Sunday, March 13, 2016

Conquered a Demon Yesterday - Scantic - March 12, 2017

Upper section of the Scantic
You know how something gets in your head and starts playing games.  I had one of these demons in my head about a relatively easy rapid on the Scantic River.

The Scantic is a pretty little river located in north central CT just south of Springfield, MA.  My buddy Andy and I hooked up with a group from the CT AMC to run the section from Somers to Enfield.  It was a big group – 18 boats – 17 kayaks and one canoe (me).  The level was a little low, but runnable (1', 20 cfs on the Broad Brook gage). 

Running Stokers
For the first 2 miles the river is mostly quickwater as it meanders though a pretty hemlock forest – a typical CT river. After a nasty portage up a steep hill at the Springborn Dam, there are three more difficult rapids – Stokers, Chimney and Staircase. 

My personal demon was Stokers. It is a ledge with a 3-foot drop and a pile of rocks just downstream.  You need to start into the ledge from river left and then move right to avoid the rocks below. I was 0 for 3 running this rapid.   All three times I got pushed too far left and flipped in the rocks. 

Surfing below Staircase
I put a little extra pressure myself by taking pictures of everyone else running the drop before doing it myself.  It would have been pretty embarrassing if 17 kayaks made it through, and the only canoe in the group took a swim.  Fortunately this time I shifted just far enough right to miss the rocks, and that particular demon vanished.

I’ve never has any trouble with the other two rapids. Chimney is an “S” turn through some rocky ledges.  Staircase is exactly what you’d expect - a series of ledges that look like a staircase with a large shoot at the bottom.  Yesterday, the surf wave at the bottom of Staircase was a little too long and shallow for the kayaks, but was perfect for my canoe, so I had it pretty much to myself. 

Another poem by Tom “canoeswithduckheads” on P-net:

Get To Left of Me Satan!

The devil's in the details.
The demon's in the soup.
And off the ledge if left you hedge
Satan slurps in sloop.

Always enjoy your fine accounts and photos, E-E-Rider.

Andy running Stokers

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ashton - Blackstone River/Canal Loop - March 5, 2016

I needed to stay close to home, so I ended up down in Ashton to paddle the canal/river loop. The river was pretty high (3', 1,000 cfs in Woonsocket). There was water coming over the Ashton Dam, not just through the spillway, which doesn’t happen very often.  The canal had a few trees down, but I was able to get over or around them without getting out of the boat.

Ashton Dam with Route I-295 in the background