Sunday, August 29, 2010

RICKA Flatwater Training - August 29th

I had a fun afternoon helping out with the RICKA flatwater training at Stump Pond – 14 boats, 10 intentional swims, 8 successful deep-water recoveries.

My Pictures
Cheryl's Pictures
Susan's Pictures

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rivers Edge to Bernon – August 21st

I was back at Rivers Edge Park yesterday to do some poling on the Blackstone. I was there last Tuesday with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club paddling downstream to the Manville Dam. Yesterday, I brought my poling boat and poled up to the Bernon Bridge. The water was as low as I have ever seen it - 1/2 ft, 78 cfs - almost too low for pushing up the drops, but nice on the flats. I played tag with a Cormorant most of the way back downstream. He would dive under as I approached, and reappear 30-40 feet downstream. This went on for at least a half mile before he finally flew away – its amazing how those birds can swim. Opening clip is a little blurry, but here is the video.

Rivers Edge Park to Bernon - Aug. 21st from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

May 30, 2010 Poling Trip on the same Section
Detailed Description of this Run at Spring Levels

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rivers Edge to Manville – August 17th

I paddled the Blackstone from the Rivers Edge Recreation Complex down to the Manville Dam last night with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club. The turnout was great (probably 30 boats), but the condition of the river was not so good - there were way too many soccer balls, water bottles and Dunkin Donut’s cups floating in the water. I picked up as many as I could, and got a few others to do the same - Suasco Al would have been proud.  We added our trash to a collection of old bikes and other assorted trash that someone else had pulled from the river and piled by the put in.  After a trip on the crystal clear, fast moving water of the Deerfield, the Blackstone is a poor cousin by comparison.  Lesson learned - don't do a Paddle Club trip on the lower Blackstone in the late summer when the water is low.  Still, can't beat the sunsets.

My Pictures with Cheryl's Camera

Sunday, August 15, 2010

There were rubber duckies everywhere – August 14th

Not the bath toys, but the inflatable kayaks. Crab Apple Whitewater was in the process of launching a huge group of duckies just as we were getting on the water yesterday. In hindsight, it was a good sign since it meant our timing was probably good.

We had 12 boats (3 canoes, 9 kayaks) running the section of the Deerfield River just below the Zoar Gap. The water in this section is controlled by the Fife Brook Dam, and timing is everything with this trip. Launch too early and you will out run the water. Launch too late and the water will out run you. Either way, you will end up high and dry. We launched 3 hours after the scheduled release and hit it just right.

We put in at the Zoar Picnic Area around 3:00 - much later than any of us wanted due to the late release. This section of the Deerfield pretty much has it all. There is a little flatwater so you can take in the scenery, a lot of quickwater to keep you moving, and a couple of easy class I/II rapids to make it interesting.

The rapids come early in the trip with three easy rapids in quick succession just downstream from the put in. After that, its mostly quickwater with an occasional riffle. It took us three hours to reach the take out about 7 miles downstream near the Charlemont Academy on Rt. 2. Great day with a great group of paddlers.

Deerfield River from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Mike V's Pictures

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Waterplace Park

A post on the message board got me thinking about one of the nicest urban paddles around - Waterplace Park in Providence.  The Moshassuck and Woonasquatucket Rivers converge in Providence to form the Providence River which then flows into Narragansett Bay. Up until the mid-90’s, these rivers were literally paved over. With the construction of Waterplace Park, the city has an entirely different feel, and the big event in town is Waterfire.  It cost millions to do, but it sure is nice. 

Heading up to the Deerfield River today to do a joint RICKA Flatwater/Whitewater trip below the Zoar Gap.  Release doesn't start until 12:00, which means that we won't get on the water until 2:00.  Its going to be a looooong day.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Too low even for poling – August 7th

After a hot and humid couple of weeks, wasn't yesterday a great day – it actually felt like Fall. I had some errands to do in the morning, but spent a couple hours in the afternoon poling on the Blackstone River around River Island Park in Woonsocket.

When I got down to the river, I found that it was pretty low, even for poling (.64 feet, 75 cfs). The boat would hit rocks and get hung up in drops - I walked as much as I poled. I checked out the remnants of the old Globe Mill, poled underneath the Globe Bridge up to the Woonsocket Falls, and then I called it a day. 

River Island Park - the old Bernon Pond and the Woonsocket Falls from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

We had better get some rain soon, or I am going to have to take up sea kayaking.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cold Spring Park - August 3rd

We had another nice group last night for the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club trip at Cold Spring Park – probably 50 boats including leaders. I keep thinking that the water in the Blackstone can’t get any lower, and it does.

My Pictures
Cold Spring Park from

Monday, August 2, 2010

Swam the Gap – Again - August 1st

Hooked up with Andy, Hector and some of the crew from the NPMB yesterday for a run on the Fife Brook section of the Deerfield. Release was 1,000 cfs. With the exception of the Gap, the run was pleasant and uneventful. Andy and I both tried the left line through the Gap. I went first so I could get some pictures at the bottom - wishful thinking. I missed the big eddy at the top and flipped in the big hole in the middle. Andy made a clean run, but of course, he has no pictures to show for it since I was emptying out my boat – sorry Andy.  Lessons learned:
  • Scout the Gap before you run it - duh!
  • At flows over 1,000 cfs, run the center line
Great day, it was nice to get out to paddle some moving water again.

My Pictures
Fife Brook Section of the Deerfield from American Whitewater