Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 – Year-end Review

Unfortunately, I need to work on New Years Eve, so my paddling is probably done for 2013. I try to do at least one big trip each month, and here are some of the more significant ones:

January - Blackstone Gorge
June - Salmon
September - West River
October - Picat Drawdown
November - Lower Pawtuxet

I did paddle a bunch of new rivers this year including the Scanticthe Pemmi in WoodstockSeboomook on the West Branchof the Penobscotthe Dead from Spenser Falls to West Folksand the Tville section of the Farmington.  Some of my favorite trips are here:

My Favorite Trips of 2013 from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

I didn’t do so well on my 2013 resolution to do more camping.  I’ll need to work on that again next year.  It's nice to have something to look forward to.

Tariffville Gorge or Tville – December 28, 2013

Cathy's Wave
I was looking for a place to paddle, but the options were pretty limited.  I saw on one of the local message boards that a group would be paddling Tville, so I decided to join in.  This would be my first Tville run.

Tariffville Gorge on the Farmington River is known locally as Tville.  It one of the best-known whitewater runs in southern New England, and is the site of an annual spring slalom race. The run itself is short - just 1.5 miles - but the water runs here most of the year, and there are play spots for paddlers of all skill levels.   At yesterday’s level (2.1 on the Tariffville gage – a low-medium level) it is a class II/III run.  The difficulty increases as the level rises.

Jo-ann at the Play Hole
I met up with Merrie, Denise and Jo-ann at Tariffville Park to run the shuttle down to the take-out on Tunxis Road below the Route 187 Bridge.  The river starts off easy with the few small ledges and nice surf waves.  The best of these are Cathy’s Wave and the Horseshoe Ledge.  At this water level, you can surf these waves for hours. 

As you enter the gorge the intensity picks up a bit.  There is a nice wave train along the Bridge Abutment Rapid, which we ran to the right.  We ran the rapid approaching the play hole on the left.  The old breached dam at Spoonville is gone, but the ledges above make a nice alternative, and there is a nice surf wave (Typewriter) as the river turns left around an island just above the take out (stay left).

Merrie surfs Typewriter
I was the only swimmer of the day in the squirrely water below the island.  I reached over to flip my dry bag back into my boat, and over I went.  The river runs along a ledge here with deep water that makes it difficult to recover the boat.  After a bit of a swim, we finally got to some shallow water. 

I can’t believe it took me so long to get here.  It’s a great place to paddle.

Where's Erik?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What a difference a week makes - Manville Dam again - December 21, 2013

Last week I took my canoe down to my local park and play spot at the Manville Dam with the temps in the mid 20’s - it was too cold to paddle. I went back again yesterday, on the first day of winter, and the temps were in the high 50’s. Like they say, if you don’t like New England weather, just wait a minute. 

Melting snow even brought the river up enough to do a little paddling with my whitewater boat. Nothing tough, but after a couple of hours of playing around, the inside of my drysuit was like a puddle. It felt good.

Manville Dam from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Manville Dam - December 15, 2013

Thinking that the temp’s would be in the 40’s, I decided to take my canoe down to the Manville Dam this morning.  As it turned out, the temp’s dropped much quicker than expected.  Based on the ice on the roads, and the ice that formed in my boat, it was nowhere near 40 °.  It was still nice to get out and paddle, even if it was only for a little while.

Selfie at the put-in

Monday, December 2, 2013

Upper Ware River - December 1, 2013

Matt and Santa Mike
I got up early to go to the gym, and saw Santa Claus walking down Diamond Hill Road.  He didn’t have a big bag of toys, but he was carrying a Price Right bag full of groceries (only in Woonsocket).  When the day starts like that, you know it has to be good – and it was.

After much back and forth by email, I got together with Santa Mike, Chuck, Marshall, Doug and Matt for a poling run on the upper Ware River from So. Barre (42.3864 -72.097) to Hardwick Furnace (42.343812,-72.157774) – about 6 miles.  We had run the lower section from Hardwick Furnace to Church Street a couple of years ago.

Marshall takes a break
I met Mike and Chuck at McD’s  in Uxbridge for the ride out to the river.  I saw two accidents on the way to McD’s due to black ice, but the sanding trucks were out on the highways by the time we hit the road.  Its a good thing we got a little later start.

We arrived at the river at around 10:30 and ran the shuttle. With last week’s rain, the river had come up to a decent poling level – 3 feet, 50 CFS on the Barre gage. This section of the Ware is pretty with lots of twists and turns.  We stopped at Wheelwright Dam for lunch, and played for a little while in the quickwater below the dam. We arrived at the take out at Hardwick Furnace at around 4:00. 
Santa Mike