Wednesday, June 12, 2013

North Branch of the Pawtuxet – June 12, 2013

Hope Furnace Dam
I have a new favorite river – the North Branch of the Pawtuxet.  It reminds me a little of the Shepaug, and runs about as frequently.

We put in at the Hope Furnace Dam just downstream from the popular flatwater paddling spot and fishing area.  The water here is the cleanest in the state coming directly from the Scituate Reservoir.  We had four boats – three kayaks (Duke, Pat and Mike) and one canoe (guess who).  The river level was…?  That’s actually a good question since there are no gages on this section of the river.  I guess it’s safe to say that when the Pawtuxet  is in flood, this section will be running. 

Duke at the put-in
This is a short run - about 1.5 miles.  The river is pretty much continuous class II with lots of long wave trains.  The banks are overgrown, so there are not a lot of shore eddies – you need to catch surf waves on the fly. 

The most difficult rapid on the river is about a mile down where the river takes a sharp left turn.  The best route is to catch the big eddy on the right after the turn, and then ferry left to avoid the ledge, and then enjoy the long wave train.  A little further downstream is Mamba Eater – a nasty lowhead dam.  Stay left close to the wall to avoid the hole.

We took out at the Lavelee Street Bridge just above the Arkwright Dam.  Except for that low head dam, it was a great run.  I can tell because I didn’t take many pictures.

The Mamba Eater - stay left to avoid the hole

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