Tuesday, April 26, 2011

East Branch of the Pemigewasset above Loon

Another river to add to the list - Tommy and Ken ran the East Branch of the Pemi from Lincoln Woods to South Peak in New Hampshire's White Mountains. The level was just under 500 cfs - very boney. Tommy says that it is easier at 600 to 700 cfs.

Tommy's pictures
Ken's video

Monday, April 18, 2011

Paul swims the Quin - April 17, 2011

I finally ran the Quinapoxet River yesterday.  The "Quinny" or "Mighty Quin" is a class II/III run that can be tough to catch. The minimum level for this river is about 8.5 feet. Many people say 9.5 feet is a good level. We ran it yesterday at 11 feet (800 cfs). To say the river was cranking would be an understatement.

Paul and I did the 3-mile section from River Street in Holden to the Wachusett Reservoir in West Boylston. The Mass Central Rail Trail runs along the river for much of the run.  The trip starts with quickwater and some easy class I/II rapids.  Paul took a swim in the opening rapid, and its the only part of the trip that I caught on video.

About 2 miles downstream the action picks up with a class III rapid at the old Springdale Mill.  At this level there were a couple of huge holes at the top, and a couple of huge waves at the bottom.  There was also a large eddy on river left that would be the way to go if you could catch it.

Paul went first and tried to run the rapid straight down the middle.  He flipped in the big holes at the top.  I was at the bottom with my throw bag and threw him a rope, but it was a lousy throw and he couldn't reach it.  When I last saw him, Paul was still in the water about a quarter mile downstream chasing after his boat.  I headed downstream after him, and finally learned from one of the walkers on the Rail Trail that Paul was out of the river and heading downstream after his boat on foot.

When I got back to my boat, I wimped out and portaged the Springdale Rapid.  I scouted the 3-foot drop just downstream of I-190, and decided to portage that as well.  At this level, the river was unforgiving, and I didn't want to lose my boat as well.  I was able to run the rest of the river without incident.  I arrived back at the car to find Paul's gear, but no Paul.  He had walked back upstream looking for me. 

When he arrived back at the car, Paul was interested in another run, but I thought it would be better if we didn't push our luck.

Description from American Whitewater
River Street put-in from Google Maps
Quinapoxet Gage at Canada Mills near Holden

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blackstone Canal/River Loop - April 10, 2011

It was another busy weekend, but I did get out for a couple of hours yesterday on one of my local runs - the Blackstone Canal and River from Lonsdale to Ashton. Lots of people on the nearby bikepath, and lots of fishermen in the river with the start of fishing season.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Quinsigamond River - April 3rd

I spent yesterday doing work around the house, but I had time today to do some paddling. Unfortunately, I slipped getting out of my boat last week on Otter Brook and hurt my knee. I would have loved to paddle the Quaboag with the RICKA WW crew, but I decided to give my knee a rest and go poling instead.  I did the RICKA Flatwater trip on the Quinsigamond River.  

Although the Quinsigamond has many small tributaries and drains a large area, the river itself is only 5 miles long. It flows south from Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, through Snow Marsh and Lake Ripple in Grafton, and into the Fisherville Pond in Fisherville where it merges into the Blackstone River.

I had paddled the Quinsigamond before with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club, but we had always put in at the town-owned access behind Riverview Apartments on Route 122. From there, you can paddle upstream to the dam at Lake Ripple, or downstream to Fisherville Pond.

On this trip, we put in at the Ekblaw Landing off Route 122 and paddled upstream under the Mass Pike and into Snow Marsh – a 59-acre marsh protected by MassWildlife and Ducks Unlimited. We then paddled down into Lake Ripple. The level was low - 1.5 feet, 30 cfs on the North Grafton gage.  It wasn’t the best section for poling, and I didn’t go all the way down Lake Ripple, but it was still fun.

Up on the rails

Mike's pictures
Susan's pictures
Quinsigamond gage in North Grafton