Saturday, April 17, 2010

Westfield River Whitwater Race - April 17th

I knew if I was going to paddle this weekend that it would have to be today, and it would have to be early. I didn’t think it would happen since the weather was supposed to be terrible, and my usual paddling buds aren’t early risers. Then I saw a post on one of our local paddling boards that the group that does safety at the Westfield River Whitewater Race was doing an early run on the Westfield - perfect.

I got up at that crack of dawn and headed out for the two-hour drive to the river.  I got to the put-in around 7:30, and we were paddling by 8:00. Since I was the only open boater in the group, I figured that I better try of make a good first impression. I ferry out into the river, but didn't get 20' from shore when I hit a rock and took a swim. I was in the water before half the group even launched. Fortunately, it got better from there – it was my only swim of the day.

This was my first run on the Westfield, and I have to say that its beautiful river. The section that we did - Knightville Dam to Huntington - was mostly class II with a couple of class III rapids. There’s only one drop of any consequence – about 3’ with a couple of HUGE standing waves below it. On that rapid, I came down through the drop and bounced off the first wave right into a big eddy on river left – just like I knew what I was doing. The rest of the river is mostly waves trains and rock gardens – good time.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera in the car, so the only pictures that I got were of the racers coming through the Hill and Dale Rapid after our paddle. Most of the racers were pretty good – not as many yahoos as I expected.  The gage at Knightville was 5 ft., 1,000 cfs.

My Pictures of Racers at the Hill and Dale Rapid
River description from Amarican Whitewater

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