Monday, March 27, 2017

Assabet - Acton to Concord - March 26, 2017

Running the Damondale Dam
I got a nice surprise on Friday – an email from Jonathan looking to do some paddling.  I couldn’t paddle on Saturday, but Sunday was open, so I sent an email off to Suasco Al, Tommy and Bill, and we set up a trip on the Assabet. Tommy brought Mena, and Lora and Pat joined from Facebook, so we had a nice group.

We would be running the section of the Assabet from Acton to Concord.  It’s a pretty section that is mostly flatwater except for the broken dam at Damondale.  The river was at a nice level – 2.5 feet, 200 cfs.  We had quite a mixture of boats – Bill and I paddled tandem in my Mohawk; Tommy in his Osprey and Jonathan in his Courier paddled solo; Mena was poling in Tommy’s Souhegan; Lora and Pat were in whitewater kayaks; and Al had his long boat.

Through the blow-downs
We put in at around 10:30 at the Acton Canoe Launch.  The morning started off sunny and warm, but gradually clouded over and got chilly.  We spent a little time playing at the broken dam at Damondale before heading downstream. 

There were quite a few blowdowns below the dam, including the river wide strainer that gave us trouble last time we were here.  The canoes had better luck getting over than the kayaks, so I got out into waist-deep water to help - drysuits are wonderful things! We stopped for lunch in West Concord, and it started to rain just as we pulled into the take out at Lowell Road in Concord at around 2:00.  Nice trip.

Taking a break at Leaning Hemlocks

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Branch River Icebreaker - March 18, 2017

Gearing up at the put in
Snow, ice, strainers and rocks pretty much describe yesterday’s trip on the Branch River.  There were four hardy paddlers - Bill and I (tandem in my Mohawk), Conrad (kayak) and Jonathan (solo canoe). The river was low (2.5 feet, 150 cfs), so we spent most of our time bouncing off rocks. 

Whipple was runable, although Bill and I got stuck half way through. There are a couple of strainers below Whipple Drop that need to be cut out – we had to carry around one.  There was lots of ice at portage at the Oakland Dam, but fortunately it was still thick enough to walk on.

Jonathan running Whipple Drop
Bill and I portaged the Glendale Rapid since there was no way we would get my big Mohawk through with the huge tree and wood in the middle of the rapid.  Conrad bumped is way down the right side, and Jonathan took the sneak route to far right.

Atlas Pallet was low, but runable, as was the small rapid below the Nasonville Dam.  The day ended with a beer and burger at Gator’s Pub. Not a bad way to end the winter 2017 paddling season.  On to spring!

Me and Bill below Glendale

Monday, March 6, 2017

River Island Park - March 5, 2017

Only the die-hard paddlers were out this weekend, and most of them were on bigger river than I wanted to run, so I took my boat down to River Island Park. Level was 2.5 feet, 500 cfs, which is actually not bad. I walked up to the dam to get some pictures, and then played in whatever features I could find. 

River Island Park from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

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