Monday, April 27, 2015

Lower Millers - April 26, 2015

Paul scouts as Norma goes left
Four from RICKA (Erik, Paul, Dan and Pat) hooked up with a group from Where’s the Whitewater at? – twelve boats in all.  The river was at a nice level for me – 3.8 feet, 1,200 cfs.  We put in at the railroad bridge below the Farley Flats.  The rapids get a little more difficult as you approach the Funnel, but are still mostly class II/II+

I decided to walk the Funnel to get some pictures.  This also allowed me to get a better look at the lines.  Norma went left and caught a shore eddy about half way down, which set her up to run the drop at the bottom. 

Glenn catches a right side eddy
Glenn went right, also caught a shore eddy about half way down.  He then had to cut left after the big rock to avoid the ledge drop at the bottom of the rapid on the right side.

Paul and Pat went left of center.  Pat flipped in a hole and did an amazing roll to recover – I’ve never seen a boat flip back up that fast. I wish I caught it on video - it was amazing.

Below the Funnel are some more class II/II+ rapids down the Millers Falls.  We took out at the bridge in the center of town and skiped the flatwater down to Dorsey Road.

Pat runs the center left line after a great combat roll

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Upper Saco

Here's a video of the Upper Saco at about 1.5 feet:

It is mostly class II at this level - a good level for me.  Above 3 feet it is continuous class III/IV. There are some tougher rapids at the end that aren't included in this video.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Jim O'Brien Memorial Paddle - April 18, 2015

Gathering round the play wave
Other than missing the exit and driving 25 miles out of our way (50 miles round trip), we had a great day on the Knightville section of the Westfield. Just for future reference, the directions to Knightville are:
  1. Take exit 3 off the Mass Pike
  2. Turn right on Route 10/202 south toward Westfield
  3. Turn right on Route 20 west
It couldn’t be easier - not sure how I screwed it up.

Paul runs the Gorge Drop
Anyway, Paul, Andy and I headed out to the Westfield for the Jim O'Brien Memorial Paddle. The river was at a nice level – 1,000 cfs. Much higher and it starts to wash out.  Much lower and it starts to get boney. 

We put in at the picnic area at the base of the Knightville Dam, and took out at the Gazebo on Route 20. The river is mostly class II/II+ rock dodging until you enter the Gorge in the Gardner State Park.

Surfing below the bridge
There are two drops in the Gorge section. The first is about 25 yards long that I ran to the right (there is also a trickier shoot to the left that I ran last year with Glenn). The second is a 4-foot ledge known as the Gorge Drop. It can be seen from upstream by a big rock in the middle of the river. You run this just to the right of the rock, and move left to catch the eddy, or at least avoid the big haystacks downstream.

From the Gorge Drop down to the take out there are some nice rock gardens separated by sections of quickwater.  Run took about 2 hours at a leisurely pace.  No swims to report.  Definitely a good day.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Souhegan - April 12, 2015

We drove by two rivers to get there (the Quinapoxet and the Upper Millers), but it still was nice try something new. Dan, Pat, Paul and I ran the upper Souhegan from the class III put-in in Greenville to the Route 101 Bridge in Wilton.  

The Souhegan River is a popular spring run that flows through Greenville and Wilton on its way to the Merrimack River. The river is small, only about 30' wide on average, with lots of blind corners, rocks and strainers to avoid.

The level was OK (5.75 ft, 800 cfs on the Milford gage) - a little low but still fluid. The first mile is steep and creek-like with class II+/III rapids - like an easier version of the middle section of New Boston.  The most difficult rapid is the Ledges – a boulder garden followed by a series of two 1-foot ledges.  Somehow, I got turned around and ran the second ledge backwards. 

Once you reach the Route 31 Bridge (also the put-in for a class II run), the river mellows and runs through a pretty valley covered in Hemlock trees. There are still plenty of rocks and strainers to keep you occupied.

We had one swimmer – me. I hit a rock (Bang Rock?) coming down a drop in the class II section and took a swim.  Still, it’s a beautiful river, and I was surprised to see so much snow still on the ground.

Tommy said that we took out too early.   He says that Trash Dump and Horseshoe Falls on the lower section are well worth running, and that the pizza in Wilton is worth the trip all by itself - next time.