Sunday, March 25, 2012

Otter Brook - March 24, 2012

Pat - the new guy
After a warm, snowless winter, it's turning out to be a warm, dry spring. Not much natural flow, so I think we will be chasing dam releases this spring - along with everyone else. This weekend was Otter Brook in Keene, NH.

When we arrived at the put-in, a large group had already gathered. NHAMC was running a trip, and there was also a group of open boaters from NE Riverrunners. The RICKA contingent included the usual suspects - me, Jeff, Paul and Andy - along with a new guy Pat. Pat had paddled with us last week on the Branch.

Running Otter Ledge
After running the shuttle, we put-in at around 11:00. The dam released at 300 cfs as advertised. At this level, the lower section is a nice class II with lots of rocks to dodge, plenty of eddies to catch and some easy surf waves. We worked out way downstream catching eddies and surfing waves.

After a short break for lunch, everyone ran the Otter Ledge without incident. Andy eddied out behind the rock on the right, and then ran the drop. Jeff, Paul and Pat bounced over the rocks going right. I bounced over the big wave going left.

Andy does some surfing
No swims to report, but Pat did have one close call near the bottom. He pulled off a nice save, but broke his paddle in the process. We arrived at the take out around 2:00. First group on, last group off - great day.

My Pictures
My Video - Jeff, Paul and Pat Run Otter Ledge
Andy's pictures on Facebook
Otter Brook Gage

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Branch River Icebreaker – March 17, 2012

Water levels are still low, so I was back poling on the Branch River yesterday with the RICKA crew at the annual “icebreaker” paddle.

Heading downstream
There was definitely no ice to break this year, and not much water either. We ran the section from Harrisville to Nasonville - about seven miles. It’s mostly flatwater with some quickwater and three short class II drops. For many years, this was the site of the RI Whitewater Championships. The race is now gone, but we still try to get a group together to run the Branch on the traditional third weekend in March.

We had a mixed group – 4 polers (Mike, Tommy, Jeff, and me), 1 solo canoe (Jim), 1 tandem canoe (Kevin and his son Nate), 1 kayak (Patrick) and 1 tandem kayak paddled solo (Rich). Temperatures were in the 60’s, and the water level was low - 95 cfs. on the Forestdale gage. We ran the shuttle and were on the river by 11:00.

Kevin and Nate below Glendale
The small rapid at the put-in was unrunnable due to the low water, so we all put in a little further downstream. That pretty much set the tone for the day. The flatwater sections were shallow. The quickwater sections were bony. The drops were unrunnable – except for Patrick who did mange to bounce his way down all three in his short kayak.

In spite of the low water, we all had a good time. We took a nice break for lunch at the Oakland Dam. Rich spent some time poling his tandem kayak – a new convert. We pulled into the take-out around 3:30 after another great day.

My Pictures
Jim's Pictures
Forestdale Gage
River description from American Whitewater