Sunday, October 25, 2015

P-netters on the P-Cat in NH - October 24, 2015

You never know where you’ll meet another P-netter. I’ve been paddling the P-Cat Drawdown and BBQ on the Piscataquog River in Goffstown, NH for years. In fact, it was one of the first whitewater trips that I did when I started paddling back in 2005. It’s a short class II with a great BBQ after.

I usually attend this trip with the local RI crew, but none of them were interested this year. Instead, I signed up for the trip with the NHAMC and ended up in the “open boat group” – 4 tandems, 3 solos, 2 duckies and one kayak. One of the leaders was HikingMike (hope I got that right) from P-net. The river was at it's usual release level - 5.5 feet on the Goffstown gage.

I paddled tandem, which was a nice change. I got the bow, and Jonathan (also a solo open boater) got the stern. We made a good team and clicked pretty much right away catching eddies, ferrying and surfing. To me, the highlight of this trip is a playspot that has a habit of pulling open boats in sideways, and then spitting them out. I’ve had lots of practice demonstrating how not to side surf in this particular hole.

I warned Jonathan about my luck, but he was willing to venture in anyway. We did pretty well on our first attempt – stayed straight and backed out without incident. Now figuring that a 16’ tandem wouldn’t get pulled in sideways, we got a little more aggressive on our second attempt. As the bow got sucked down into the hole we immediately got spun sideways. We lasted for a couple of seconds before getting “window-shaded”. My 100% swim rate at this hole is safe for another year.  Great trip as usual.

Surfing with Jonathan

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Charles River -Wellesley to Needham - October 17, 2015

Bill and I had agreed to do some tandem paddling, so I loaded the Spirit II on the rack and headed off the to the Charles River. We joined RICKA for a round-trip from the Elm Bank Reservation (900 Washington Street) in Wellesley to the Cochrane Dam on Fisher Street (Charles River Peninsula Access Road) in Needham – about 11 miles. The river is relatively undeveloped except for a few large houses, and the foliage was great with lots of yellows, golds and reds. Nice trip.

My Pictures

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Lower Otter Brook - October 3, 2015

I was suppose to lead an overnight camping trip at Burlingame on Saturday, but the forecast didn’t look promising – cold, rainy and windy.  Of the 12 campers who originally signed up, I was down to 3 when I cancelled the trip on Friday night.  But how does that old saying go – “when one door closes another opens”.  While rain isn’t good for camping its great for whitewater paddling.

I got an email that a group would be running Lower Otter Brook on Saturday, and now I was free to join in.  Lower Otter Brook is a small class II run in Roxbury, NH (outside of Keene).  The level is controlled by the huge Otter Brook Dam built by the Army Corps of Engineers.  We had six boats– 2 canoes and 4 kayaks.

The morning was cold and windy when I arrived at the put-in. I was glad that I brought my drysuit and gloves.  The level was around 350 cfs, which was slightly more that the typical spring release of 300 cfs.  We worked our way downstream dodging rocks, catching eddies and just having fun. 

I went through the Otter Ledge first, bouncing off the wave at the bottom and into the eddy below the ledge - prefect.  I was in great position to get some pictures, but couldn’t get the water drops off the lens in time.  Oh well…

Heading to the take-out
There was good flow coming out of Minnewawa Brook where Otter Brook joins to form the Branch producing long wave trains along Route 101.  We arrived at the take-out around 1:30, and debated a second run.  For me the answer was easy, I needed to be home around 3:00.  Looking at the gage, it looks like they shut the water off at around 1:30 anyway.