Thursday, October 7, 2010

The river I didn’t paddle last weekend - Knightville and Pork Barrel on the Westfield

Last Saturday I paddled the Lower Ash, but the Westfield was also on my list of places to go. I had done the Knightville section of the Westfield with Robin and Scott last spring at a release level (1,000 cfs. on the Knightville gage). Robin ran it again Saturday at 1,700 cfs. She said it was a lot of fun and that the gorge drop was easier at that higher level. According to Rob, 700 is low, but doable.   Its OK at 1,000 to 1,500.

On Friday, the Pork Barrel section was also running, and Ed “Brewbeer” was able to catch it . Here’s how he described it:

The river was described by someone on NPMB as “high medium”, but let me tell you, it was big and full to the banks. It was fast, pushy, continuous, and once the Swift River came in, huge. Enormous wave trains, very much like the West. No exposed rocks in the river, no eddies except an occasional one at the side of the river, also like the West. There were pourovers into big holes just about everywhere. It ran through an isolated, roadless, and undeveloped valley. There were frequent waterfalls along the sides. I managed to keep the open end up and me in the boat for the whole run, but I had to run the pump frequently - almost as much as on the West. All in all, it was an awesome run. I'm really looking forward to doing it again.
Pork Barrel is tough to catch. One guy said that Pork Barrel is at a medium level when New Boston is above 5’.  The INFLOW at Knightville Dam is probably a better indicator. When its above 1,500 its runnable; when its 2,000 to 2,500 its fun. Ed ran it at 3,300. The link is below:

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