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