Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Year End Review

The year started off cold, and then we had two months of snow, but it was still a great year for paddling.  I did a few less trips this year (53) than I have done in the past (average for last 6 years is 57), but I did paddle a few new rivers including the Souhegan, Pemi Bristol, Mongaup, and the Pemi from Woodstock to Campton.  I also did a few less RICKA trips, but I did lead trips on the Assabet and Lower Deerfield, and helped out with the Flatwater Training and the Picnic. I seemed to paddle a lot more with the AMC this year – CT, NH and even Boston.  Here are some of the more significant trips:
I didn’t do much camping this year.  Mike’s trip to the Allegheny River fell through, and Tommy didn’t do any NFCT trips.  Even my RICKA overnight trip on the Pawcatuck got cancelled due to cold rainy weather.  I only slept in my tent one night – at Webbs on the Dead

With all the snow, I did a couple of snowshoeing trips:
 Here are some of my favorite trips of 2015.

New Year’s resolutions for 2016 – I have a few:
  • Practice rolling – I’ve been lax about that lately
  • Do at least one camping trip – hopefully the crew will be interested in a trip in the fall
  • Paddle in all six New England states - this year I missed VT.
Overall it was another great year, and there are still plenty of rivers I would like to paddle. 

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2015

River Island Park - December 27, 2015

The Blackstone was at a decent level (2.5 feet, 500 cfs.), so I took my whitewater boat down to River Island Park.  I put in at the Bernon Street Bridge and took out at the power lines.  I mounted two cameras on my boat - one facing forward, and one facing me - to catch the action.  Unfortunately, the camera facing forward shut off after 10 minutes and I didn't notice it.  It's just not the same without the forward perspective, so here is the run through Bernon down to the Court Street Bridge.

Bernon from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Manville Dam - December 19, 2015

I had too much to do today to travel, so I took my whitewater boat down to the Manville Dam.  At 2.5 feet, 500 cfs, I thought it would be a nice level, but it was actually a little higher than I was comfortable with.  I did spend a little time at the surf wave near the put-in.

Manville Dam from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

At 1.25 feet, 200 cfs. the playspot below the dam is perfect.  Funny, it looks like small motion in comparison, but this is the actual speed.

Manville Dam again from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Tville - December 6, 2015

Cathy's Wave
After paddling tandem for the last few trips, it was nice to get out in my solo boat again.  I joined the crew from Where’s the Whitewater at? to run the Tville section of the Farmington. We had two OC1’s (me and Charlie), a C1 (Rob) and a bunch of kayaks. The level was low (1.5 feet, 500 cfs) but it was still fun.

The upper section was a little bony, but Cathy’s Wave and the Horseshoe Ledge were at an easy surfing level. I ran the Bridge Abutment Rapid on the right, and almost blew the ferry below the abutments. I bounced off the rocks on river right in a nick of time. I ran the approach to the Play Hole on the left.  Even at this level, the Play Hole didn’t look inviting. Below the play hole are a couple of small ledges that terminate in some rocks on river left. I caught the eddies on the left before ferrying to the middle to run the drop.  I ran the new "Inquisition" ledges further downstream by doing the opposite - eddying out on the right, and then ferrying to the left to run the second drop.  Good day.

Running the Inquisition Ledges

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Day after Turkey Paddle - Charles River in Millis - November 27, 2015

I was back on the Charles River yesterday for a "Day after Turkey" paddle with Earl. We put in at Dwight Street in Millis and paddled upstream a couple of miles while Earl looked for geochaches.  The caching was not successful (0 for 3), but the paddling was nice.   We then paddled downstream past Route 109 to take out atWest Street.  It was a little cloudy, but otherwise a great day. 
Earl heads downstream

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pemigewasset - Woodstock to Campton - November 21, 2015

Me and Jonathan
It wasn’t the best weather for paddling, but I’ve paddled in worse.  Sometimes you just need to get out when the river is up.

I’ve wanted to paddle the section of the Pemi below the Ledges in Woodstock for a while, but it can be tough to catch. Last week’s rain brought the river up, so I sent an email to Doug D. to see if he would be interested. A Facebook post hooked me up for some tandem paddling with Jonathan. 

Blair Bridge
We ran the section from the Ledges at the Route 175 Bridge in Woodstock to the Blair Bridge in Campton – about 14 miles.  The river is shallow with gravel bars and cobbles along the banks.  I’d say that we caught a medium-low level - 3.5 feet, 650 cfs. on the Woodstock gage - mostly flatwater with a few quickwater rips.

It remained overcast throughout the day with low-hanging clouds hugging the ground.  Every now and again we would turn around and catch a beautiful view of the White Mountains shrouded in clouds.  We probably should have turned around more often. It took us about 4 ½ hours to paddle the 14 miles. There was no rush - we took our time and enjoyed views, and then enjoyed a beer and a burger at the Country Cow near the take out.  Another great day.

White Mountains shrouded in clouds

Sunday, November 1, 2015

White Rock Dam removal on the Pawcatuck - November 1, 2015

Heading downstream
The restoration of the Pawcatuck River took another step forward this fall with the removal of the White Rock Dam in Westerly.  For nearly 250 years, this dam at the lower end of the Pawcatuck River has blocked upstream passage to Rhode Island’s largest watershed. The dam has now been removed in an on-going effort to return the Pawcatuck to something close to its natural state.

The original dam at the White Rock site was built in 1770.  It was replaced in 1888 by a stone crib dam, and much of the river’s flow was redirected down a granite-lined raceway to the White Rock Mill. When the old stone crib dam washed away in the 1938 hurricane, it was replaced with a 6-foot tall concrete dam that stretched 108 feet across the river.

Checking out the old raceway
With the recent removal of this concrete dam complete, I joined a small group of paddlers who wanted to check out the new course of the river.  For the third week in row I would be paddling tandem - this time with Bill in the Mohawk.  We put in at the new access off Post Office Lane below the Potter Hill Dam, and took out on White Rock Road just upstream of the Route 78 bridge.  The river was 4.5 feet, 200 cfs. on the Westerly gage - just enough water to keep us floating.

We paddled down to White Rock and found all that remained of the old dam were the stone abutments on river left. The restored riverbed is nice, but not as exciting as a run through the old raceway.  The old raceway was high and dry, but is not being removed.  A barrier will be built at the top that will allow water to flow into the channel during high water.

The old raceway is high and dry

Sunday, October 25, 2015

P-netters on the P-Cat in NH - October 24, 2015

You never know where you’ll meet another P-netter. I’ve been paddling the P-Cat Drawdown and BBQ on the Piscataquog River in Goffstown, NH for years. In fact, it was one of the first whitewater trips that I did when I started paddling back in 2005. It’s a short class II with a great BBQ after.

I usually attend this trip with the local RI crew, but none of them were interested this year. Instead, I signed up for the trip with the NHAMC and ended up in the “open boat group” – 4 tandems, 3 solos, 2 duckies and one kayak. One of the leaders was HikingMike (hope I got that right) from P-net. The river was at it's usual release level - 5.5 feet on the Goffstown gage.

I paddled tandem, which was a nice change. I got the bow, and Jonathan (also a solo open boater) got the stern. We made a good team and clicked pretty much right away catching eddies, ferrying and surfing. To me, the highlight of this trip is a playspot that has a habit of pulling open boats in sideways, and then spitting them out. I’ve had lots of practice demonstrating how not to side surf in this particular hole.

I warned Jonathan about my luck, but he was willing to venture in anyway. We did pretty well on our first attempt – stayed straight and backed out without incident. Now figuring that a 16’ tandem wouldn’t get pulled in sideways, we got a little more aggressive on our second attempt. As the bow got sucked down into the hole we immediately got spun sideways. We lasted for a couple of seconds before getting “window-shaded”. My 100% swim rate at this hole is safe for another year.  Great trip as usual.

Surfing with Jonathan

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Charles River -Wellesley to Needham - October 17, 2015

Bill and I had agreed to do some tandem paddling, so I loaded the Spirit II on the rack and headed off the to the Charles River. We joined RICKA for a round-trip from the Elm Bank Reservation (900 Washington Street) in Wellesley to the Cochrane Dam on Fisher Street (Charles River Peninsula Access Road) in Needham – about 11 miles. The river is relatively undeveloped except for a few large houses, and the foliage was great with lots of yellows, golds and reds. Nice trip.

My Pictures

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Lower Otter Brook - October 3, 2015

I was suppose to lead an overnight camping trip at Burlingame on Saturday, but the forecast didn’t look promising – cold, rainy and windy.  Of the 12 campers who originally signed up, I was down to 3 when I cancelled the trip on Friday night.  But how does that old saying go – “when one door closes another opens”.  While rain isn’t good for camping its great for whitewater paddling.

I got an email that a group would be running Lower Otter Brook on Saturday, and now I was free to join in.  Lower Otter Brook is a small class II run in Roxbury, NH (outside of Keene).  The level is controlled by the huge Otter Brook Dam built by the Army Corps of Engineers.  We had six boats– 2 canoes and 4 kayaks.

The morning was cold and windy when I arrived at the put-in. I was glad that I brought my drysuit and gloves.  The level was around 350 cfs, which was slightly more that the typical spring release of 300 cfs.  We worked our way downstream dodging rocks, catching eddies and just having fun. 

I went through the Otter Ledge first, bouncing off the wave at the bottom and into the eddy below the ledge - prefect.  I was in great position to get some pictures, but couldn’t get the water drops off the lens in time.  Oh well…

Heading to the take-out
There was good flow coming out of Minnewawa Brook where Otter Brook joins to form the Branch producing long wave trains along Route 101.  We arrived at the take-out around 1:30, and debated a second run.  For me the answer was easy, I needed to be home around 3:00.  Looking at the gage, it looks like they shut the water off at around 1:30 anyway.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ninigret Pond - September 19, 2015

Paddling with Bill in the Spirit II
Although I have done a lot of paddling in South County, I had never paddled Ninigret Pond in Charlestown.  That changed when the RICKA Picnic was held there last Saturday.

Ninigret Pond is the largest of Rhode Island’s South County salt ponds, which include Point Judith Pond (a tidal estuary), and Green Hill, Quonochontaug and Winnapaug Ponds (coastal lagoons).  Like all coastal lagoons, the Ninigret Pond itself is separated from the ocean by a barrier island.  It is also connected to Green Hill Pond by a small channel

Taking a break at the beach
We put in at the boat launch at Ninigret Park and paddled west along the barrier island.  Other than a few houses on the north shore along Route 1, it is quiet and undeveloped.  We hiked across the barrier island to take a quick swim at the beach before heading back for the picnic. 

It was a nice trip, and nice to paddle tandem with Bill in my Spirit II.

View across Ninigret Pond

Monday, September 7, 2015

Fife Brook - September 6, 2015

We did our RICKA trip on the Lower Deerfield a few weeks ago, but it has been quite a while since I paddled the Fife Brook section.  I was able to get out yesterday with some folks from the NHAMC.  Release was 1,000 cfs – nice level.  We had 3 canoes (me, Joe and Abby) and 4 kayaks.  I took the right line at Zoar Gap and made it through fine. 

Zoar Gap

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lower Deerfield – August 22, 2015

Sandy and Earl
We had canoes and kayaks, long boats and short boats, paddlers, one poler and one dog.  We spent most of the day dodging tubers and rafts, but you still couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. 

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 7-mile run from the Zoar Picnic Area down to Charlemont Achademy.

The lone poler - Fred
The Fife Brook Dam controls the water in this section of the river, and timing is everything with this trip. We launched around 1:30, two and a half hours after the scheduled release, and hit it just right.

We had 11 paddlers – two canoes and nine kayaks. Most of the class I/II rapids come early in the trip, and everyone got through with no problem. It took us about 3 hours to finish the run down to Charlemont.  On the way home we stopped for BBQ at Smokey Joes – good day.

A little surfing

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dead River – August 8, 2015

Waiting for the shuttle
Sometimes it doesn't pay to play it safe. At least that's what happened to me yesterday on the Dead.

I wasn't able to run the Dead in June or July, and knew that things would be busy in September, so decided to head up to the Forks for the August release. I wasn't sure who I would paddle with until I saw that Charlie Sweet was leading a trip for the Boston AMC. It turned out to be a small group (Charlie, Rich, Josh and me), but all open boaters.

Rich does some surfing
With the large group of MVP'ers at the Forks for Family Step-up Weekend, the shuttle took forever. We finally got on the road around 10:00, and got to the river about 45 minutes later. With two trailers attached to the bus, they stopped at the top and made us carry down the hill. We finally got on the water around 11:00. 

The release was 2,400 cfs with another 100 cfs coming from Spencer Stream - a nice class II/III. We ran through Spencer Rips, Minefield and a bunch of other unnamed rapids before stopping for lunch at Hayden's. After lunch we ran Hayden's, Gravel Pit, Elephant Rock, Mile Long and Upper Poplar in quick succession. Before we knew it, we were set to run Lower Poplar.

Charlie below Minefield
I followed Rich into Lower Poplar taking a middle right line along the seam of the rapid. About a quarter of the way down, Rich went left into the rapid, but I went right along what I thought would be an easier line into the rock garden. Before long, I got hung up on a shallow rock and flipped. Fortunately I was close to shore, so I was able to get my boat to shore quickly. Soon I was back in my boat and finishing the run, but like I said, sometimes it doesn’t pay to play it safe. 

We were back in the campground around 5:00 - a six hour run that was a lot of fun.

Kelly runs the slot at Elephant Rock
My Pictures
Spencer Stream Gage
River Description from American Whitewater

Saturday, August 1, 2015

One Last Trip around Great Island - July 31, 2015

Low hanging clouds hung on the water as I went out for one last trip around Great Island.  Unfortunately, our summer vacation in Galilee ends today.  Goodbye Horseshoe Point.

Horseshoe Point on Great Island

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Upper Narrow River - July 30, 2015

Gilbert Stuart Birthplace
I’ve paddled the lower section of the Narrow River several times, but today I decided to paddle the upper section from the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace to Bridgetown Road.  I put into the Gilbert Stuart Stream and pushed my way through the shallow water into the Upper Pond. I then paddled south to the Casey’s Sill - a shallow sandbar between the Upper and Lower Ponds named for nearby Casey Farm (c. 1750).  I paddled through the Lower Pond to Bridgetown Road before turning around and heading back.

Lower Pond

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Port of Galilee - July 29, 2015

Port of Galilee
I didn’t get to paddle this morning, so I put my boat in the water at the dock near the cottage after supper, and padded south along Great Island to the Port of Galilee.  I knew that the evening light would be better for getting pictures of the fishing boats in the harbor.

Great Island is about 2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, and full of summer cottages.  I headed south into a moderate headwind and easy rolling waves past Thomas Point and Little Comfort and into the Port of Galilee.  

Fishing boats
The Port of Galilee was created in 1935 when a harbor was dredged and a dock constructed at the mouth of Point Judith Pond. Connected to the ocean by the Harbor of Refuge and Breachway, both completed in 1910, Galilee eventually became the home port for much of Rhode Island's fishing industry.

There was an eclectic collection of ships docked in the harbor - large fishing trawlers, smaller lobster and shellfish boats and charter boats. Generations of fishermen have sailed from the Port of Galilee to work the waters of the Point Judith Pond, the Rhode Island and Block Island Sounds and beyond at the edge of the continental shelf.

Lobster boat

Wickford Harbor - July 28, 2015

Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge
The morning was cloudy, but the water was calm and still as I put-in to Wickford Harbor at Wilson Park. This would be my first trip at this popular paddling location.

Wickford is located on the West Passage of Narragansett Bay, and is built around a large, well-protected harbor. Like the Pawtuxet Village, it was settled in the early 17th century when Roger William purchased land from the Narragansett Indians and established a trading post. Wickford grew to become a major port and shipbuilding center, and today contains a large collection of 17th and 18th century homes.

Beach Rose Cafe
While the backwaters around Rabbit Island and Cornelius Island looked interesting to explore, I headed out into Wickford Harbor, through the breakwater, and south down the West Passage. I wanted to get some pictures of the Plum Island Light. I made it as far as Bissel Cove before deciding that the haze and fog would be too much. 

I returned to Wickford Harbor to explore the Wickford Cove. With the exception of a couple of fishing boats, the marinas were quiet. I paddled under the Brown Street Bridge, and snapped a few pictures at the Beach Rose Cafe. Then, I continued down the cove toward the Kayak Center before turning around at the Route 1A Bridge. There really is a lot to explore.

Seagull in Wickford Cove

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pier 5 - July 25, 2015

I headed over to Pier 5 or South Pier yesterday, and paddled down to the Narragansett Town Beach. In the late 19th century, this section of Narragansett became a thriving resort community with 10 hotels and many Victorian and Shingle style cottages. The Towers is all that remains of the old hotels, but many summer cottages - old and new - can still be seen along the shore.

The Towers
My Pictures

Friday, July 24, 2015

Harbor of Refuge - July 24, 2015

New parking lot and view of the breakwater
The water was clear and calm as I put in at the beach at Camp Croning to paddle the Harbor of Refuge. Construction of the Harbor of Refuge, which protects the Breachway and the Port of Galilee, began in 1890 with the construction of the east and west jetties. The breakwater was not completed until 1910 with the completion of the center jetty.

When I arrived at Camp Cronin, I was surprised to see the work done to repair the damage done by Superstorm Sandy in 2013. After that storm, most of the parking lot had been washed away, and the sand dunes had been replaced by steep cliffs. 

Break in the wall with a view to Block Island
Easy 1 to 2 foot rollers were breaking on the shore as paddled along the east breakwater. Boat traffic was light, so I hurried across the east entrance to the center breakwater. Once reached the center breakwater I was amazed how many birds were on the rocks. Most were cormorants, but there were also sea gulls, egrets and others. 

The water was crystal clear, and the many breaks in the breakwater gave great views out into Long Island Sound with Block Island beyond. At the west end of the breakwater, I sat and watched the fishing boats, charter boats, and ferries entering and leaving the harbor. I paddled back across the beach to Camp Cronin.

Block Island Ferry entering the Breachway

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lower Narrow River - July 23, 2015

Cormorant Point
It was high tide when I put in at the Sprague Bridge to paddle the Lower Narrow River and the Pettaquamscutt Cove. Like Point Judith Pond, this section of the Narrow River is a tidal estuary. At low tide it attracts hundreds of birds looking for breakfast. At high tide, not so many.

As I padded through the Narrows, it looked like it would be easy to break through the 1 to 2 foot waves breaking on the beach, but instead I took a sneak route through the rocks. Cormorant Point lived up to its name with hundreds of birds out on the rocks. I snapped a few pictures before heading back for an easy paddle around Pettaquamscutt Cove.

Pettaquamscutt Cove
My Pictures
Lower Pettaquamscutt River and Cove from the Narrow River Preservation Association

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Upper Point Judith Pond - July 22, 2015

Having pretty much covered the lower section of Point Judith Pond, decided to paddle north today into the Upper Point Judith Pond.  Boat traffic was light as it has been all week as paddled around Betty Hull Point and the Narrows into the Upper Pond.  Long Cove was quiet, and the osprey nest appeared to be empty.  I paddled back out the Narrows and along the west side of Point Judith Pond through Condon Cove, Smelt Brook Cove and Turner Cove before crossing back to the cottage near Jonathan Island.

Smelt Brook Cove
My Pictures

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Potter Pond - July 21, 2015

After paddling Lower Point Judith Pond yesterday, I decided to paddle over to Potters Pond today.  It is connected to Point Judith Pond by a tidal inlet at Snug Harbor.  Like Point Judith Pond, Potters Pond is separated from the ocean by barriers beaches to the south.  There are great views of the beaches at Matunuck to the south, and wooded shores to the north.

My Pictures

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lower Point Judith Pond - July 20, 2015

Horseshoe Point Cottage
It was just me and the seagulls (and the cormorants, egrets and other birds) as I paddled out to explore the lower Point Judith Pond. After a busy weekend, the quiet pond was a nice change. The water was calm and flat. The flags laid limp without a hint of breeze. 

Great Island is about 2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, and full of summer cottages. I paddled down into Welcome Cove along the east side of Great Island.  The empty boat docks made for an interesting picture.

One of many empty docks
I paddled into Bluff Hill Cove near Fisherman's Memorial State Park and looked down to see a crab trap filled with crabs.   As stopped to take a picture, the owner came down to check me out. In addition to catching crabs, which are prevalent in these waters, he also raises oysters in trays floating near his dock.

As I passed under the bridge at the southern end of Great Island, I passed a group of cormorants hanging out on buoys marking the traffic channel. I decided to save the Port of Galilee and Snug Harbor for another day.

Cormorant at the Port of Galilee
My Pictures

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Breachway in the Morning - July 19, 2015

Block Island Ferry in the Breachway
It's tough to start the day without coffee.  It fact, it's impossible.  I was up at my usual time - 5:30 - but the groceries weren't scheduled to be delivered until 7:00.  So headed out to find an open coffee shop. After I found an open Dunkin Donuts, headed to the Breachway to watch the boats going through.  I was surprised to see all the cars lined up at 6:00 to get in the parking lot at Salty Brine Beach.

The Breachway connects the Harbor of Refuge with the Point Judith Pond.  The Breachway was completed in 1910, and the harbor at the mouth of the pond was dredged and a dock constructed in 1935 to create a port for Rhode Island's fishing industry.

Sea Gull at Turner Cove
Later in the day, the sun came out so I took my canoe out to paddle the west side of Point Judith Pond.  I paddled past Ram Island and Jonathan Island toward Smelt Brook Cove.  It was easy to cross the traffic channel near Turner Cover, but there was a steady stream of boats headed out of the Narrows from the marina in the Upper Pond.  After waiting a few minutes, followed a sailboat across to Pine Tree Point.

The steady stream of boats kicked up a steady stream of waves as I paddled down the east side of the Salt Pond.  By the time I reached the cottage fog was starting to roll in.  At times, viability would drop to zero, and then the fog would roll back out again - weird.

Following the sailboat across the channel
My Pictures

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blackstone - River Island Park to the Pratt Dam - July 12, 2015

Bernon Mill in Woonsocket
After spending some time working in the yard yesterday, I decided to run something local today.  Michelle said that she would pick me up at the end, so I decided to run the Blackstone from River Island Park in Woonsocket to the Pratt Dam in Lonsdale.  The river was at a good level (2 feet,500 cfs) – just fluid enough to keep from bouncing off rocks.

I put in at River Island Park and headed downstream past the old Bernon Mills, which were built in 1828 and 1831.  I enjoyed the riffles and stopped to play in the waves under the Bernon, Court Street and P&W Railroad bridges.  After that it is about 4 miles of flatwater down to Manville.

Manvill Dam
Manville is one of the oldest industrial sites on the Blackstone River.  Industrial activity started there in the late 17th century when the Wilkinson family established a foundry on the site – Unity Furnace.  In 1811, the Unity Manufacturing Company was established to manufacture cotton cloth. By the 1920s, the Manville Mill was the largest textile mill in the United States with over 5,000 employees.  It was significantly damaged in 1955 during the floods resulting from Hurricane Carol, and completely destroyed in a fire a few weeks later.

I portaged around the Manville Dam on the bike path to the right.  The access to the river below the dam is steep and covered in poison ivy.  At 500 cfs the water is flowing pretty good below the dam, so I snapped a couple of pictures and continued downstream to Albion.

Albion Dam
Although you can’t see it from the river, the Albion Mill Village is one of the best preserved of the Blackstone River’s original mill villages.  The first mill was built here in the 1820s, and was expanded several times after.  The Valley Falls Company constructed the main section of the current mill in 1908.  After a couple of miles I portaged around the Albion Dam. On the bike path to the right and headed downstream to Ashton. 

The section of the Blackstone between Albion and Aston is one that I don’t paddle very often - probably because it is such a short trip. The most prominent features on this section of the river are the two huge bridges that carry traffic from Route 295 over the river. On the Cumberland side, the pike bath takes landlubbers on a pleasant trip along the river. On the Lincoln side, the banks are steep with huge rock outcroppings that plunge down into the river

Ashton Viaduct
The portage around the Ashton Dam is a two-step process.  First, portage from the river into the Blackstone Canal.  Then, portage for the Blackstone Canal back into the river.  I paddled out into the deeper water below the main spillway and headed downstream under the Ashton Viaduct and into the old Ashton Mill Village. 

The large Ashton Mill was built by the Lonsdale Company in 1847.  They also built the Berkley Mill about a mile downstream, and owned mills on the Lincoln and Cumberland side of the river in Lonsdale. 

I took out at the Pratt Dam and carried my canoe down the bike path to the parking lot in Lonsdale where I found Michelle waiting.  It’s about a 9 mile trip, and it took me 3 ½ hours.

Pratt Dam