Saturday, January 22, 2011

Following the Deer Tracks - January 22nd

I had some free time today, so I decided to do some snowshoeing down at the bike path in Lincoln. I started at the visitor center on Rt. 295 since I wasn’t sure if the parking lot down by the Kelly House would be open. I hadn’t been there before, but the visitor center is a great place to access the bike path - and there's a Dunkin Donuts.

The bike path was well traveled with a couple of well-compacted paths right down the middle. I stayed in the fresh snow off to the side, and followed the bike path down to the river to check out the Ashton Dam. Conditions were great - I'd say 6' of light powder on top of a foot of slightly more packed snow. Temperatures were in the 20's, but it didn't seem that cold. The Blackstone Canal was frozen over, but the river was running below the dam. Above the dam, the river was iced over.

From the Ashton Dam, I went up the Lincoln side of the river as far as Rt. 295. This area is absolutely covered with mountain laurel - it must be beautiful when its blooming in the spring. Wikipedia says that mountain laurel grows in large thickets on rocky slopes in forested areas. Well, this area definitely fits the bill. I followed some deer tracks up the slopes and through the mountain laurel. Those deer are very sure-footed - it was quite a climb. I saw lots of tracks and a couple of bedding spots up on the slopes, but no deer.

I was only out for a couple of hours, but it was a good workout. One of my snowshoeing books says that you burn 1,000 calories per hour in powdery snow on hilly terrain, and I believe it.

My Pictures

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snowshoeing at Purgatory Chasm - January 15th

With all the snow we received last week, conditions were perfect yesterday for the RICKA snowshoe trip at Purgatory Chasm State Reservation in Sutton, MA.  

Temp's were in the 20's, but it didn't seem that cold.  Most of the trails were unbroken with 18" to 20" of nice light powder.  The Chasm itself was closed, but there were plenty of other trails to keep us occupied. 

We started on the east side of the Chasm Loop Trail.  This trail meanders through some pretty hemlock groves before meeting the Forest Road Trail below the Chasm.  From there, we hiked up Little Purgatory to the waterfall and back.  We stopped  on the Forest Road Trail for lunch, and headed back to the cars on the Old Purgatory Trail.

 The trip took us a couple of hours, and was only a couple of miles long, but it was still a good time.

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
Purgatory Chasm Trail Map

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year’s Run on Fife Brook – January 2nd

I was hoping to run the Quaboag yesterday, but it was too low and iced up. Instead, we ran the Fife Brook Section of the Deerfield. We had three open boats (Ken, Ed and Erik) and 5 kayaks (Lisa, Denise, Jeff, Al and Andy). The release was around 800 cfs, but it seemed higher with the snowmelt.  The run from Fife Brook was uneventful, and I did a clean run through the gap taking the sneak route on the far right.

My Pictures
Jeff's Pictures and Videos
River description from American Whitewater

Some notes on the Quaboag

I was hoping to run the Quaboag yesterday, but at 3.5’, it was too low and iced in. Here are some comments from Tommy:

I've run it at 3.75 and found it surprisingly fluid except for the last half mile along the road to the takeout. IMO it's a whole lot better between 4' and 5.5'.  If you go I recommend starting up at Lucy Stone Park in West Warren. It's class I - II down to the Mouse Hole, then good steady III pool and drop to the takeout.  One of these days I got to run from Quaboag pond down to Three Rivers. That would  be a LONG day.
Directions – From the Mass Pike take the Palmer exit and follow Route 20 east toward Sturbridge. Bear right under the overpass onto Route 67. Follow Route 67 northeast to the town of Warren. Take the first left after crossing the Quaboag River onto North River Road. Lucy Stone Park is on the left just before crossing the next bridge. This is the put-in for the class II section.

For the take-out of the class II section and the put-in for the class III section follow Route 67 southwest to a dirt pull-off a little ways before the traffic light in West Warren. You will see the river on your right all along Route 67 just watch for the second of two rest area pull-offs.

River Description from American Whitewater
Quabog River at West Brimfield