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

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