Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lower Natchaug – March 28th

The RICKA crew was heading off to run the Quabaug, but I didn’t have time, so I hooked up with Dan to run the lower Natchaug. I’ve been wanting to try this river since I scouted it in January. We got on the river by 11:00, paddled for a couple of hours, and were on our way home by 1:00 - perfect.  We put in at Diana's Pool and took out at the bridge on Station Road.  There is a small parking area to the right on Old Wilimantic Road.

The river was at 3.8 feet on the Marcy Road gage which was which was a low but runnable - would have been great with another foot of water. I definitely want to come back when its around 4.5 feet. At that level, the lower section would be a nice class II with lots of long wave trains.  Diana's Pool would be a solid class IV, comparable to the dryway - I'd skip that.  This would also be a great river to combine with the Salmon, and I still want to do the upper section.

I didn't get many pictures, but I did get a video of Dan running Michaud's Hole - he made it look easy.

Dan running Michaud's Hole on the Natchaug River from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Same Old, Same Old - March 13th

Spent a couple of hours this morning paddling at River Island Park - a little "same old, same old".  Set up the camera on a wave below the hydro plant.

Same Old, Same Old from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

The river was about 3.5ft, 1,100 cfs.  Carried up to the falls and paddled down to the railroad bridge.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Removing strainers in the Glendale Rapid – March 7th

Well, I didn’t get to do any paddling today, but I did get together with Paul to remove a couple of strainers from the Glendale Rapid on the Branch River. The first was a particular nasty strainer on river left that blocked pretty much the entire left side. Paul’s chain saw only took one swim as we made quick work of removing it. Mike B. stopped by for moral support.

While we were at it, we also removed a smaller strainer on river right. Since we didn’t have boats, and we were too lazy to walk all the way around on the road, we waded across the river just above the rapid. Paul made it across
carrying the chain saw, but I lost my footing a couple of times and almost took a swim down the rapid. At Andy’s request, we gave that strainer a couple of kicks before we tuned it into firewood.

The river was low (3 feet, 320 cfs), but just as we finished, a tandem canoe came down the river. They bounced off the rocks, but thanks to our work, were able to make a run right down the middle. I'm looking forward to running it with a little more water.

Is it spring - Blackstone Canal/River Loop - March 6th

I needed to stay close to home yesterday, but it was such a nice day with temp's in the mid-50's, that I wanted to paddle somewhere. I decided on a late afternoon paddle on the Blackstone Canal and River from Lonsdale up to Ashton and back.

I headed down to the bike path in Lonsdale so I could check out the take-out at the Pratt Dam before getting on the river (always a good idea if you are going to paddle this section of river). The water was roaring through the tubes, but wasn’t flowing over the dam. If I stayed far right I could still get to the take-out.

I put-in on the canal and paddled up stream. Considering how high the river was (4ft, 1500 cfs. on the gauge in Woonsocket), the water in the canal was pretty low – in a couple of spots no more than 6 to 8 inches. Still, it was a relaxing paddle. There were lots of people on the bike path, but I think I was alone on the water. I was glad to see that the canal is still in great shape. Someone cleared out all the strainers last fall, and nothing new came down over the winter.

I took out of the canal and put in on the river just below the Ashton Dam. I tried playing in the rapids below the dam, but everything was pretty much washed out – nothing but fast moving water. It was a quick run from Ashton back down to Lonsdale. Surprisingly, I didn’t see much in the way of wildlife – a couple of Canadian Geese - that’s about it. When I saw the warning sign for the Pratt Dam, I pulled over to the right and got over to the take out with no problem. I was also glad to see that the buoys installed last fall by the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone in front of the tubes are still in place.

At this point I probably should have headed home, but the run down the river was so quick that I decided to do a little paddling below the Pratt Dam. The standing waves below the tubes were HUGE, but there were some smaller waves a little further downstream that looked promising. I carried my boat down the bike path and put in on the river below the dam. I found a couple of easy waves and played around for a while. When I looked up and saw a crowd gathering on the Pratt Dam to watch, I decided that I had pushed my luck long enough. The last thing I wanted to do was take a swim in front of a crowd. I headed back to the take out and began the long carry up the bike path back to my car.

Unfortunately, no pictures this time – I forgot to bring my camera. Today I hope to meet up with Paul to pull some stainers out of the Glendale Rapid on the Branch River.  Its hard to believe that we were paddling in the snow last weekend. 

Canal Loop - Sept. 2009
Canal Loop - August 2009