Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - Year-end Review

No paddling for me today due to a bad cold, but 2012 was still a great year for paddling. I try to do at least one big trip each month, and here are some of the more significant ones: 
I did have one scare this year when I wrapped my canoe around a rock while poling below the Manville Dam.  Fortunately some good friends helped me to get it out.

I didn’t do badly on my 2012 resolutions.  I did work on my roll at the RICKA Rolling Clinic, but I still have a lot of work to do. I also did a couple of canoe camping trips including an overnight on the Pawcatuck and a week-long trip in the Adirondack's.

For 2013, I definitely want to do some more camping.

Happy New Year everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Knightville - December 23, 2012

Had a good time yesterday on the Knightville section of the Westfield with Andy and a group from Where’s the Whitewater at?  Nine boats – 8 kayaks and one canoe – I was definitely outnumbered.

The river was at about 2,000 cfs which was higher than I had ever run it.  I had done it twice before at 1,000 cfs which is a nice level with a bit a rock dodging.  At 2,000 cfs the rocks are gone except for the ones that cause large holes and pour-overs.  It was a lot of fun - once I figured out not to follow the kids that aim for the rocks and pour-overs. 

The major feature on this section of the river is the Gorge Drop.  It’s about a 3’ drop with a rock in the middle.  Generally it is run just right of the rock.  At yesterday’s level, most people ran it just left of the rock.  A nice shoot formed making it easy to catch the downstream eddy.  The far left line which avoids the drop all together was also runnable. 

There are usually some nice playspots downstream of the Gorge Drop at the rock garden and bridge, but they were pretty much washed out yesterday.  Run took about 3 hours at a leisurely pace.  No swims to report.  Definitely a good day.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blackstone Gorge - December 16, 2012

It was cold and gray today, but I still felt like paddling.  I wanted to do something close, so I decided on the section of the Blackstone River from the Blackstone Gorge to the Millville Rapids. 

I expected the water level to be low, and was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of water going over the Rolling Dam – it almost looked like the Gorge was runnable.  I was unpleasantly surprised to see ice on the river - not in the main channel, but on most of the side coves and offshoots.  The water temperature dropped below 40° last night for the first time this season – winter is here.    

This is a pretty section of river with lots of history.  There are numerous old railroad bridges crossing the river, one of the few remaining locks from the Blackstone Canal, and the 1828 millworks at the Millville Rapid.  Unfortunately, the battery in my camera died (again) so you will just have to take my word for it.  Here is the only picture that I got.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Assabet River – Stow to Maynard - December 9, 2012

We had a good time yesterday paddling the 5.5 mile section of the Assabet River from Gleasondale in Stow (Gleasondale Road, Rt. 62 near Rockbottom Road - 42.404478,-71.526532) to the Ben Smith Dam in Maynard (Maynard DPW yard entrance near intersection of Winter Street and Boeske Avenue - 42.425389,-71.467738).   We did it as a down-river run, but there is also an intermediate put-in off Sudbury Road (42.41156,-71.508508).  Sudbury Road is just about in the middle so you can easily section paddle in either direction. 

After running the shuttle (which always takes longer than expected), we launched from below the Gleasondale Dam.  With yesterday’s rain, we got a little bump in the water level – 2 feet on the Maynard gage. The river quickly enters pretty marshland and meanders through it for much of the trip. About a mile downstream we took a side trip (river right) through a square culvert and up to a huge beaver dam on Fort Meadow Brook.  About a mile further downstream (also river right) is an outflow stream from Lake Boon. According to Al, the best place to access Lake Boon is from the state launch site on Sudbury Road. While you can paddle up the outflow fairly close to Barton Road, there is no easy way to get up to the roadway.

We took a short break at Crow Island and watched a small plane practice take-offs and landings before heading downstream.  The trip took us about three hours and would make a nice RICKA flatwater trip.

Paddling on the Assabet River with Frank, Paul, Jim, Al and Paul

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pawtuxet River - Lauren Avenue to South Main Street - November 25, 2012

I knew that I wanted to paddle today, but none of my usual haunts caught my interest.  I checked out Jim Cole's book, and decided to drive down to Coventry to paddle the South Branch of the Pawtuxet from Lauren Avenue to South Main Street. 

I launched near the bike path where a new boat launch was under construction.  This section of the river is about 3-miles long and twists and turns through a large marsh surrounded by houses.  With leaves on the tress the houses would be less noticeable, but that wasn’t the case today.  It was cold and windy, and no matter which way I paddled, I always seemed to be paddling into the wind.  Still, I made it up the dam at South Main Street with no problem and turned around to head back downstream. 

Overall, a nice trip – I would do it again.  I need to explore other sections of the Pawtuxet.

South Branch of the Pawtuxet in Coventry

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Farmington Poling – November 17, 2012

With Chuck below the Goodwin Dam
We had a nice group yesterday on the Riverton Section of the Farmington.  Chuck and I joined Tommy, Matt, Scott, Fred and Sharon on 10-mile poling/paddling trip.

This was the first trip I did with Matt and Scott back in 2006, and I had forgotten how much I like this section of the river.  It was running at about 500 CFS (400CFS from Goodwin Dam and 100 CFS from the Still River) which is great for poling, and not bad for paddling.  Flatwater sections are interspersed with quickwater.  At higher water levels some class I/II rapids develop.  The river runs through the American Legion/Peoples State Forests.

Chuck in the High Bank Rapid
We put-in below the Goodwin Dam off Hogback Road.  The initial section was shallow and rocky, but would be a fun class I/II at higher water levels.  Matt and I poled up to the Goodwin Dam before joining the group to head downstream.  After passing the old Hitchcock Chair Factory the Still River joins on the left adding to the flow.  The river then enters the American Legion/Peoples State Forests.  We stopped for lunch at the picnic area in the Peoples State Forest before continuing downstream. 

Fishermen lined the banks as we entered the Farmington River Trout Management Area.  We got a few scowls as we passed, but most of the fishermen were OK.  The flatwater/quickwater continued down to the Route 44 bridge.  We took out at the parking lot at the Satan’s Kingdom State Recreation Area (GPS 41.8567, -72.9583).  After a beer and burger at the Crown and Hammer Pub in Collinsville we headed home.  Another great day, but aren’t they all!

Lots of different canoes!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

River Island Park - November 11, 2011

Did something today that I haven’t done in ages – took my whitewater boat down to River Island Park. 

Paddling at River Island Park hasn’t been the same since my old Encore was stolen there in December 2010.  Carrying the boat back the car is a pain, and leaving it behind to walk back to the car isn’t an option either.  Today I brought the portage cart that I bought for my Adirondack trip, and it worked out great.  I wheeled the boat back about half a mile to the car.  I did get some interesting looks as I portaged through downtown Woonsocket – that’s not something that people see everyday.

The river was at t nice level – 2.5 feet, 550 cfs.  Seems like it should have been boney, but is wasn’t.  I spent some time at the surf waves at the Bernon Bridge, the Court Street Bridge, the Railroad Bridge, the Pipe and the Power Lines.  I was too lazy to drag the boat all the way up to the dam - maybe next time.

Wheeling back to my car along the flood control levy

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween on the Piscat - October 27, 2012

Had a good time yesterday with Paul, Jeff and Bob at the MVP/AMC Halloween Release and BBQ on the Piscataquog River in Goffstown. Release was 5.5 ft, 850 CFS.  Nice crowd as usual, and the steak tips at the BBQ were great. I was 50/50 on my surf attempts above the bridge – 4 attempts, 2 swims. It was nice to paddle with Mike Rock and to see Marshall Moore who was doing some poling down by the take out. Great day as always.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wood/Pawcatuck Foliage Tour - October 21, 2012

The rain took most of the foliage off the trees, but it was still nice to get out for Jim’s annual fall foliage trip on the Wood/Pawcatuck.  We had 17 boats paddling the section from  Alton to Bradford. With the rain on Friday, the river was at a nice level and relatively fast - even the broken dam at Burdickville had water (3 feet, 500 cfs on the Wood River Junction gage).  We stopped for lunch at the Burlingame campsites and pulled into Bradford around 1:30. Quick trip - nice day.

The Broken Dam at Burdickville from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

My Video
My Pictures

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Long Lake to Saranac Village - September 17-21, 2012

The crew - Bill, Chuck, Erik, Mike, Jeff and Tommy
For years, I have been coming up with reasons why I couldn’t go with Mike, Chuck, Bill and the rest of the crew on one of their canoe camping adventures.  I did do the Androscoggin and North Branch of the Ammonoosuc with them a couple of years ago, but that didn’t involve camping.  This time, I decided it was time to take the plunge. We would be paddling a section of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Long Lake to Saranac Village – 5 days, 4 nights. 

The crew included Mike, Chuck, Bill, Jeff and Tommy.  We put in at the Long Lake Boat Ramp on Monday morning.  It was sunny and warm, and we had the wind to our backs.  The scenery was amazing.  We paddled from Long Lake into the Raquette River and camped at the Deep Hole lean-to near the Cold River. 

View of the mountains from Long Lake
We awoke Tuesday morning to a cloudy day.  Rain was expected, so we broke camp quickly and continued down the Raquette River to our first portage – Raquette Falls.  Rain started shortly after we took to the river, and it was poring heavily by the time we reach the portage.  This portage is about a mile long with rocks, roots and hills which make using a cart difficult.  Most of the crew started down the trail with packs.  I followed Jeff’s lead, attached the portage yoke to my boat, and headed down the trail with my boat on my shoulders and my large pack on my back.  It was a tough haul, but I made it through.  On my second trip, I was able to carry the rest of my gear.  I took a hike to the Raquette Falls while the rest of the crew finished the portage.

Our campsite for the evening was only a mile downstream at the Palmer Brook Lean-to.  We set up camp in the rain, and settled in for a long, soggy evening.  Fortunately, I was able to keep all my gear dry. 

Jeff and Chuck in Stony Creek Pond
The sun came up Wednesday on a beautiful day.  We paddled down the Raquette River and up Stony Creek to the Stony Creek Pond for our second major portage – the Indian Carry.  This is a 1-mile portage that would take us into Upper Saranac Lake.  Fortunately, we were able to use carts for this portage.  We put in on Upper Saranac Lake and paddled about a mile to our next campsite on a point jutting out into the lake.

Mist covered the lake as we awoke on Thursday.  It was just beginning to burn off as we paddled the mile to our next portage – the Bartlett Carry, which would take us to the Saranac River and Middle Saranac Lake.  Once again, the day was sunny and warm, and the scenery was spectacular with mountains surrounding the lake. 

Morning mist on Upper Saranac Lake
Below Middle Saranac Lake, we continued down the Saranac River, through the upper lock and into Lower Saranac Lake.  After passing through Lower Saranac Lake, we stopped to camp at a lean-to site on the Saranac River above Oseetah Lake.

We awoke on Friday to a cloudy day, and began the last phase of our journey to Saranac Village.  We paddled down the Saranac River and passed through the lower lock before entering Oseetah Lake.  From there it was a short scenic paddle to Saranac Village and the end of our trip. 

Long Lake to Saranac Village from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Northern Forest Canoe Trail
My Pictures
My Video

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Stuck in a hole… September 8, 2012

I guess it had to happen eventually, and when it did, I didn’t even realize what was going on.

We did our annual RICKA Flatwater/Whitewater trip yesterday on the Fife Brook Section of the Deerfield. Release was at a nice level - 1,100 cfs.  Most of the flatwater paddlers portaged Zoar Gap, but a few of the whitewater paddlers decided to run it. I got video of everyone else coming through, and then went up for my run. My plan was to hug the right side, but as usual, I got pushed to far left and swamped in the big hole at the bottom.

I ended up in the water and remember thinking that I was staying underwater for a long time. Usually I pop right up. After a couple of seconds I hit bottom which was really weird – that never happens. I pushed off the bottom (whacking my knee in the process) and tried to swim back up. It took a couple of seconds, but eventually I broke the surface. My boat was right there, so I grabbed on and started kicking hard toward the nearest eddy.

I thought it was odd at the time, but it wasn’t until after we finished the trip that Andy (who happened to be sitting nearby) explained what probably happened – I got sucked under in the hole. Thinking about it, it’s the only explanation that makes sense for why I remained underwater so long and went down so deep. Fortunately, it wasn't a keeper, so I just continued downstream. I would have been in big trouble if I got sucked down again without big breath of air. Yikes – that’s a scary thought.

Here's my video of the rest of the RICKA crew:

Running Zoar Gap from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

My Pictures

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Manville Dam – September 4, 2012

I didn’t have a lot of time to paddle today, so I decided to check out the progress of the new park down at the Manville Dam.  I put in at Rivers Edge and paddled down to Manville.  I saw several herons along the way, but they are elusive and won’t hang around for a picture. 

The park looks like it is done, but it is still fenced off.  The new dock and boat ramp are in place.  I like the way they exposed the old mill race which runs to the old Manville Mill site across the street.

Hopfully it will be open soon.

New dock and boat ramp

Sunday, August 26, 2012

New Hampshire paddling recommendations from Tommy

  • Squam Lake is nice.
  • Umbagog Lake(NH-ME), Richardson Lake(ME), and Lake Mooslookmaguntic(ME) are nice. All have campsites available. None are truly wilderness (but what is?)
  • Aziscohos is reputed to be nice as well.
  • The Magalloway from below the rapids down into Umbagog is a quiet water gem. If the wind is daunting on Umbagog the Magalloway is lovely.
  • The Androscogin between Umbagog and the Errol Dam is nice and quiet (mostly). Some years back I saw a large otter family as well as a nut in a Cigarette Boat all in the same paddle.
  • The Saco from North Conway down can be nice when it's not overrun with drunken dorks.
  • The Pemi below Woodstock is sweet if you don't mind a bit of current. Class I with one Class II in Thornton then Quick to quiet water all the way to Ayers Island Dam in Bristol, NH

River Bend Farm to Rt. 122 - August 25, 2012

It’s been one of those busy weekends, and the only time that I had to paddle was early Saturday morning.  Fortunately, Linda and Bob were able to paddle then as well. We decided to run the section of the Blackstone River from River Bend Farm to Rt. 122 in Uxbridge.  The level was low (3.5 feet) but runnable – if you were careful about avoiding the gravel banks. 

Bob running the broken dam at Rt. 16

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cold Spring Park – August 21, 2012

I was the leader for the last Blackstone Valley Paddle Club trip of the summer at Cold Spring Park in Woonsocket. The scenery isn’t the best, but the sunset more than made up for it. Summer is coming to an end, but fall paddling is even better.

Sunset over Cold Spring Park

Monday, August 13, 2012

Blackstone Canal/River Loop – August 12, 2012

With the rain we had last week, the Blackstone River came up enough for a run on the Canal/River loop.  I put in at the Bike Path in Lonsdale and paddled up the Canal to Ashton.  I was surprised at the number of trees that were down in the Canal, although I was able to paddle over or around all of them.

I crossed over into the Blackstone River below the Falls in Ashton.  The river was low but fluid.  A couple of fishermen were taking advantage of the rare summer flow to cast their lines in the shallow water below the Falls.  

Lots of people on the Bike Path, but I only saw one other boat on the water – a couple with a big tandem canoe took out above the Pratt Dam just as I did.  They were taking a rest before portaging that beast over the dam to the Canal - better them than me.

Fishermen below the Ashton Dam

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods - August 11, 2012

Took the canoe out yesterday with my favorite paddling partner - my wife Michelle.  We did a lap around the Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods.
Olney Pond, named after one of the area’s principal families. In the early 1800s, the Olney’s created a dam at the eastern end of their property offering a fall of water sufficient to run a thread mill about a century before the park was created. Thread Mill Brook leads southeasterly from the dam to other ponds along the Moshassuck as it loops its way back to Providence.

Small islands dot this 126-acre pond. The shores are surrounded by woodland filled with red and white oak, dogwood, hickory, and red maple as well as ferns and wildflowers. The pond’s edge is lined with granite and quartz boulders. Migratory waterfowl such as cormorants, mallards, American black ducks, mergansers, and ring-necked ducks stop at the pond during migrating seasons.

 It wasn't very crowded, and there was a nice breeze on the water.

Exploring one of the many coves.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lake Maspenok – August 4, 2012

I was trying to decide where to go paddling this morning, but I wasn’t very excited about any of my usual trips.  I decided to check the RICKA Flatwater Message Board and saw a post from Frank for a trip at Lake Maspenok in Hopkinton, MA.  It sounded good to me. 

Lake Maspenok (also known as North Pond) is one of four lakes in Hopkinton including Whitehall State Park and Hopkinton State Park. The lake is about two miles long and reminds me a lot of Spring Lake.  There must be a lot of fish in the lake since there was a fishing tournament taking place today.  The lake is also open to all types of watercraft.  We saw some great water skiers, and a few jet skis as we left.

We put in from a small landing on West Main Street in Hopkinton.  We paddled down the west side of the lake past the summer cottages that line the shore to an old dam at the far end. From the old dam, we paddled back up along the east side which has a few interesting coves to explore.

It only took us a couple of hours to paddle around the lake, but it turned out to be a nice trip. 

My pictures

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Swam the Gap - again - July 28, 2012

Had a good time yesterday with Paul, Fran and Charlie on the Deerfield River.  We ran the section from the Fife Brook Dam down to the Shunpike Rest Area.

When I left my house it was bright and sunny.  By the time we got on the water, the rain had moved in and it rained for most of the afternoon. The scheduled release was 950 cfs., but with the rain, it seemed a little higher.

We had two successful runs through the gap and one swim – me.  I tried to run the right line, but got too far left and filled up with water going through hole.  I remember trying to brace, but swam in the big waves just downstream. Tommy says that I need to turn the motor on and PADDLE - good advice.  At least I provided a real live example of safe swimming for a Zoar rescue class that was practicing below the Gap.  My boat made it all the way down the bridge before someone snagged it.

Zoar Gap - Deerfield River from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A twisted canoe story - more fun at the Manville Dam - July 9, 2012

Tommy says that poling is tough on boats, and he’s right – at least the way I do it. 

It was beautiful last Sunday, so I decided to head to my favorite poling spot on the Blackstone River.  It has some nice moving water and a couple of easy drops.  I had poled up and back five or six times when it happened – I hit a rock and did a "step-out" (fell out of the boat).  I watched in what seemed like slow motion as the boat filled up with water and pinned against a row of rocks.  I knew there was no way I was getting that boat out alone.

Fortunately I have a few friends (Jim, Paul, Tom and Steve) who enjoy a challenge, and we met Monday night to try to release the boat.  Jim ran the lines – wrapping the boat for rotation and setting up a 3 to 1 pull.  We all grabbed the lines with anticipation and pulled ... nothing.  The boat didn’t move.  We tried setting the lines higher ... still nothing.   We pushed on the boat and pulled ... still nothing.  There was too few of us, and too much water in the boat.

We knew we had to get some water out of the upstream end, but how?  Paul had the answer – an old 2x8 that he used as a lever to lift the boat.  Paul lifted, we pulled, and the boat rotated slightly forward.  Now we were getting somewhere.  We repeated the process over and over, slowly rotating the boat forward.  Eventually, Paul and Steve got bored with this process, and they gave the boat a good push.  Surprisingly, it swung out into the current, taking Jim with it.  The boat was free.

Nothing was broken, but the bottom was warped and the gunwales were bent.  We dragged it up on shore and I stomped on the bottom.  It popped back into shape - amazing. There was a crease in the hull where it wrapped and the gunwales weren’t as straight as they use to be.  Other than, that the boat was in good shape. I paddled it back to the put-in.

The moral of the story is have patience, don’t give up and always have a few good friends to help you out. Thanks guys.

Jim and Steve setting the lines

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Third time is definitely not the charm – Manville Dam – July 8, 2012

I went back to the Manville Dam today with my Mohawk tandem to do some poling.  I did 5 or 6 runs without a problem, and should have quit while I was ahead.  I did one more run, and ended up with a pinned boat.  River is dropping, so hopefully I can get it free over the next couple of days.

Ouch - it hurts just looking at it!

"Park and Play' at Manville Dam - July 7, 2012

Went back to Manville Dam again - this time with my whitewater boat.  Between 200 cfs and 300 cfs, the section below the dam makes a nice "park and play" spot.  I'm still playing around with iMovie, but I'm getting better - figured out how to adjust volume and crop video clips.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pemi/Bristol Release Levels

The following appeared on the NPMB message board about releases on the Pemi at Bristol:
If there is a heavy rain during the week, they will often release 1,200 cfs to 1,500 cfs on Saturday, and sometimes on Sunday. You can run it as low as 500 cfs, but 1,200 cfs to 1,500 cfs is more fun.  Over 1,500 cfs and it starts to wash out. When nothing else is running even 800 cfs is fun. 
Pemigewasset River at Plymouth

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Albion to Manville…again – July 3, 2012

I was back in Albion on Tuesday night for the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club trip to Manville. It was a nice summer night – sunny and warm.  We had a good turnout with around 30 boats. It’s a leisurely flatwater paddle up to Manville. About half the boats portaged the first rocky ledge and made their way up to the bridge. Five of us the carried up to the dam to run the quickwater back down.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Albion to Manville - June 30, 2012

I'll be leading the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club this week, so I went down to scout the trip from Albion to Manville.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Day on Fife Brook - June 23, 2102

It rained on the way out.  It rained on the way back.  In between, we had a great day (sunny and warm) on the Fife Brook section of the Deerfield River.

Surfing at Carbis Bend
This was my first trip to the Deerfield since the extensive flooding on the Deerfield during Hurricane Irene last year.  We had a small group – Earl, Jeff, Paul and me. The release was scheduled to be 800 cfs, but it was closer to 900 cfs on the Charlemont gage.  Not a bad level, but I don't think I would want to run it much lower.

We ran the shuttle and got on the river around 11:00.  I had heard that there would be a lot of changes as a result of the flooding, but I was still surprised at how much had changed. 
  • Hangover Helper at the start of the run was bigger, but there is an easy line to the right. 
  • Carbis Bend has a much smaller surf wave, and the midstream rock that was great for side surfing is gone.
  • The wave train and surf hole above the railroad bridge at Freight Train are gone, although a new surf spot developed at the ledge downstream
  • Pinball is unaffected, but the wave trains and surf spots below it around Miami Beach are gone.
Some of the biggest changes occurred around Zoar Gap. The Gap is now considerably narrower, and the sneak route on the far right is gone – filled with rocks from the reconstruction of the road above. The easiest line, and the one I took, is now center right. The left line is still there - maybe I’ll try it next time.


Dryway Run from Wavehopper

If I ever get brave, maybe I'll run the Dryway.  Then again...maybe not!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

River Bend Farm with the BVPC – June 19, 2012

Had a good time yesterday with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge.

The river was at a nice level – 2.8 feet, 525 cfs in the Northbridge gage – fluid but not particularly difficult.  I think it had dropped a little from when I scouted this section on Saturday.  We had about 30 boats - the largest group so far this season.

Ranger Chuck joined us on this trip and he gave a nice talk on river reading and river skills.  We would need those skills as we worked our way down the twists and turns in the river section.  We had two swims, but nothing serious.  Stopped for ice cream at Pirates Cove - can't beat that.

Ranger Chuck does the safety talk

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pawcatuck River – Potter Hill to Westerly – June 11, 2012

I headed down to South County yesterday to run the Pawcatuck River from Potter Hill to Westerly with the RICKA Flatwater group.  The river was at a nice level – 5ft., 550 cfs. on the Westerly gage.  We had a large group – 21 boats, 3 canoes and 18 kayaks.

We put-in a little upstream, but the normal put-in would be off Laurel Street just downstream from the Potter Hill Dam in Ashaway. We spent some time playing in the waves below the dam before moving downstream.

Below Potter Hill the river is mostly flatwater running though woods and fields for 3 ½ miles until it reaches the White Rock Dam.  The dam can be portaged on the right, but we ran the millrace to the left.  It is often described as class II whitewater, but it was more like quickwater/class I yesterday.  There is one nice playhole, and we found Duke Wavewalker enjoying the hole with a couple of friends. 

Below White Rock, the River is mostly flatwater with one short quickwater section before we reached downtown Westerly.  We took out at the boat ramp on Main Street.

Getting some pictures of the action below the Potter Hill Dam

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blackstone Canal/River Loop - Jun 9, 2009

Got up early, skipped the gym, and headed out to paddle the canal/river loop from Lonsdale to Ashton. River was little low (2 ft., 550 cfs. on the Woonsocket Gage), but not a bad level.

Blackstone River/Canal Loop from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Evening in “Beaver-Dam-Land” - June 5, 2012

It was too cloudy to see the Venus Transit, but it turned out to be a nice night for a relaxing paddle with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club in “Beaver-Dam-Land” on the Nipmuc River.  With the rain last weekend, the river was at a nice level – 3 ft., 30 cfs on the Harrisville gage.  We paddled upstream and portaged over two beaver dams before turning around at the “Land-of-Blown-Down-Trees” Along the way we saw a small fawn sleeping along the side of river.  We explored the beaver pond before returning back to the take-out - nice night.


Monday, June 4, 2012

RICKA Trip on the Assabet - June 3, 2012

The rain held off, and we had a nice group on the Assabet River – 18 boats – 3 canoes, 15 kayaks.  With the rains on Saturday, the river had come up nicely – 3 feet on the Maynard gage.  We ran the section from the Acton Canoe Launch to Lowell Street in Concord. Everyone made it through the broken dam.  Trip ended at Minuteman National Park.  Great day
The Red Coats are coming - Erik, Tom and Jim
at Minuteman National Park

Monday, May 28, 2012

Assabet - Acton to Concord - May 28, 2012

I met up with Al today to scout the Assabet from Acton to Concord for next weekend’s flatwater trip. This section is mostly flatwater, but has enough quickwater to keep things interesting.  Level was 2' on the Maynard gage - much less and it would start to get scratchy.  Here is Al running the broken dam.
My pictures
Al's blog
Maynard gage

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wood/Pawcatuck Camping - May 19 - 20, 2012

Heading downstream
It only takes me a few minutes to pack for a business trip – throw a few cloths in the overnight bag and hope for the best. That was not the case as I prepared for my first canoe camping trip. I spent a couple of weeks getting my gear together.

The trip took place on a pleasant section of the Wood/Pawcatuck Rivers between Hopkinton and Bradford. The plan was to camp at the paddle-in campsites at the Burlingame Management Area. After running the shuttle, we put-in on the Wood River behind Dow Field. The river starts off narrow and we immediately had two large blow-downs to negotiate.

Lee running the first dam
Our first portage was also just downstream at the dam for the old Hope Valley Mill. We portaged on the left and put into the quickwater below the dam. Below the Hope Valley Mill is another low dam at the gauging station. Fortunately at this level (2.5 ft, 180 cfs at Hope Valley; 3.5 ft, 100 cfs at Arcadia), the river was high enough to run this dam.

By this time, we had been on the river for a couple of hours, but had only travelled a mile downstream. We stopped for lunch at the Switch Road Landing before continuing our trip.  Below Switch Road, the river is wooded and scenic. The river turned more marsh-like as it approached the second portage at the Woodville Dam. Below the Woodville Dam is river is deeper with good current.

Setting up camp
As we approached the final portage at the Alton Dam, we could see that a large group of boy scouts was already gathered at the take-out. We carried through the group, along the way learning that they also planned to stay at the Burlingame camp sites. We put-in down the steep bank at the bottom of the dam, and once we got back on the water, regrouped to discuss our plans for the night.

Knowing that the Burlingame camp sites would be crowded, we decided to change our plans and camp a little further upstream at the Woods Fishing Access. Up a steep hill from the river, we found a large fire ring and a pleasant pine grove. There was plenty of room for three tents and two hammocks. We set up camp, cooked supper and sat back to enjoy the evening campfire.

Running the broken dam
On Sunday, we broke camp early and began our trip down to Bradford Landing. We ran the broken dam at Burdickville and stopped to check out the Burlingame campsites. While there were some open sites, we all agreed that we made the right decision to camp upstream.

We continued downstream to Bradford which was the official end of our trip. Jim and I decided to extend the trip a little longer and continue down the Pawcatuck to check out the campsites at the Grills Preserve of the Westerly Land Trust just downstream. It was pleasant paddle down, but a little more work paddling back up against the current to our cars. I arrived home by 1:00 after a great weekend trip.

Wood River gage near Hope Valley
Wood River gage near Arcadia