|Mike and Frank|
Once each summer, RICKA runs and “easy” whitewater trip for experienced flatwater paddlers on the lower Deerfield River. This year, we decided to do the 10-mile run from the Zoar Picnic Area down to Crab Apple Rafting.
The Fife Brook Dam controls the water in this section of the river, and timing is everything with this trip. Launch too early and you will out run the water. Launch too late and the water will out run you. Either way, you will end up high and dry. We launched around 2:00, three hours after the scheduled release, and hit it just right.
We had 10 paddlers in 9 boats – two canoes and seven kayaks. I got to paddle tandem with Henry. The forecast called for clouds with a slight chance of showers. We had plenty of clouds, but the rain never materialized.
Most of the class I/II rapids come early in the trip. There are three rapids in quick succession just downstream from the put in. All three can be run easily straight down the middle. We had one short swim in the second rapid, but otherwise everyone did great.
From the East Charlemont Picnic Area (just after the Indian Bridge) down to Crab Apple Rafting the river is mostly quickwater with a few easy riffles. The biggest challenge is watching where the water goes so you don’t end up beached in the cobbles in the middle of the river.
Took us about 3 ½ hours to do the run down to Crab Apple. On the way home we stopped at Shelburne Falls to check out the Bridge of Flowers and get some pizza at Buckland Pizza.
|Bridge of Flowers|