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

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