Sunday, October 27, 2013

Piscat Drawdown and BBQ - October 26, 2013

The annual Piscat drawdown and BBQ has become something of a ritual.  It's not a very difficult paddle, but the steak tips are sure good.

This was actually the first whitewater trip that I did after I attended the NHAMC Whitewater School back in 2005. It seemed much bigger then, and I was glad just to make it down the river without swimming.  It got me started on a great hobby, so it holds a special place in my heart.

We had the usual crew for this trip - me, Paul, Andy and Jeff, and one new addition - Mike.  We met at the dam at 9:30 and ran the shuttle to the new take out behind the County Center and Prison.  It was nice to skip the long flatwater section at the end.  Level was 5.5 feet on the Goffstown gage.

I don't think it was as crowded this year as it has been in the past. There were still a lot of people, but fewer that I knew.  There were definitely fewer canoes.  We put in around 10:00 and headed down stream.  There are a couple of short wave trains, and a couple of nice surf spots along the way.  The best is a great hole for side surfing just above the bridge.  It has become a bit of a tradition for me to swim in this hole.  It seems that I do it every year, and this year was no exception.  At least every year my swims get a little longer.  

I headed into the hole and worked my way over the the side surfing spot.  Once in, I got spun around, but managed to back paddle into a back surf.  I got spun again, this time with my paddle downstream, so I decided to do some side surfing.  It lasted a little while before I did my traditional swim.

We paddled the rest of the way down to the take out and got of the water around 12:30.  The rest of the crew went to the BBQ.  I went to Family Weekend at St. A's. Another good day. 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

River Island Park to Manville - October 19, 2013

Frank below the Court Street Bridge
I wasn’t sure where to paddle this weekend, but when I saw Earl post a trip on the RICKA flatwater message board for early morning run from River Island Park to Manville, I had my answer. 

This would be the third weekend in a row that I stayed close to home and paddled the Blackstone River.  The foliage was nice, but maybe a little muted.  I enjoyed it just the same.  In a few weeks the leaves will drop and everything will look very different.

Earl approaching the take out
We ran the shuttle and got on the river around 9:30.  The level was low, but runnable – 1.5 feet, 300 cfs. on the Woonsocket gage.  It was boney below the Bernon Street Bridge and the power lines, but at least we didn’t have to get out of our boats. 

We paddled along at a leisurely pace below Hamlet Avenue Bridge and arrived at Manville around 11:00.  I was home by noon – nice day.

Fall colors at the takeout

Sunday, October 13, 2013

River Bend Farm Canal/River Loop – October 12, 2013

The morning started off cloudy, but looked like it was going to clear up, so I decided to head up to Uxbridge to run the Canal/River loop at River Bend Farm. Unfortunately, the further north I drove, the cloudier it got.  It ended up being an overcast trip, but at least the drizzle held off until I got home.

I put in at the Hartford Avenue Bridge and paddled into Rice City Pond to check out the foliage – there wasn’t much to see.   The rain and strong wind last week took out much of the foliage.  I did find Frank and a friend out for a morning paddle.

With nothing to see in Rice City Pond, I crossed over into the river. Once again, the foliage was pretty sparse.  The level was 3.2 feet on the Northbridge gage – low but runnable. I had to get out of my boat at the end of the canal near the Rice City Dam, and quickly sank up to my hips in muck.  Fortunately, I was able to use my boat to get over to shore.

Hartford Avenue Bridge

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blackstone Gorge - Bridge Street to Rolling Dam - October 5, 2013

Rolling Dam
I had a couple hours to paddle, so I decided to check out the foliage in the Blackstone Gorge. It was cloudy and overcast, so it wasn't the best day for pictures.

I paddled from Bridge Street in Blackstone up to the Blackstone Gorge. This section of the river doesn't get paddled very often because its difficult to access, which is a shame because its a pretty section of river. The Branch River joins the Blackstone about half way up, and then you enter the Blackstone Gorge.

Blackstone Gorge
At a reasonable level, the Blackstone Gorge is a short class III run with a series of ledges followed by a rocky drop at the end. Unfortunately, the water is usually drawn off by a nearby hydroelectric plant, so it rarely runs at what I think is a reasonable level. When its big, its really big.

For what its worth,  Millville gage was about 3.8 feet and the Route 122 in Uxbridge gage was about 7 feet.  Here’s what the run looked like:

My pictures
Millville gage
Route 122 in Uxbridge gage