Tuesday, September 27, 2022

RICKA Family Picnic and Sea Kayak Paddle – September 25, 2022

Heading out
I did my first sea kayak trip with RICKA Sea Kayak group at the RICKA Family Picnic. We went from the North Kingstown Town Beach to the Plum Beach Light and back – about 8 miles. The trip started with a safety talk and a review of the gear to be carried in the boat – pump and paddle float behind the seat, first aid kit, change of clothes and snack in the day hatch, and radio in the PFD.

We put in at the beach and headed south past Fox Island and down to Plum Beach Light. The wind was light, but we were mid-way through the tide change with the tide going out. The current was more noticeable at the light house where the channel narrows between Jamestown and Narraganset near the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge.

Plum Beach Light
After snapping a few pictures at the light, we headed west to Plum Beach and then north to Rome Point. We stopped for a snack at the Narrows, and talked about group dynamics and leadership – CLAP – Communication, Line of Sight, Attention, Position of Maximum Effectiveness.

We arrived back at the beach in time for lunch and the RICKA award Ceremony. In recognition of the RICKA 45th Anniversary, I gave the Founder’s Award to founding members Barbara and Henry.

Presenting Barbara and Henry with the Founder's Award

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Paddling in the Wind - September 18, 2022

A family party and work around the house kept me busy for most of the weekend, but I did get out with my kayak to practice paddling in the wind at Lincoln Woods. I was interesting to see how the boat responded - with no momentum the boat turned sideways and with momentum the boat turned into the wind. I practiced outside turns into the wind, inside turns downwind, and paddling sideways in the wind with and without the skeg.  

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Mighty Fife - September 11, 2022

I had a lot of options for paddling this weekend. Bob was trying to arrange a poling trip on the Blackstone (don’t know if it happened), the Pcat release was Saturday (early due to repairs on the dam), the RICKA Sea Kayak group was doing a trip from the Bay Campus (big swells from Hurricane Earl offshore - maybe not for my first trip), and CTAMC was doing a run on Fife Brook. I decided to get back in my whitewater canoe for a run on the Mighty Fife - Fife for Life as John Kaz says.  Appropriate since it is the run I have done more than any other over the years.

We had 14 boats with 4 beginners and couple of other less experienced paddlers. Release was 800 cfs. We had swims everywhere – even I got involved in a couple of rescues. I made it through Zoar Gap with no problem – eddied out at the top and went right. No pictures of me other than the group shot - I should have given Paul D. my camera as I ran the Gap. My Gap record now stands at 17 attempts with 9 successful, 6 swims and 2 walks.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Charles River - Needham to Wellesley - September 3, 2022

In the "new to me" Capella
I had put a RICKA flatwater trip on the calendar in the spring, and my original plan was to do a shuttle trip on the Medfield to Natick section of the Charles. When I got an email from Steve saying that the river was choked with weeds above the Farm Road/Bridge Street bridge I had to change my plans. I decided to do an up-and-back trip in the “Bays Region” from Needham to Wellesley.

Under the Centre Street Bridge
We met at 10:00 to launch our boats at the Charles River Peninsula (87 Fisher Street, Needham, MA). In this section, the river is relatively undeveloped except for some large houses as the river flows through Dover/Sherborn. The river starts off as marshland, but turns to woodlands as you get above the Dover Street Bridge. After a break for lunch at the Elm Bank Reservation (900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA) we headed back downstream – 11 easy miles in my new Capella.

Skye, Cheryl and Erik - the three Capellas

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Bethel Point - August 27, 2022

Bethel Point Landing
I brought my sea kayak up to Maine for a visit with my son in Harpswell. I figured there would be lots of places to paddle, and I was right. Many are also places that I wouldn't feel comfortable paddling my canoe. 

Harpswell is a beautiful coastal town just north of Portland on Casco Bay with 216 miles of coastline along Harpswell Neck to the west, and Great Island, Orr's Island, and Bailey Island to the east. These islands form an archipelago connected by bridges with over 200 smaller islands. 

Cundy Harbor from the west
My son is on Great Island, so I put in at the public boat launch at Bethel Point. It is a protected area with Yarmouth Island to the south and Cundy Harbor to the east. To the west is Quahog Bay and Long Reach.

I paddled around Hen Cove over to the west side of Cundy Harbor before exploring some of the smaller islands. It was only a 3-mile trip, but it was just enough, and I was able to practice some edging along the way. Lots of other great places to explore in Harpswell.

Exploring the islands

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Planning for Fall Camping - Allagash River

In January of 2020 we were planning an Allagash camping trip for the spring. That is also when we started to hear about COVID-19, and little did we know what was coming. Obviously, that trip never happened. 

Two years later in the spring of 2022 we decided to give it another try. COVID was still with us and we were halfway through the Greek alphabet for variant designations, but we were all vaccinated and boasted. One week before the trip I tested positive for COVID and the trip got cancelled. I felt terrible, but a couple of days later Jonathan tested positive as well - misery loves company. 

Well, I still want to get up to Maine for my first Allagash trip and Jonathan needs to keep his annual string of trips going, so four intrepid campers (Jonathan, Conrad, Julie and me) are planning to do the long-delayed Allagash trip this fall. The plan is to spend a couple of days on the lakes, and then paddle the Allagash River. Here is what Jonathan came up with:
  • Thursday, Sept. 29th - assemble at Jonathan’s in Wiscasset in time for dinner.
  • Friday, Sept. 30th – leave Wiscasset early for the 5-hour drive to Churchill Dam. Camp at the Jaws between Heron Pond and Churchill Lake.
  • Saturday, Oct. 1st - spare day – another night at the Jaws - explore Eagle Lake and visit the locomotives.
  • Sunday, Oct. 2nd - Chase Rapids - camp on Unmasks or Long Lake
  • Monday, Oct. 3rd - Long Lake Dam (line this one) - camp on Round Pond
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4th - Round Pond to Five Finger Brook - camp at Five Finger Brook
  • Wednesday, Oct. 6th – early start down to Michaud Farm to meet Norm L’Italien (Pelletier’s Campground) for the ride back to Churchill Dam. Drive back to Wiscasset, or the long drive home. 
We’ll bring coolers with real food for the first few days, then switch to freeze-dried. Lunches are on BYO. Jonathan will bring cooking gear and G&T for the 6:30 sundown meeting. Everyone will bring their own chair, camping gear, coffee mug, and other refreshments.  We'll have to figure out the remaining group gear.

Sounds like a plan - SYOTR in 35 days!

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Hot Day on the Sudbury – August 20, 2022

Heading out into the marshlands
A trip in August in the wide open marshlands of the Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge on the Sudbury River seemed like a good idea when Bill and I put it on the RICKA Flatwater calendar back in April. We knew there would be water, but we hadn't thought about how hot it can get in the dog days of summer, or the total lack of shade.

The Sudbury is a National Wild and Scenic River that arises in Westborough and flows generally northeast for 41-miles to its convergence with the Assabet at Egg Rock in Concord. From there the river continues as the Concord, which flows generally north for about 16-miles until its convergence with the Merrimack River in Lowell.

Me and Bill in the Spirit II
n the towns of Sudbury and Wayland, the Sudbury River flows through the wetlands of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. It is a beautiful area that provides habitat for migratory bids and many other animals. Bill and I have been doing RICKA trips on the Sudbury for the past couple of years.  

We put-in at 9:30 at the Lincoln Canoe Launch (Route 117). With the ongoing drought, the water at the launch itself was a low, but the river was fine. We paddled upstream into the marshes for about 4-miles before turning around and stopping for lunch under the bridge at Sherman’s Bridge Road - the only shade we could find. Temps hit the low 90’s, so it was HOT out on the water, but a trip to Bedford Farms in Concord for ice cream made up for it. John put together this video: