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 Woonsocket.org
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