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Quaboag River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Day Trip Report
Trip Dates: May 16, 2012
Nearest City: Warren/W. Brookfield, MA
Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult
Submitted by: Brendan

Description:

I went out yesterday to the Quaboag River in W. Mass. My friend and I were using an Olde Town Tripper and expecting a not too difficult paddle of 10 miles or so. We put in at the intersection of Rt 9 and 67 and took out at the Rt 32 bridge in Monson/Palmer. It was much longer than 10 miles, more like 18-20, and took us 5 hours.

The conditions were sunny, in the 70's, and recent rain provided us with good water level. The water level was at maximum without flooding, right at the natural vegetation line. It was boney in spots and you will scrape rocks often, even with this water level, but it was not bad. There were some trees and such blocking some of the river, but nothing so serious we couldn't pass. It would be good to have it cleared a bit though. There is one dam we needed to portage, maybe a 100 yard walk along a railroad.

Anyway, on to the white water. I have never paddled here before and didn't know what to expect. I thought we would hit some swift water and that's it. But the middle third of the river we paddled, from around the intersection of Cross St. and Main St Warren to about the Mass Pike or so, there was consistent white water, definitely class II maybe touching some III's. There are a handful of drops of about 1-2 ft, many exposed and slightly submerged rocks and tricky turns. The river narrows in sections and gets a little rough, providing shoots of 50 yards or so with nice haystacks. We have a decent amount of experience, but we ended up flipping 3 times and recovered fairly easily. You can find spots to stand up in once you get adjusted after flipping, just stay upriver of your canoe!!

It was a fun time and I would definitely do it again. There aren't long lengths of whitewater, but many consistently shorter, technical sections which I've never experienced much of before. This is not a novice run unless you plan on falling in, are comfortable in the water, and have a backup plan in case you lose your canoe. I'd recommend this run to anyone if the same conditions are present.

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