Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Above the Lowest Dam

April 30, 2019
We headed farther up the Housatonic, up above the lowest dam and put in at the Boy Scout launch.
A couple days ago I had found the current in the tidal section of the river to be surprisingly swift, a sure sign that a lot of water was coming through the dam.  I hoped that we would find the section above the dam to be easier paddling.

We slipped the canoe into 4 Mile Brook at the Boy Scout landing, a small sight that was greatly improved by an Eagle Scout project several years ago and shows that it receives regular maintenance.
From the put-in it is just a 50 yard cost under the road bridge and out into the big river.

I've paddled this section several times in the last few years and while not a favorite, it is close enough to home and after a mile or so heading upstream it takes on a bit of wild being surrounded by steep forested hills.  We found the main river running quite fast, a 2 to 1 current where there is normally just a barely perceptible movement.  This did not bode well as the crux of the upstream paddle is a shelf after the last of the riverside houses where the current picks up for 50 yards or so. 

We clawed our way upstream watching for eddies on the inside bends to give us a boost.  Unfortunately, the eddies didn't materialize and the current was swift bank to bank.  The only eddy was just below the shelf and we carefully took a rest there although I had to keep a paddle in the water to keep us out of the eddy line.  The current over the shelf looked to be moving a 6-8 mph, which is double what I can paddle at for a short stretch, so further passage upriver was out of the question plus that type of water would be a bit dodgy for M give skill and water temperature. So, from there we turned and carefully inserted ourselves out into the main current and rode the current back to our start point.

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