Monday, May 30, 2011

River Bend Farm to the Millville Rapid – May 30, 2011

Ran the section of the Blackstone River from River Bend Farm down to the Millville Rapid. We had 7 boats and 8 paddlers - 2 canoes and 5 kayaks. It was nice to have two younger paddlers in the group - Tim and Doug. Don and I paddled tandem.

Day started out cloudy and rainy, but cleared up by mid-day. River was at 3.5 ft, 525 cfs. on the Northbridge gage. There is lots of quickwater on this trip, but the highlights are the broken dam near the Stanley Woolen Mill (Rt. 16) in Uxbridge and the Millville Rapid.

Surfing at the broken dam 
It was a nice way to spend Memorial Day.

My Pictures
Northbridge Gage
River Bend Farm to the Blackstone Gorge from BRVNHC

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Knightville Section of the Westfield - May 22, 2011

Finally got my new boat out yesterday on the Knightvlle section of the Westfield River. This section has it all - class II/III rapids to get the blood pumping, quickwater in between when you need to take a break, and nice scenery in the Gardner State Park. I did the trip yesterday with a group from NPMB - 12 kayaks, 1 canoe. River was running between 900 and 1,000 cfs which is a normal release level.

We put in at the picnic area at the base of the Knightville Dam, and took out at the gazebo on Route 20. The river was mostly class II rock dodging until we entered the gorge in the Gardner State Park. There are two gorge drops in this section. The first is about 25 yards long that I ran to the right. The second is a 4 foot ledge known as the Gorge Drop. It can be seen from upstream by a big rock in the middle of the river. I ran this just to the right of the rock, and moved left to avoid the huge haystacks below. From the Gorge drop down to the take out there are some nice rock gardens separated by sections of quickwater.

My new boat felt a little twitchy at first, but I got use to it. No pictures - my camera is being repaired :-(

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My new boat is ready - May 8, 2011

Actually, its an old boat – older than two of my three kids.

I bought my first Dagger Encore a few years ago. Unfortunately, it got stolen last December from one of my local park-and-play spots when I left it by the side of the road and walked back to get my car. I won’t make that mistake again.

I was happy to get this one from Tommy. For a 20-year-old boat, the hull is in great shape. The outfitting was set up for someone smaller than me, so I ripped it all out and replaced it - Mike Yee outfitting with a 10” pedestal. Tommy would call it a “tower of terror”, but I like it. Its like paddling a Barcalounger.

Now all I need is some time to paddle it. Unfortunately, won't be today.

My Pictures

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I finally ran the Quaboag - April 30, 2011

Mouse Hole
For a couple of years now, I have wanted to run the Quaboag River in central MA. Its not far away – about an hour – and its suppose to be a fun class II/III run. Well, I finally ran it yesterday with a huge group from NPMB. There were 16 boats in all – 2 canoes, 14 kayaks.

The Quaboag flows west from Quaboag Pond in Brookfield to Three Rivers where it joins with the Ware River to form the Chicopee River. There's a nice flatwater section from the Quaboag Pond in Brookfield to Lucy Stone Park in Warren – about 9 miles. We did the section from Lucy Stone Park in Warren to Route 67 in Palmer – about 5 miles.

Trestle Rapid
The first half of the trip was uneventful with easy class I/II rapids. The level was about 4.5 feet, 500 cfs – a low but runnable level. At this level, the river is more technical, but I didn’t find it too bad – definitely easier than New Boston.

The first difficult rapid is Mouse Hole which I ran a little right of center, and did fine. Shortly after Mouse Hole is the Trestle Rapid. I caught the eddy under the trestle on the right side, backed into the eddy on river left, which set me up to catch the eddy in the middle of the rapid. From there, its and easy run through the rocks at the bottom.

The Broken Dam
After a few more class II+ rapids and a portage around a large dam, we ran a large broken dam. I ran it just left of center. Most of the yaks ran it a little further to the right and boofed of the rock at the bottom.

Below the broken Dam is the Angel’s Field Rapid – nothing difficult, just big waves. After the Angel’s Field Rapid we entered the Devils Gorge. The Gorge has three distinct rapids. The first is the most difficult and terminates with a 3-foot drop known at the Quaboag Drop which is run on the right. From there its an easy run to the take out.  For directions to the take out use 733 Boston Road, Palmer, MA.

The Quaboag Drop

My Pictures
Quaboag River Gage at West Brimfield
River Description from American Whitewater