Sunday, October 9, 2016

Pawcatuck – Bradford to Potter Hill – October 8, 2016

Below the Bradford Dam
I needed to stay local, so I decided to join the RICKA Flatwater trip on the Pawcatuck River from the Bradford Landing to Potter Hill Dam.  It’s a nice 7.5-mile trip, and I wanted to find the bushwhack campsite below the Bradford Dam in the Grills Preserve of the Westerly Land Trust that Jim and I had found a few years ago.

We put in at Bradford Landing, paddled under the Route 91 Bridge, and portaged the Bradford dam on the right.  I checked out the surfing opportunities below the dam, but there wasn’t much - the water was very low - 4ft, 69 cfs on the Westerly gage; 2ft, 21 cfs on the Wood River Junction gage. 

Lunch at the Polly Coon Bridge
From the Bradford Dam to the Route 3 Bridge, the river twists and turns trough the woodlands of the Grills Preserve owned by the Westerly Land Trust and Hopkinton Land Trust. We stopped for lunch at the Polly Coon Footbridge before continuing downstream. I kept my eye open for the campsite, but couldn’t find it. Below the Route 3 Bridge there is more development and the river meanders though open marshland to the Potter Hill Dam.

Parking can be a problem at the take out, but Mike had arranged for us to park in the open lot on the right above the Potter Hill Road Bridge.  This is the easiest spot to take out and portage around the Potter Hill Dam. To continue downstream, you can carry down Potter Hill Road and put in below the dam on the right, or carry up Potter Hill Road to Post Office Lane and put in below the dam on the left.

Early foliage on the Pawcatuck River
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