Sunday, April 24, 2016

Long drive for a short trip - Pemi Bristol - April 23, 2016

Ayers Island Dam
The forecast was for clearing skies, but I was beginning to wonder as I headed north to NH. The rain started as I entered MA, and continued all the way up to the NH border. Fortunately, as I crossed over into NH, I could see blue sky to the north. By the time I reached the put-in, the sky was bright and clear and the day was beautiful – maybe a little windy. 

I was heading up to NH to paddle the Bristol section of the Pemi with Joe and the NHAMC. We had 3 kayaks (Marcy, Pete and Eric) and 2 canoes (me and Joe). We put in below the Ayers Island Dam (off Ayers Island Road – go left at the recycling center and down the hill on the dirt road next to the transfer station), and took out below the park and play hole off Coolidge Woods Road.

Marcy running Wourthen's
This is a short section of river that is best to run a couple of times to make it worth the trip - at least for me. It’s about 1-1/2 miles long with a couple of nice play spots. The level was 1,500 cfs on the Plymouth gage, which was a little pushy.  Combined with the wind, it was a quick run downstream.

The biggest rapid on this section of the river is called Wourthen’s, and is located about 1/4 mile down from the put in. A ledge protrudes from the left bank (Wourthen's Rock) forcing the river to the right.  The usual line is to the right, although at lower levels you can run the drops in the middle.  We went right.

Joe approaching Coolidge Woods Road
The rapid continues for about 1/5 of a mile, and is followed by a couple of other class II rapids. The last rapid sweeps gradually to the right as it passes through a couple of ledges along Coolidge Woods Road. Unfortunately, there was too much water for me to do any playing at the play spot. 

I would have like to do another run, but no one else was interested, so it turned out to be a long drive for a short trip. Oh well..

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