PFD last weekend, I went back to River Island Park today to do some poling. Level was perfect (600 cfs, 2.5 ft), and the temperatures were in the high 40’s. I did a couple of laps around the island, and then pushed up through the bridge and right up to the dam.  Worked up quite a sweat, but it felt good.

Close-up pictures of the Woonsocket Falls Dam

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tried to go poling today – February 13th

I was busy most of the day today, but I finished up around 3:30 and decided to do some poling. I loaded my boat on the car, put on my drysuit and drove down to the river. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my PFD. It was too late to drive back home to get it, so I thought about poling without it.  In most places, the water wouldn’t be over my knees. Then again - it was late, the water was cold, and I was alone. In the end, I took a pass and headed home. Its a bummer since I won’t be able to paddle tomorrow. Oh well, better safe than sorry – especially when it comes to winter paddling.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bernon to the Railroad Bridge – February 7th

I’ve been anxious to get out to do some paddling, so I went out down to River Island Park yesterday.  It was brutally cold and windy. On my drive down to the river I noticed that the thermometer at the bank read 15°.   That's a new record for me. I only lasted around 45 minutes - had to quit when ice started building up on the shaft of the paddle.

I went out again today for a couple of hours and it was much warmer. I put in at the Bernon Bridge and paddled down to the Providence & Worcester Railroad Bridge. The level was OK (784 cfs, 2.75 ft). The sun was out and the wind had died down. I brought my camera long to get a few pictures.

I am looking forward to the first of March when the early spring whitewater trips begin.

My Pictures