Monday, January 19, 2015

Manville Dam – January 18, 2015

After the long stretch of cold weather, it was nice to have the temperatures warm up a bit.  It was 50° with a little bit of drizzle as I put my boat in the water at the Manville Dam. I thought it would be a good level (2.2 feet, 525 cfs on the Woonsocket gage) for a little "park and play" in the rapids below the dam, but it was actually a little higher than I expected with an ice shelf on the bridge pier in the middle of the river that made me nervous. I did carry my boat up to the top for a quick run down. Then I played in the small drop above the put-in for a little while. I only paddled for an hour, but it was enough.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Hike at the Blackstone Gorge - January 17, 2015

It was another cold day, and ice has accumulated at many of my usual paddling spots, so I decided to take a hike down at the Blackstone Gorge.  The ice above the dam was thick enough to support a couple of determined ice fishermen.  Below the dam, ice shelves lined the banks.  I was able to hike along the river to the base of the cliff at the gorge drop, and then climb to the top before heading back.

Fishing on the ice above the Rolling Dam
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Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Hike at Diamond Hill – January 10, 2015

I was going to take my canoe out, but as the weather gets colder, it becomes a lot of work.  You need to get the boat, get the cold-water gear and then find a place that isn’t iced-in.  We had a little snow, so today I decided to take a hike at Diamond Hill instead.  The paths were rocky, and it is easier to stay on the trail when it is already established in the snow, but still a good hike

View from the top of the cliffs at the quarry 
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Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Day run at Tville - January 1, 2015

Heading to the put-in
“Winter is not just about skiing”.  That’s what Jo-Ann told the reporter from the Hartford Courant who came to get some pictures of our New Year’s Day trip on the Tville section of the Farmington, and she was right.  New Year’s Day runs are definitely a tradition around here.  Ian said “to have a good year if you’re a whitewater boater, you have to be in the water on the first”.  Well, I was!

This year, I had a couple of options for trips on New Year’s Day, but I decided to join a group from the Where’s the Whitewater at group on Facebook to run the Tariffville Gorge or Tville section of the Farmington.  The run itself is short - just 1.5 miles - but there are play spots for paddlers of all skill levels.   At yesterday’s level (2.1 feet, 900 cfs on the Tariffville gage) it is a class II/III run.  The difficulty increases as the level rises.

Running the Ledges
We met at Tariffville Park to run the shuttle down to the take-out on Tunxis Road below the Route 187 Bridge.  The temperature was around 30ยบ so we didn’t spend a lot of time hanging around.  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.  I ran the Bridge Abutment Rapid to the right, and the rapid approaching the play hole to the left.  Below the play hole is a small ledge.  I eddied out on the left before ferrying to the middle to run the drop.  I ran the ledges further downstream by doing the opposite - eddying out on the right, and ferrying to the left to run the drop.  There is a nice surf wave (Typewriter) as the river turns left around an island, but I wimped out and didn't try to surf it.  Good time as always – Happy New Year!

The crew takes a break