Saturday, November 28, 2015

Day after Turkey Paddle - Charles River in Millis - November 27, 2015

I was back on the Charles River yesterday for a "Day after Turkey" paddle with Earl. We put in at Dwight Street in Millis and paddled upstream a couple of miles while Earl looked for geochaches.  The caching was not successful (0 for 3), but the paddling was nice.   We then paddled downstream past Route 109 to take out atWest Street.  It was a little cloudy, but otherwise a great day. 
Earl heads downstream

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pemigewasset - Woodstock to Campton - November 21, 2015

Me and Jonathan
It wasn’t the best weather for paddling, but I’ve paddled in worse.  Sometimes you just need to get out when the river is up.

I’ve wanted to paddle the section of the Pemi below the Ledges in Woodstock for a while, but it can be tough to catch. Last week’s rain brought the river up, so I sent an email to Doug D. to see if he would be interested. A Facebook post hooked me up for some tandem paddling with Jonathan. 

Blair Bridge
We ran the section from the Ledges at the Route 175 Bridge in Woodstock to the Blair Bridge in Campton – about 14 miles.  The river is shallow with gravel bars and cobbles along the banks.  I’d say that we caught a medium-low level - 3.5 feet, 650 cfs. on the Woodstock gage - mostly flatwater with a few quickwater rips.

It remained overcast throughout the day with low-hanging clouds hugging the ground.  Every now and again we would turn around and catch a beautiful view of the White Mountains shrouded in clouds.  We probably should have turned around more often. It took us about 4 ½ hours to paddle the 14 miles. There was no rush - we took our time and enjoyed views, and then enjoyed a beer and a burger at the Country Cow near the take out.  Another great day.

White Mountains shrouded in clouds

Sunday, November 1, 2015

White Rock Dam removal on the Pawcatuck - November 1, 2015

Heading downstream
The restoration of the Pawcatuck River took another step forward this fall with the removal of the White Rock Dam in Westerly.  For nearly 250 years, this dam at the lower end of the Pawcatuck River has blocked upstream passage to Rhode Island’s largest watershed. The dam has now been removed in an on-going effort to return the Pawcatuck to something close to its natural state.

The original dam at the White Rock site was built in 1770.  It was replaced in 1888 by a stone crib dam, and much of the river’s flow was redirected down a granite-lined raceway to the White Rock Mill. When the old stone crib dam washed away in the 1938 hurricane, it was replaced with a 6-foot tall concrete dam that stretched 108 feet across the river.

Checking out the old raceway
With the recent removal of this concrete dam complete, I joined a small group of paddlers who wanted to check out the new course of the river.  For the third week in row I would be paddling tandem - this time with Bill in the Mohawk.  We put in at the new access off Post Office Lane below the Potter Hill Dam, and took out on White Rock Road just upstream of the Route 78 bridge.  The river was 4.5 feet, 200 cfs. on the Westerly gage - just enough water to keep us floating.

We paddled down to White Rock and found all that remained of the old dam were the stone abutments on river left. The restored riverbed is nice, but not as exciting as a run through the old raceway.  The old raceway was high and dry, but is not being removed.  A barrier will be built at the top that will allow water to flow into the channel during high water.

The old raceway is high and dry