Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bulls Bridge at 1 on paint

At 11:30 am this morning, the level was about 1 inch over the block.
At 3:30 pm this afternoon, the level is just a little bit below the block.
(images in this post were left large so you can get a closer look at the gauge)

All of the minimum required flow ("Fish Flow") comes from a gate on the side of the canal, just above the head gates.  (See flow at middle-right of picture) Anything that goes over the dam is extra, and starts to make the run more attractive to paddle.  (See flow at top left of picture in main drop of Stairway Rapid)  The painted gauge was worked out so that, during fish flow, the water level would be about 1 unit (not really feet) below the top of the block.  The old schoolers call it "minus one" and the new schoolers call is "zero" or "fish flow".  Either way, the top of the block is 1, and that takes water going over the dam.

The level at 3:30 pm today. Photo taken from middle window in the bridge.

Same gauge, same time (3:30 pm), different view (from river left, by the fence)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tree in approach to S-Turn rapid (Bulls Bridge on Housatonic in CT)

The view above is from the ledge that makes S-Turn rapid.
A = rock that makes the center staging eddy.
B = the new tree that blocks the left approach.
C = the rock that makes "Otto" Boof (autoboof)

Below is a closeup of the new tree.

And here is a photo of how it looks from the approach.  All photos were taken from the river right side, at minimum/fish flow.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Whoever is throwing long logs in the river..... PLEASE STOP (it's dangerous)

I suspect that the log we removed last week is the result of somebody cutting dead wood to clean up the trails.
Unfortunately, this creates an extremely dangerous situation for whitewater boaters.  I have seen logs stuck in every rapid on Bulls Bridge (including The Flume).  We, the whitewater community, need to get the word out that throwing stuff in the river is adding a risk to our activity.  Once the log is in the river, it is often difficult to see.  Prevention is the best course of action.

A chapter of the AMC has been doing train maintenance.  We need to make sure that they know that throwing stuff in the river puts us at risk.

The utility owner, First Light Power Resources (Suez), does regular trimming of branches, brush, and sometimes tree removal.  They have an office in New Milford, and are trying to promote safety around the river.  I think that it's probably just a political move and lip service, but we should take this opportunity to educate them about the risks that some of their practices present to us.
Their office is at
143 West Street
Suite E
New Milford, CT 06776
(860) 354-8840

How to read the painted gauge

1 is where the wall meets the footer

There is no 0, but you will sometimes hear some of the veteran boaters refer to levels such as minus 1 or minus 1/2.  They are referring to an estimated level below 1 (at the wall/block meeting).  The newer generation simply estimates the level between "fish flow" (minimum flow) and the first reading on the gauge (1) by saying things like "it's 1/2 foot".  That 1/2 foot is essentially the same as the old reading of  minus 1/2 (since the whole scale starts at 1, like medieval mathematics)

Everything else is pretty straight forward.  There is an old worn out mark for 1 1/2, which is a great play level.  2 is clearly marked (another good play level, and probably the best level for first time Stairway runs since it's as padded as it can be without water going over Mushroom Rock).

This is a long-winded, round-about way to announce that I took a picture of the gauge this morning because someone had scrubbed the silt away and re-painted it.  As silt builds up, and the gauge starts to disappear again, you can paddle up to it, splash it with water, and you should be able to see the numbers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Smalls Falls Race (Small To The Wall)

The level was low/runnable, and 24 competitors paddled as fast as they could over 5 waterfalls.  Check out this quick edit of the drops, in the order they were run.  It is just a teaser video to remind everyone that Eric Adsit (publisher of The Dirtbag's Guide to Whitewater) is working on a full edit from video shot by many people at the event.

Smalls Falls is in Western Maine.  Here is a link to the American Whitewater description

The race started on a ramp on the top drop.  Competitors raced through Slideways, Down n' Out, Biggie Smalls, and the last drops to an orange buoy in the pool above the bridge (which was lined with spectators).

Here is footy from last year
and more footage from last year

and, you MUST follow the Facebook page

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Log removal from Stairway Rapid at Bulls Bridge

Housatonic River, South Kent, CT

Yesterday, I posted about the new logs blocking the main line at Stairway Rapid
Today, Dan Greenbaum, an arborist friend of his, and I pulled the logs out and cut them into 2' sections.  There seems to be new wood on a regular basis now, as the river rises/falls, people along the river are cleaning their yards by cutting timber, and the power company is continuing to cut trees and limbs around power lines.

Be careful out there.  Taking a quick look over the horizon line to check for wood is always a good idea.

Photo from yesterday with log pinned in main drop.

Photo from today after log removal.

Photo from yesterday with log blocking main drop

Photo from today after log removal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Log across main drop in Stairway Rapid (Bulls Bridge)

There are two large tree trunks in Stairway Rapid on Bulls Bridge of the Housatonic River in South Kent, CT.  The first is very visible at the 4' level (painted gauge), and the second is barely visible, but is spans the entire channel of the main first/big drop.  Do not run the main drop until this log is removed.

Both views are taken from the river right trail.  The log in the foreground will probably float downstream when the water gets higher.  The one that is buried in the main flow will probably be there until the water drops and someone removes it.  

The arrows indicate the ends of the submerged log.  Draw a line between the points of the arrows, and you will get an idea of how far across this log reaches.  

(All content of this blog is only intended to add to the discourse, and should not be used as a guide.  Make your own decisions based on careful study of the environment when you are there, in person.  Be responsible for your own safety.  Don't let an internet post make your decisions for you)

The flume (below) looks pretty good at 4'.  This photo is taken from river right rocks.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bulls Bridge ice situation

The image above is taken from river right, below the flume, directly across from house rock, looking down towards the island (which is just above the gorge).   Immediately downstream are the two eddies that people swim to after the flume.   The one on the right has a giant ice shelf that crosses the current and attaches to the island.  The left eddy and left side of the island are free of ice as of today, March 18.

The image below is taken from an elevated position at the edge of the river left eddy mentioned above.  Note how the ice on the river right side covers about half of the river.

Below are two pictures of the gorge.  Both are taken from river left.  The first one was taken from the base of the ladder.  The second one is taken from the last chance small eddy where you need to portage.

Yesterday, a crack had formed down the left side of this ice shelf, making it possible to paddle through half of it, then pull yourself along the ice.  It has frozen up again over night, and I suspect the ice will continue to get thicker over the next few days.  

The main lines after this are all clear to the take out.  If the night time temps drop significantly, this could change.