-- Last Updated: Feb-02-14 7:11 AM EST --
We’re having a heat wave in the northeast this weekend with temp’s getting up into the 40’s. While most rivers are still iced in, there are a few running. One that always runs is the Fife Brook section of the Deerfield in western MA. I was the only open boater to run this section yesterday in a group with 6 yakkers.
I run Fife Brook a couple of times a year. It’s an easy class II with a class III drop at the end – Zoar Gap. We had a nice group and took our time on the way down. It took us about 3 ½ hours to do the five-mile run. We had only one swim – it wasn’t me, but I was involved.
At the top of a rapid called Pinball, I pulled into what looked like a nice long eddy, only to find a strong downstream current. I got pushed to the bottom of the eddy and pinned (still upright) against a rock. Unfortunately, Denise followed me into the eddy thinking that she could stay high, only to get caught in the same current. She pinned against my boat pushing the stern back into the current. Once my boat hit the fast moving water, it pivoted off the rock and literally ran her over. No wonder yakkers stay away from us open boaters!
By the time we got to Zoar Gap, the biggest rapid on this section of the river, I was tired. I paddled down to get some pictures, but I wimped out and walked my boat around the two big drops. I should have run it – everyone said it was fun.
Few pictures here:
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
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Way to go, Eck.|
Posted by: spiritboat on Feb-02-14 10:49 AM (EST)
Keep on keeping-on, while the rest of us are frozen off!
It’s funny |
Posted by: eckilson on Feb-02-14 11:06 AM (EST)
On the way out there every river I drove by was frozen solid – including the Connecticut, which is a pretty big river. I was wondering what we would find when we got there, but there wasn’t a bit of ice on the Deerfield. There were some major icicles coming down the banks though.
is that stretch of the deerfield |
Posted by: tdaniel on Feb-02-14 3:10 PM (EST)
dam fed? To find paddleable water I went looking below dams. Figuring the outflow would keep things open. Even in wv things got iced up. We found free flowing water below bluestone dam on the New River. Nice to get out but probably less excitement than the Deerfield.
Yes - dam releases|
Posted by: eckilson on Feb-02-14 4:38 PM (EST)
and the flow can change pretty dramatically from day to day. I'm sure that's part of what keeps that section ice free.
Posted by: booztalkin on Feb-02-14 11:58 PM (EST)
One difference between open boaters and our kayak pals is what happens when water comes over the bow. Kayakers laugh, canoes get kind of tricky to paddle. Looks like there was a line a canoe could take, then there were other lines that would throw water over the bow. It's easy to understand the 50-50 on that rapid.
Posted by: eckilson on Feb-03-14 5:18 AM (EST)
Most people think Zoar Gap gets easier with more water. The holes are bigger, but are easy to punch through, and you are less likely to hit “oh shit” rock in the middle.
OS! Rock in the middle?|
Posted by: TommyC1 on Feb-04-14 10:22 AM (EST)
Last I saw OS! Rock (pre Sandy)it was on the left bank at the bottom of the chute. The trick then was staying far enough left to avoid the holes in the center without getting slammed into OS! Rock.
Posted by: Celia on Feb-04-14 10:41 AM (EST)
The OS rock on the left is a factor at all water levels. My one pass thru the Gap involved going by that one backwards - had to roll up near the top and didn't see having the time to turn around without ending up being pounded under that second drop.
Posted by: eckilson on Feb-05-14 6:37 AM (EST)
The rock that usually gets me is in the middle just after first drop. If you try to hug the right side you tend to get pushed out into the middle and hit that rock. If oh shit rock is on the bottom left, I've hit that too, but less often. Maybe I'm already swimming by then.
Oh yeah - that one...|
Posted by: Celia on Feb-05-14 8:48 AM (EST)
I thought you meant the geography closer into the drop, which if I recall correctly is a bit more irregular when the water is gone than it looks like under a good flow. That memory may be incorrect.
Do that all the time|
Posted by: eckilson on Feb-06-14 5:20 AM (EST)
Swim is stupid places that is...