Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - Year-end Review

For me, 2011 was another great year for paddling. I try to do at least one big trip each month, and here are some of the more significant ones:
With last winter’s snow, I was also able to get in a little snowshoeing in 2011:
I added a few new videos to my collection of Blackstone River videos. I now have the river pretty much covered from Riverbend Farm in Uxbridge down to the Slater Mill in Pawtucket. I also included a couple of sections of the Clear/Branch Rivers.

I had a great vacation in Narragansett – my first attempts at ocean paddling.

As for last year’s resolutions, I did OK. I did get out to paddle with SuAsCo Al – three times in fact:
I still need to work on my C1 rolling, and I need to do some overnight camping trips. It’s good to have some goals for next year.

Overall it was another great year, and there are still plenty of rivers I would like to paddle. Happy New Year everyone.

Assabet - Acton to Concord - December 31, 2011

Al running the broken dam
As 2011 came to a close, I got out for one last run with Al, Tommy and Jeff on the Assabet River. We ran the section from the Acton to Concord. The level was great - 3’, 300 cfs on the Maynard gage.

On the way to the put-in, I checked out the class II section of the Assabet that runs through Maynard. It starts below the Ben Smith Dam just upstream of where Route 117 splits off of Route 62. There are a few features by the big clock in Maynard center (Walnut St.). The last bit and the gage can be seen from the parking lot where the river goes under Routes 62 and 27. The take out is at the Elks Hall on Route 62.  Minimum lever for running this is 250 cfs.  It looked fun at 300 cfs.  It's a short run, maybe a mile.  The Boston AMC use to do their Spring Ice Breaker run here.

Tommy practicing peal-outs
We put in at the Acton Canoe Launch which is on Route 62 (Powder Mill Road) near Moscarriello's Equipment and the intersection with  High Street.  The day was cloudy and damp, but it never rained.  It was colder than I expected, and we found 1/2 inch thick ice on some of the standing water.

The river starts off as flatwater with the occasional riffle until we reached the broken dam at Damondale.  This is a class I drop with a big big rock in the middle and a big eddy on river left.  Jeff and I ran it first followed by Tommy and Al.  Everyone made it through without difficulty.

Approaching the Old North Bridge
We continued downstream passing by the Leaning Hemlocks and the Memorial to George Bartlett (who arranged many outings on the SuAsCo rivers in the 19th century) before reaching Egg Rock where the Assabet River converges with the Sudbury River to form the Concord River. We paddled up to the Minute Man National Historic Park before taking out at the Calf Pasture on Lowell Road in Concord.  Great day.

Al's Trash Paddler blog entry
Assabet River Gage in Maynard
Minute Man National Historic Park

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Upper Nipmuc - December 28, 2011

I got an early morning call from Paul today looking to run the Upper Nipmuc. Level was about 4.25' - just about the minimum for this trip. Paul says that 4.5' is better. We put in at the Round Top Fishing Area off Brook Road in Harrisville and took out at the gage behind Paul's house. We could have continued down all the way to the Harrisville Fishing Area on the Clear River (Sherman Farm Road - Rt. 96). Paddled over three beaver dams. Portaged around six blow-downs.  Very pretty little river - great run.

Fishing Areas and Boat Launches in the Town of Burrillville

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Crystal Section of the Farmington - December 22, 2011

It’s been a while since I paddled with my good friends Matt and Scott, so I made it a point to get together with them yesterday to paddle the Crystal section of the Farmington River.

Over the years, I’ve made this trip many times. I did my first trip with Matt and Scott on the Riverton section of the Farmington in November 2006. Since then, we’ve done many runs on the Riverton and Crystal sections, and many park and play sessions at Satan’s Kingdom.

The drive to the Farmington takes about an hour and a half (Rt. 6, to Rt. 101, to Rt. 44, to Rt. 74 to Rt. 84, to Rt. 4, to Rt. 179). It always amazes me how many great river there are along this route. About a half hour away is the Quinebaug River. I pass right by the canoe launch in Dayville which is the take-out for the run from Putnam. About 45 minutes away is the Natchaug off Rt. 198. In addition to Diana’s Pool, there is also a nice poling run through the Natchaug State Forest. Finally, about an hour away is the Willimantic – a fun quickwater run. It’s been a while since I have paddled any of these rivers.

It was poring rain as I left Rhode Island, but the sun was out by the time I passed through Hartford. I met Matt, Scott and Charlie at the ball fields off Wannowmassa Lane around 10:30. We ran the shuttle and were on the water by 11:00. With the rain the previous night, the river was at a great level – 1,800 cfs on the Unionville gage.  Air temperature was is the mid-40’s. Water temperature was 43°.

We put-in off Rt. 179 near Collinsville. In the snow, there is a great seal launch hill here, but nobody tried it yesterday. The run is about 5-miles long and includes a series of class II drops and pools – nothing difficult, but lots of great places to play. The first major rapid is the Crystal Rapid which is the site of an annual spring slalom race. Its about a quarter mile long and terminates in a nice surf wave. Below Crystal is the ledge at the Rt. 4 Bridge. In lower water, this ledge is run on the right. Yesterday there was enough water to run the ledge on the left. After a short section of flatwater comes the Boateater Rapid – a long series of standing waves which is run to the right.

The run took us about 3 ½ hours and included two swims – not bad for us. I swam at the bottom of Boateater trying to find a place to take a picture. The other swimmer will remain nameless, but he knows who he is.

Surfing below the Crystal Rapid
My Pictures

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paddling in a Winter Wonderland

Wind is calm, are you listening
River's free, no ice glistening
A beautiful day, let's get out and play
Paddling in a winter wonderland.

Gone away are our worries
Drifting off with the flurries
We sing this short song, as we go along
Paddling in a winter wonderland.

On the river we can watch the snowfall
Covering the fields as we go by
High up in a tree we hear a crow call
And overhead we see an eagle fly.

Later on we’ll conspire
As we sit by the fire
But now we’re outside, enjoying the ride
Paddling in a winter wonderland.

Saw this poem at the PenobscotPaddles blog, and had to save it for next year.

A Paddler’s “Night Before Christmas”

T’was the night before Christmas, and out on the water,
Not a creature was stirring, not even an otter.

The dry bags were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would drop paddling stuff there.

The boaters were nestled all snug in their beds,
With visions of paddling gear dancing in their heads.

And Mama in her pogies, and I in my cap,
Had just settled in for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the river there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the water looked the whiteness of snow,
It shone like mid-day on the river below.

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a big red canoe without a single reindeer.

With a little old paddler, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Off the river and into the air he did fly,
In a beautiful silhouette against the night sky.

More rapid than eagles to the housetop he flew,
The canoe full of toys and St. Nicholas too.

And then from the roof-top there came a great sound,
The sound of a canoe running aground.

As I grimaced at the noise thinking there must be a hole,
Down the chimney came St. Nick and he snapped up with a roll.

He was dressed in a drysuit from his head to his foot,
And the gortex was tarnished with ashes and soot.

A drybag of gear he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a paddler as he opened his pack.

But his eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
As he stopped for a swig of his Sailor Jerry.

He was a happy old paddler, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
After filling the drybags he turned with a jerk.

Then laying a finger aside of his nose,
A brace he did do, and up the chimney he rose.

He sprang into his canoe and with a blow of his whistle,
He shot off the roof like water-borne missile.

But I heard him exclaim, as he paddled out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night”. 

Based on a Kayaker's Night Before Christmas by Terry Gowler, Mount Vernon, WA

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blacskstone River - Plummers Landing to Route 16 - December 12, 2011

Rice City Dam and the Hartford Avenue Bridge
I’m trying to use up the last of my vacation time, so I was glad when Paul said he would be able to paddle this morning. We decided to paddle the Blackstone from Plummers Landing (Church Street in Northbridge) the Stanley Woolen Mill (Route 16 in Uxbridge).

We met at the take out on Route 16 across from the Stanley Woolen Mill at 9:00 and ran the shuttle. It was a nice sunny day, but a little cool. There was a thin layer of ice on the Blackstone Canal, and an occasional icicle on the river - winter is coming.  The river was at a nice level – 4.5 feet, 600 cfs. on the Northbridge gage.

At this level, this trip is mostly quickwater with some flatwater through the Rice City Pond and one portage around the Rice City Dam at Hartford Avenue. We cruised downstream with little effort allowing the current to do most of the work and having a good time maneuvering though the frequent “S” turns.

We finished up around 11:00 – just in time for me to get to the Museum of Work and Culture for rehearsal.

At the put-in at Plummers Landing
My Pictures
Blackstone River Gage at Northbridge
Plummers Landing from the BRVNHC
River Bend Farm from the BRVNHC

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blackstone River Videos

This year, I added a few new videos to my collection of Blackstone River videos. I now have the river pretty much covered from Riverbend Farm in Uxbridge down to the Slater Mill in Pawtucket. I also included a couple of sections of the Clear/Branch Rivers. Anyway, here they are:

Riverbend Farm – Canal/River Loop (new)
Uxbridge – includes Rice City Pond, Goat Hill Lock and the Stanley Woolen Mill

Route 16 to the Blackstone Gorge
Uxbridge, Millville and Blackstone – mostly the Millville Rapid

Blackstone Gorge to the Millville Rapid (new)
Blackstone and Millville – includes the Millville Lock and the Triad Bridge

Blackstone Gorge (new)
A hike up the Blackstone Gorge

Canal Street to the Blackstone Gorge
Blackstone and North Smithfield – includes the Branch River

Branch River (new)
Forestdale to Slatersville – includes the Slatersville Mills

Branch River
Harrisville to Slatersville – whitewater paddling

Saint Paul Street to Canal Street
Blackstone - Poling

Cold Spring Park to the Woonsocket Falls (new)
Woonsocket – paddling in the rain

River Island Park and the Woonsocket Falls
Woonsocket - Poling

Manville Dam
Cumberland and Lincoln

Albion to Ashton (new)
Cumberland and Lincoln

Canal River Loop – Lonsdale to Ashton (new)
Lincoln – includes Blackstone Canal and Ashton Dam

Lonsdale to Manville
Cumberland and Lincoln through Ashton and Albion

Valley Falls to Lonsdale
Cumberland and Lincoln

Valley Falls to the Slater Mill
Cumberland, Central Falls and Pawtucket

I still need to get the upper sections of the Blackstone from Worcester down to Uxbridge – maybe next year.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sure beats working - Clear and Branch Rivers – December 2, 2011

Paul below the Harrisville Dam
It’s been a beautiful week, and I have some vacation time that I need to use, so I sent an email to Paul to see if he would be interested in an afternoon paddle. We ended up on the Clear/Branch River yesterday.

The Clear/Branch is a fun run that I haven’t done in a couple of years. It’s about 7.5 miles with a little bit of everything – a lot of flatwater, some quickwater and a couple of easy rapids. It’s the only river in Rhode Island listed in American Whitewater.

Erik below the Whipple Drop
It was sunny and warm when we got on the river at around 1:00 in the afternoon. The river level was 3.5 feet, 300 cfs. on the Forestdale gage - OK, but another foot of water would have been better. We put in below the dam in Harrisville at the East Avenue Bridge (Route 107). The first rapid is directly below the bridge where two rows of boulders make for a difficult line through a small drop. We both took the bumpy route, but made it through fine, and headed downstream.

After about a short section of pleasant flatwater, we came to the next rapid – Whipple Drop. This is an old broken dam that creates about a 2-foot drop with a large rock just downstream. In high water, the current tends to sweep boats into this rock. At yesterday’s level it was an easy run just left of center. We played in the waves for a little while before continuing downstream.

Old Oakland Mill
After a couple miles of easy flatwater, we came to the first portage at the Oakland Dam. Remnants of the old Oakland Mill still stand on the left. We portaged on the right. Below the Oakland Dam, the river is mostly quickwater.

About a mile downstream we came to the Glendale Rapid. In high water, this is a rocky class II rapid. At yesterday’s level, it was boney, but not particularly difficult. I got hung up on a rock in the middle, got swung around, and finished the rest of the rapid backwards. Paul made a clean run down the middle.

Paul below Atlas Pallet
We played in the waves below the Glendale Rapid and enjoyed about a mile of quickwater before coming to the next rapid – the broken dam at Atlas Pallet. This is a short class II rapid with a couple of large boulders to avoid, and some easy surf waves at the bottom. We both ran the rapid clean, and after surfing in the waves, headed back downstream.

We portaged the Nasonville dam on the right and paddled the easy flatwater down to the take out off Nasonville Road. By this time, the sun was low in the sky, and both of us were starting to get cold. I blasted the heat as I shuttled Paul back to his car. Another great day.

My Pictures
River description from American Whitewater
Branch River Gage at Forestdale

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day after Turkey Paddle – Lower Millers – November 25, 2011

After eating way too much on Thanksgiving, it was good to get out yesterday to burn off some calories. We ran the lower section of the Millers River in Erving, MA – 2 canoes (Ed and Erik) and 3 kayaks (Andy, Brian and Glenn).

This was my second time on the Lower Millers, and it is a great run. The river was at 4.3 feet which turned out to be a nice level - nothing technical, just lots of long wave trains. The most difficult rapid on this section is called the Funnel, and we looked at it long and hard before we decided to carry. The holes weren't as big as last time (4.7 feet), but there were a lot more rocks exposed.   I swam this rapid last time, and had to hike downstream about a half mile to recover my boat. I didn’t want to do that again.

Surfing a wave below the Funnel
My Pictures
My Video
Erving Gage
Running the Funnel - center left line by Adam Attarian on 1/19/15 @ 4.2 feet

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nipmuc River - November 20, 2011

I had hoped to do the Branch River today, but it didn’t work out, so I headed up to the fishing area in Harrisville to paddle the Nipmuc River. I’ve done this trip several times before, so I knew there would be beaver dams and downed trees. The river was at 3.7 feet, 30 cfs. - not a bad level.

As I approached the first beaver dam I could see it was in great shape. It had a fresh layer of sticks and mud, and was holding back 2 to 3 feet of water. The beaver lodge just up stream also had a fresh layer of sticks and mud, and had a large collection of sticks nearby – perfect for a winter snack. The beavers had been busy.

I paddled upstream, thought the fields and into the marshy woods. This is where we usually end up turning back due to fallen trees, but I decided to keep going upstream. I paddled around a couple fallen trees, and had to get out and carry over a few more.

I continued upstream to the USGS gage where the river enters a beautiful hemlock forest. The river was shallow, and eventually, I had to get out and walk. I walked upstream another mile, wading around boulders and up several small rocky drops. It was beautiful, but unfortunately, I forgot my camera back at the car.

I’d definitely like to do a run down this section of the river when there is more water.  Paul says that the put in is off Brook Road in Burrillville and that it is good above 4.5 feet.

Nipmuc River Gage near Harrisville

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nashua River - Leominster to Lancaster - November 6, 2011

Had a good time yesterday on the North Branch of the Nashua River. We had 7 boats – 5 canoes (Tommy, Mike, Jim, Doug and Jeff) and 2 kayaks (Bill and Scott). I brought my poling boat, but ended up paddling tandem with Jeff in his Appalachian.

It was the first time for me on the Nashua River. We paddled the section from Leominster (Searstown Mall – Rt. 2 and Rt. 13) to the Lancaster (Ponakin Bridge - Rt. 70 in Lancaster just north of Rt. 117). The river was at a nice level – 380 cfs, almost 4 ft on the Leominster gage. This section of the river is especially nice where it runs through the Johnny Apple Seed State Park and the Lancaster State Forest. It is mostly flatwater with some quickwater and a couple of broken dams. The first broken dam was probably a class II yesterday with a 3-foot drop into a large hole at the bottom.

The second at the power lines was probably class I with a nice surfwave.

Captain Mike at the Power Lines
My video
My pictures
Tommy’s pictures
Doug’s pictures
Scott’s video
North Nashua River Gage near Leominster, MA

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lower Millers - September 11, 2011

Had a great time yesterday on the Lower Millers in Erving, MA. We had 8 boats – 3 canoes, 4 kayaks and one cataraft (cool boat).

Seth in his cataraft
I've done the upper section of the Millers a couple of times in the past, but this was my first run on the Lower Millers. The Upper Millers is very different – not as continuous with lots of rocks to dodge. The Lower Millers is mostly long wave trains. I’d rate the lower section as a class II+ (maybe III in places) with the exception of the Funnel which I’d definitely rate a class IV.

We put in at Arch Street and took out off Dorsey Road (under Route 2) in Erving. The river was at a great level – 4.7 ft, 2,000 cfs on the Erving gage. The wave trains seemed to go on forever – long runs with short sections of quickwater in between.

Paul in the Farley Flats
This section starts with easy rapids as the river runs along Route 2 through the Farley Flats. As the river leaves Route 2, we ran a series of progressively more difficult rapids leading to the Funnel.

The Funnel is by far the most difficult rapid on this stretch of the river – easily a grade above everything else. Paul, Tim and Alan had all run this section before, but none of them was quite sure where the Funnel began, so we unexpectedly entered it without scouting – big mistake.

Middle section of the Funnel -
I hit the rock on the lower right
Tim went first, followed by Seth in his cataraft. I went third. I was told to stay to the left to avoid a strainer that we thought would be on the right side. As I followed Seth into the rapid the river narrowed and the gradient increased dramatically. I saw Seth disappear into a huge hole and thrust himself out the other side – his huge cataraft must have been 6 feet in the air. I knew I was in trouble.

Since I was running down the left side I missed the huge hole in the center, but ran head on into a large rock on the left side. I tried to grab my boat, but lost it as we went over the huge pore-over at the bottom of the rapid.

Andy near Millers Falls
I got to shore easily, but watched as my boat disappeared downstream. Fortunately, Paul was able to chase it down and push it ashore about a quarter mile downstream. Of eight boats, we had five swimmers in the Funnel. Alan flipped and broke his paddle trying to roll. Jeff flipped in the middle, but was able to self-rescue. Andy and Ed were helped ashore by Tim and Seth.

The rest of the trip was uneventful as we enjoyed the wave trains down to Millers Falls, and the quickwater below that to Dorsey Road. Another great day.

My Pictures
Erving Gage
Lower Millers from American Whitewater

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Slatersville Reservoir - August 16, 2011

Had a nice night with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club at the Slatersville Reservoir.

This reservoir was originally the power source for the Slatersville Mill Village just downstream. The first dam was built on this site around 1807. Eventually, a complex system of three dams was built to contain the 140-acre Slatersville Reservoir.

We put in at the state boat ramp off Route 102 and paddled to the southwest end of the reservoir. While there are houses on the east side of the reservoir, the west side is largely wooded with tall spruce trees – it looks like we could be in Maine. With all the recent rain, we were able to paddle up the Branch River as far as the Route 7 bridge.

Looking back in my old pictures, I remembered that this was the first trip that I did with the Rhode Island Canoe & Kayak Association back in 2004 with my daughter Julie. Thanks to Cheryl for snapping this picture.

Paddling on the Slatersville Reservoir in 2004 with my daughter Julie
Slatersville from
Cheryl's pictures

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Easy" Whitwater on the Lower Deerfield - August 14, 2011

When it comes to cancelling a trip for bad weather, it’s often a crap shoot. Do you run the trip and hope for the best, or cancel? I usually run the trip. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Fortunately, it worked out yesterday.

Approaching the first rapid
Once each summer, RICKA runs and “easy” whitewater trip for experience flatwater paddlers on the lower Deerfield River. We usually run the section from the Zoar Picnic Area down to the Charlemont Academy – about 7 miles. It’s a pretty section of river with lots of quickwater and a couple of easy class I/II rapids.

The forecast called for rain with a chance of thunderstorms. Rain doesn’t bother me, but thunderstorms sure do. It’s a 2 ½ hour drive out to the Deerfield. Driving all that way only to have the trip cancelled because of the weather would be a real bummer. I called Andy, and we decided to run the trip anyway. We did have a couple of people cancel, but that's understandable.

When I arrived at the put in at around 12:30, everyone was already there. We had 10 boats – 1 canoe (guess who) and 9 kayaks. We ran the shuttle, did a short safety talk, and got on the water around 2:00 - 3 hours after the start of the 850 cfs release from Fife Brook Dam upstream.

Most of the class I/II rapids come early in the trip. There are three rapids in quick succession just downstream from the put in. All three can be run easily straight down the middle. By the time we completed the third rapid, everyone was feeling comfortable, so we stopped at a wave to do some surfing.

Surf city
For the next few miles, the river is mostly quickwater with a few easy riffles. We spread out and enjoyed the views as we approached the last major rapid. Everyone made it through without difficulty and we paddled the last mile to the take out.

As it turned out, the predicted thunderstorms stayed well to the south. Except for a short sprinkle, it didn’t even rain while we were on the water. It turned out to be a great day on a beautiful river – lucky for us.

Happy Erik
My pictures
Mike V's pictures
Susan's pictures

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cold Spring Park - August 7, 2011

I was out this morning in the poring rain paddling the section of the Blackstsone River from Cold Spring Park the the Woonsocket Falls Dam.  Not a particularly scenic section of the river, but there is a lot of history.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Second time’s the charm – August 2, 2011

At least it was last night at the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club trip at Wallum Lake. We weren’t on the water more than 15 minutes when we heard thunder in the distance. By the time everyone got off the water, the rain started. At times, there were torrential downpours.

Some people packed up their boats and called it a night, but the rest of us hung out under whatever cover we could find – trees, the small shelter by the boat ramp, Louise’s umbrella – as we waited for the storm to pass. It did fairly quickly.

By 7:00 (a half hour after we heard the last thunder) we were back on the water. We got caught in one last downpour before the sky cleared and the dark storm clouds were replaced with big puffy clouds. The sunset was beautiful.

It could have been one of the shortest trips in paddle club history. Instead, it turned out to be a nice night on the water. Just goes to show you – good things come to those who wait.

My pictures

Sunday, July 31, 2011

It must be summer because I went poling – July 31, 2011

The Blackstone has reached its summer level (1 foot, 150 cfs) so I decided to go down to Rivers Edge Park and pole up to River Island Park. There are five drops along the way – the power lines, the railroad bridge, the Court Street Bridge, the Bernon Bridge and River Island Park - but they don't look like much at this level. I made it up to the Woonsocket Falls without too much difficulty.  Back to work tomorrow.

Woonsocket Falls through the South Main Street Bridge
My pictures
August 21, 2010 Poling Trip on the same section
May 30, 2010 Poling Trip on the same section

Friday, July 29, 2011

Upper Point Judith Pond – July 29, 2011

This morning was cloudy with a little drizzle, but I was up early to paddle the Upper Point Judith Pond.

I put in at the boat ramp at Marina Bay and paddled around the west side of the pond toward Short Point and Harbor Island. As I rounded the end of Harbor Island, the wind picked up. It was my intention to paddle down to Ram Island, but I decided against it. This was my last day of vacation, and I didn’t want to work that hard.

Six days paddling – all on salt water. It’s has been a great vacation.

My pictures

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back to Pier 5 – July 28, 2011

Since a thunderstorm interrupted my attempt last Sunday, I headed back to Pier 5 (South Pier) this morning.  I launched at around 6:00 from the State Boat Ramp and paddled south toward Indian Rock.

Summer cotages
It was high tide with 1 to 2 foot swells. I stayed outside the break zone and enjoyed the view of Ocean Road’s turn-of-the-century summer cottages sitting high above Narragansett’s rocky shore. 

I had hoped to do some surfing, but the waves were breaking too close to shore, so I snapped a few pictures and headed back to the boat ramp.

My canoe at the boat ramp
My pictures
My website on Narragansett

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Around Great Island – July 27, 2011

I got up early and headed over to the Galilee Boat Ramp to paddle around Great Island in the Great Salt Pond. It was high tide as I arrived, and lots of power boats were putting in at the boat ramp as well.

Charter boats in Galilee
I stayed out of the traffic and paddled over toward Snug Harbor. From there, I got some great views of the fishing boats in Galilee, the Breachway, and the lighthouse at Snug Harbor. As I headed up the west side of Great Island, the wind was in my face kicking up small waves, but it was still easy going.

I paddled round the tip of Great Island, and pulled my boat out on to Ram Island to enjoy the view. As I paddled down the east side of Great Island into Bluff Hill Cove the wind died down. There were lots of houses along the shore, and I was surprised that no one was out to enjoy this beautiful morning.

Lighthouse at Snug Harbor
My pictures
My website on Galilee

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Harbor of Refuge – July 26, 2011

This morning I decided to put in at Camp Cronin and paddle around the Harbor of Refuge in Galilee. Construction of the harbor's seawall began in 1890, but wasn’t completed until 1914. It protects the Salt Pond Breachway and the Port of Galilee.

Cormorants on the seawall
There were a couple of fishermen on the east jetty, but otherwise everything was quiet. I was able to get a couple of pictures of the Point Judith Light (c. 1817/1857). It is now part of the Point Judith Coast Guard Station.

I put in around 6:30 at what appeared to be high tide. As I paddled into the passage between the east and center jetties, I was surprised how much bigger the waves became. Fortunately, my canoe handled the swells well, and I was soon behind the center jetty.

Break in the seawall
The center jetty was in much worse condition than the east or west. Huge boulders were pushed aside leaving large gaps in the seawall. I can’t imagine the power of the water that moved those rocks. As I paddled by, hundreds of cormorants and other shore birds rested on the wall, and a couple of sailboats bobbed in the water behind the seawall.

By the time I reached the west jetty, it was past 7:00 and the charter boats were pulling out. These boats created huge wakes as they pulled out of the breachway and sped out to the open water. I bobbed in the waves and waited for the parade to end before crossing the channel near the Salty Brine Beach. From there, it was a pleasant paddle back to Camp Cronin.

The schooner Brilliant moored in the harbor
My pictures
My website on Galilee

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Narrows – July 25, 2011

Egrets at Pettaquamscutt Cove
After getting a taste of ocean paddling yesterday, I got up early this morning and headed down to the Narrow River to paddle the Narrows. I put in at the concrete bridge on an outgoing tide. I was amazed at all the shore birds on the river – egrets, herons, cormorants, seagulls, and many others that I couldn’t identify.

As I approached the narrows, I could see a fisherman working the main channel. We exchanged greetings as I worked my way out into the surf. The waves appeared to break twice – once out by the rocks, and again closer to shore. I paddled hard to break through the waves, and filled up my boat in the process - good thing I brought my bailer.

Fisherman in the channel
The waves seemed good, so I decided to try some surfing.  I paddled hard to get on an approaching wave, only to catch my bow, get spun broadside and almost flip. Fortunately, a brace into the wave kept me upright.

It would be fun to come here again on one for the RICKA surf/play days.

Early morning waves at Cormorant Point
My pictures

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunrise at Pier 5 – July 24, 2011

Fishermen on the South Pier
I was anxious to try my canoe in the ocean, so I got up early and headed over to Pier 5 (South Pier) in Narragansett. There were lots of fishermen there, and I was lucky to get the last parking spot at State Boat Ramp.

It was just after sunrise, and the sky was streaked with pink and purple. Out on the water, I was paddling through 1 to 2 foot rollers. It was a little disconcerting at first, but my canoe rode the waves nicely.  I was no more that a quarter mile out when I saw lightning strike to the north. I knew I didn’t want to be out in a thunderstorm, so I snapped a couple of pictures of the sunrise, and headed back to shore.

Sunrise over Narragansett Bay
The downpour started just as I reached my van. I hung out under the open tailgate as the fishermen scrambled for cover. The rain stopped quickly, but the rumblers continued, so I know that my paddling was over for the morning. I decided to walk up to the Narragansett Pier to get some pictures of the Towers.

The Towers date to 1885 and Narragansett’s glory days as an exclusive summer resort. It was originally attached to the Narragansett Casino – the center of social life in late 19th century Narragansett. The Casino was destroyed by fire in 1900, and only the Towers remain.

The Towers at Narragansett Pier
My pictures
My Narragansett website

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Reconnaissance – July 23, 2011

It’s vacation week - no gym, no internet. I still wake up early, so after a cup of coffee, I decided to check out some potential paddling spots near our cottage in Narragansett.

Seawall at Camp Cronin
I started close to home at Camp Cronin at the tip of Point Judith. It has great views of the Point Judith Lighthouse and is at the east end of the seawall that forms Galilee’s Harbor of Refuge. From here, I could paddle around Sand Hill Cove, or out to Point Judith.

Next, I headed over to Pier 5 (South Pier). It was low tide and the water looked relatively calm. From here, I could paddle down to the Narragansett Town Beach and get some great views of the Towers.

Marina Bay on Point Judith Pond
Next, I headed up Route 1A to the Narrows. As I walked across the old Concrete Bridge, I was surprised to see Mike and Susan snapping pictures of an osprey nest near the bridge. They would be doing the Narrow River trip with RICKA latter in the morning. From here, I could paddle down the Narrows to the ocean, or up to the Narrow River and into Pettaquamscutt Cove.

My last stop was Great Salt Pond or Point Judith Pond. I could put in at the boat ramp in Galilee and explore the harbor, or put in at the boat ramp at Marina Bay and explore the upper end of the pond.

So many options, so little time.

Point Judith Lighthouse

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Great Summer Day on Fife Brook - July 17, 2011

Jim running Hangover Helper
Had a great day yesterday on the Fife Brook section of the Deerfield. We had six boats – 3 canoes (Jim, Ed and Erik) and 3 yaks (Andy, Hector and Elaine). Release was 900 cfs which is OK – maybe a little low. Weather was absolutely perfect – sunny and in the high 80’s. Great day for swimming.

We put in at around 11:30 and began working our way downstream. We ran Hangover Helper, and had a good time surfing at Carbis Bend and Freight Train before we stopped for lunch. Racers from the ACA Whitewater Downriver Nations came though after lunch. It wasn’t a big group, but they were moving. We played in Pinball for a while, but then had to pick up the pace after that so we didn’t run out of water.

Elaine at Freight Train
By the time we reached Zoar Gap the river was already down a couple of inches. Three of us took the sneak line to the right, including Elaine who had a great first run through the Gap. Ed blasted down the middle. Only Andy tried the more difficult line to the left. He flipped at the top and a bounced down the rest of the rapid. Oh well – it was a good day to swim.

We took out at around 4:30 – the last group on the river – as usual. I got to paddle a Blackfly Option at the take out. Now that is a cool boat.

That's me running Zoar Gap
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