Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pemi Bristol - May 16, 2015

My father told me that he did his first whitewater training at the Pemi (Pemigewasset River) in Bristol.  I took a quickwater safety class there a few years ago, but I’ve never had the chance to paddle there – until today. 

Put in below the Ayers Island Dam
Our RICKA trip on the Assabet got postponed, so I was able to join a NHAMC trip on the Pemi - 5 canoes, 6 kayaks and 1 duckie.  The river was at a nice level – 1,000 cfs on the Plymouth gage.  We put in below the Ayers Island Dam (off Ayers Island Road – go left at the recycling center down the hill on the dirt road).  We took out below the park and play hole off Coolidge Woods Road. The river is about 1-1/2 miles long with a couple of nice play spots.

The first major rapid is about 1/4 mile downstream.  The easy route is on the far right, but I didn’t want to take the easy route.  The more difficult line is down the center through two drops.  Joe made it look easy.

Joe runs the first rapid on the Pemi from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

The crew stops for a picture
I got spun around in the first drop and ended up sideways in the hole (as you can tell from my narration). I worked my way out eventually, and I ran the rest of the rapid backwards with a boat full of water. It wasn't pretty, but I made it through. 

From here, the river is a series of small rapids.  The last rapid sweeps gradually to the right as it passes through a couple of ledges along Coolidge Woods Road.  The first is where I did my advance swiftwater training.  The second is the park and play ledge - a popular summer play spot. 

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