Sunday, January 8, 2017

Assabet through Maynard - January 7, 2017

Ben Smith Dam
There was snow in the forecast for the afternoon, so a morning run that was close to home was in order.  Fortunately, the class II section of the Assabet River in Maynard was running, so that is where we went. 

The Assabet River arises in Westborough and flows approximately 34 miles west to meet with the Sudbury River at Egg Rock in Concord to form the Concord River.  There’s lots of great flatwater paddling on the Assabet including the section from Gleasondale to the Ben Smith Dam, and from the PowdermIll Dam down to Egg Rock.  The section through Maynard is an easy class II with some nice surf waves by the Ben Smith Dam and along Walnut Street near the mills. 

Brooke below the Ben Smith Dam
In 1847, textile manufacturer Amory Maynard purchased land in what is now Maynard from a farmer named Ben Smith and built a dam to power his textile mills.  Originally known as Assabet Village, this became the town of Maynard in 1871.  Maynard’s downtown textile mills, now Clock Tower Place, were the home of Digital Equipment Corporation from the 1960’s to the 1990’s.  Digital became a major computer company with 140,000 employees in 1987. 

I met Andy and Brooke at around 10:00 in the parking lot on the left side of the Ben Smith Dam to run the shuttle. The river was at a nice level – 3 feet, 400 cfs on the Maynard gage.  We played in the waves below the Ben Smith Dam before heading downstream.  There are six bridges over the Assabet River as it flows through Maynard.  The first is the double arch Great Road Bridge.  Either side is runable.  A pipe runs along the downstream end producing a surfwave (Crack Baby) that can be caught from the left side. 

Andy at the Mill Waves
The next bridge is the triple arch Mill Street Bridge.  We ran the far left arch due to wood on the right side.  Generally, all three arches are runable.  After some easy riffles and flatwater comes the Florida Road Bridge.  The river then turns right along Walnut Street and mills.  There are a couple of nice surfwaves (Mill Waves) before you reach the Main Street Bridge.  
Downstream from the Main Street Bridge, the river then turns left as it goes under the Walnut Street Bridge.  There are a few more riffles an one more substantial rapid as you approach the Waltham Street Bridge and the take out at the Elks Hall.  We spent about and hour and a half on the river, and it just started to snow just as we finished up.  Fortunately, we were close to home because the roads were slow for the drive home.

Here's another poem by Tom (canoeswithduckheads) that was posted on P-net.

Ole Blackfly don't mind the cold,
he runs red hot when rivers fold,
with liquid motion he flows on yet,
some take that Option Assabet.

Snow falling and water on the lens, but still a happy crew

1 comment:

  1. Man! You guys are tough! I'd like to paddle that stretch someday...when it's above 32 degrees.