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