Sunday, May 6, 2012

Upper Wood River - May 6, 2012

After several weekends filled with yard work, I was looking forward to getting out on the water, but there weren’t a lot of options. I was thinking about Fife Brook, or maybe Otter Brook, until I saw a post for the upper Wood River on the RICKA Flatwater Message Board.

The Wood River flows 25 miles from its source near Sterling, CT to the Village of Alton where it merges with the Pawcatuck. There are two sections of the Wood River which are populare with paddlers – the upper Wood River from Route 165 in Exeter to the Wyoming Dam with a portage at the Barberville Dam, and the lower Wood River from Hope Valley Landing to Alton with a portage at the Woodville Dam. I had done the lower section a couple of times in the past, but had never paddled the upper section, so the upper Wood River it would be.

I arrived at the put-in on Route 165 at 10:00 and was surprised to see that most of the paddlers had already arrived. I was also surprised at the number of canoes on this trip. In total there were 13 boats – 9 canoes and 4 kayaks. Maybe we should rename the club the Rhode Island Canoe Association.

We ran the shuttle and were on the water by 11:00. The river starts off shallow (2.5 ft, 118 cfs at Hope Valley; 3 ft, 50 cfs at Arcadia) and twists and turns through the woodlands of the Arcadia Management Area. After a couple of miles, the river openned up as we paddled into Frying Pan Pond. A Bald Eagle soared overhead – the first I had seen in Rhode Island.

We stopped for lunch at the Barberville Dam which is also the headquarters for the Wood Pawcatuck Watershead Association. There are two portages around the Barberville Dam. The right portage allows paddlers to avoid the quickwater below the dam. Chuck and I took the left portage and ran the short rapid below the Barbarville Dam.

The quickwater continued below the dam untill Skunk Hill Road where the impoundment for the Wyoming Dam begins. We paddled into a strong headwind until we reached the Wyomingt Dam. I had a beer with Chuck and Jim before heading home. Another great day.


Links:
My pictures
Wood River gage near Hope Valley
Wood River gage near Arcadia

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