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

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you guys had ideal conditions, considering the time of the year. The other rivers you mention sound interesting also. The Willimantic is probably more my speed.
    Thanks also for providing a new Native American name (Wannomassa) to research. Merry Christmas