Sunday, January 6, 2019

Upper Wood River – Janaury 5, 2019

At the put-in
I knew I couldn’t paddle on Sunday, so I was glad that Papa Joe changed his weekend hike to Sunday, and that Jonathan was looking to paddle on Saturday. Due to family obligations and a bad cold I missed the traditional New Year's Day trips, so this would be my first paddle of 2019. We decided on the Upper Wood River. The forecast was for temeratures in the mid-40’s and rain, and rain it did.  Fortunately, the rain fell mostly before and after our paddle.

The Wood River arises in the swamps northeast of Porter Pond in Sterling, CT, and flows southeast to Hazard Pond, where it crosses into RI. From there, it continues southeast past Escoheag Hill and over Stepstone Falls. From its source to the Stepstone Falls the Wood River is also known as the Falls River. It then flows south through Beach Pond State Park where it receives the Flat River, continues south through the Arcadia Management Area in Exeter, and forms the border between the towns of Richmond and Hopkinton to its convergence with the Pawcatuck River in Alton.

Smiles from the bow paddler
We would be paddling the 7.5 mile section from Ten Rod Road (Route 165) in Exeter to the Wyoming Dam (Bridge Street) in Richmond.  The river was at a great level - 200 cfs, 4.5 feet on the Arcadia gage350 cfs, feet on the Hope Valley gage.  We met at the Wyoming dam at 10:30, ran the shuttle and were on the river by 11:00.

For the first 4 miles the river twists and turns through the woods of the Arcadia Management Area. There were a couple of blow-downs that we needed to portage, but most we were able to paddle through.

Portage at the Barberville Dam
A gentle rain started as we paddled into Frying Pan Pond and down to Barberville Dam.  We stopped for a snack at the Wood/Pawcatuck Watershed Association Headquarters (Jonathan’s delicious potato/leek soup), ignored the sign and put-in below the left side of the Barberville Dam and continued downstream.

We were off the river by around 2:00 and stopped for stuffies and chowder at the Middle of Nowhere Dinner.  Great day, but aren’t they all.  

Barberville Dam
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