Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pawcatuck – Shannock to Richmond - February 2, 2013

Running the Lower Shannock Falls -
photo by Tommy Taylor
It was much colder than I expected (not sure why I was expecting it to be warm) but we had a good time just the same running the Pawcatuck River from Shannock to Richmond.  We had six boats – four canoes (Tommy, Jeff, Jim and me) and two kayaks (Duke and Andy).  The river was at a nice level – 300 CFS, 3 feet on the Wood River Junction Gage.

We met at the Richmond Dam at 10:30 and ran the shuttle up to Shannock .  There is a new put-in on Railroad Street below the Lower Shannock Falls that allows you to skip the reconstructed rapids, but we went up to the old put-in in Shannock Village.  Duke gracefully slid into the water, headed over to a wave below the Horseshoe Falls, and promptly flipped into the icy water.  He rolled up a few seconds later, but I remember thinking that the water must be cold.  It would be my turn to find out soon enough.

Yup - I took on a little water -
photo by Tommy Taylor
We headed downstream to run the Lower Shannock Falls.  Jim didn’t have his drysuit, so he decided to line his boat on the right side.  The boat ended up swamping at the bottom of the rapid, but Jim was happy because he stayed dry. 

The rest of us ran the falls pretty much down the middle.  The big rock that use to be at the bottom of the rapid to provide a rest eddy for fish travelling up stream has been removed, so it’s actually a pretty easy run.  The solo boats definitely took in some water at the bottom, but the big tandem that Jeff was paddling ran it dry. 

Duke in the Carolina Raceway
While Jim was bailing out his boat, I decided to do some surfing in the wave at the bottom of the rapid.  It didn’t take me long to get swung sideways and flip as I tried to sidesurf.  Yup – that water is COLD!  Tommy did a nice boat-over-boat recovery to get me back in my boat, and we were soon on our way again. 

The river was flatwater until reached the Route 112 Bridge and entered the old Carolina Mill raceway.  At this level, the raceway was quickwater with a couple of small waves and a couple of rocks to dodge.

Downstream from the raceway is the Carolina Canoe Campsite where we stopped for lunch.  Jim got a nice fire going, and we had a good time trading war stories.  From there it’s only a mile or so down to the Richmond Dam.  We ran the dam and did a little surfing before packing up and enjoying some pizza nearby.  As always, a great day.

Surfing below the Richmond Dam - photo by Tommy Taylor
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