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.

1 comment:

  1. Having once missed that same exit and then having to drive all the way to Lee, I can relate. Looks like a good time on the river made things more than OK.