Sunday, April 30, 2017

Otter Brook - April 29, 2017

It’s funny how trips come together. Usually by Thursday afternoon someone has posted a trip that I am interested in. This week, it didn’t happen, so I posted it myself – Otter Book in southern NH. And just to make sure it happened, I posted it at three places – Where’s the Whitewater at, Merrimack Valley Paddlers and a local email list. It worked. We ended up with about 20 people in three groups, including 6 canoes.

Otter Brook is an easy class II that runs through Keene, NH on it’s way to the Ashuelot River and ultimately the Connecticut River. From the Otter Brook Dam, the river twists and turns though the woods down to Otter Ledge – a 2-foot drop that is usually run through the shoot on the right. Shortly after that, Otter Brook merges with Miniwawa Brook, which adds to its flow and provides some nice wave trains for the remainder of the run along Route 101. The river was at its typical dam release level - 7.5 feet, 300 cfs.  Paul and I ended up doing two runs – great day.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Lonsdale Ashton Loop – April 22, 2017

It was gray and rainy, but the water levels were great, and we are starting to see some green on the trees.

Blackstone Canal in Ashton
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Monday, April 10, 2017

It’s Miller Time - April 9, 2017

Doane's Falls

The day started with an early morning stop at McDonald’s to meet Paul for the drive up to the Upper Millers in north central MA. As we approached the put-in, we took a short diversion to check out Doane’s Falls on nearby Lawrence Brook in the Tully Lake Recreation Area.  If the water flowing down this waterfall was any indication, it was going to be a great day.

I first ran the Upper Millers with Mike and Tommy back in 2007, and it has been a favorite ever since.  The water on this section of the river is controlled by releases from the Birch Hill Dam. With the exception of a couple of railroad bridges, there is nothing to break the wilderness feeling of the river.

Above the first railroad bridge
We met up with a group from the CT AMC – 16 boats with 14 kayaks and 2 canoes. The day was sunny and warm, and the water level was perfect (4.5 feet,1.500 cfs).  In fact, the Ranger that controls the flow from the Birch Hill Dam stopped by to tell us that he had increased the flow for the day – nice!

The fun began immediately with a long wave train just below the put-in. From there, the river alternates between quickwater, rock gardens and long wave trains.  At this level, most of the rocks were buried just below the surface. I came close on a couple, but made it through. We worked our way downstream running waves, catching eddies, and generally having a good time. By the time we reached the take-out I was pretty tired, but it was great to get changed and pack up our gear in the warm sunshine for the trip home. 

Smiling on the Upper Millers

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