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
http://totalwhitewaterfun.blogspot.com/2015/04/log-across-main-drop-in-stairway-rapid.html
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.


















https://youtu.be/VDtWYJISEpg


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.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Bulls Bridge 1+ on the painted gauge (a very important correlation)

These numbers are important to note because they represent the lowest levels that indicate the river is "running".  Too many variables come into play to state definitively that the painted gauge always reads 1 when the internet gauge at Gaylordsville reads 3.95.  But, if the internet reads 4, then surely something is going over the dam and adding to the normal minimum flow they maintain for the fish.


Painted boater's gauge:  1 (just an inch over)

Beware of stick in the last small drop of Stairway (river left)

Housatonic at Gaylordsville gauge:   3.95  (1970 cfs)
Tenmile River gauge:  1.98  (271 cfs)
Falls Village gauge:  3.63 (1380 cfs)

This is the level at 3:30 pm today
http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?m=real&r=ct&w=map


The lower levels are difficult enough to read without the snow that fell today.  To get this picture, I had to splash water on the wall after I put in.  Note that the block (the footer, the shelf) that can be seen just an inch below the surface of the water is the mark for 1.  Some of the boaters used to call anything below the block "minus" whatever amount of inches they saw below the block.  Arguing the difference between zero as the lowest number or 1 is kind of silly, since that block is the indication that enough water exists to get through the flat water past Pencil Sharpener.  Water always flows over the Flume, and through S-Turn and Pencil Sharpener.  The minimum flow can be fun if you just want to get on the water.  The problem is that you have to walk out from there when the level is below 1, since it's difficult to float a boat through the flats to get to the take out.  


photo fo Stairway from the bridge.



I put in today at 3:30, while the snow was falling, and frazil ice was forming to add to the accumulating snow in the river.  The beginning of pancake ice was seen in some of the larger eddies that have steady recirculation.  I did not think I was going to paddle today, but the snow made the environment much more attractive, and I knew that I would enjoy some quiet winter paddling.  This is the time of year when I can see more of the natural world and fewer people lining the banks.


That stick in the last little drop in Stairway might become more of a factor is ice continues to build up on it.  It does not seem to be on anyone's line when the level is above 2 1/2, but lower....



This photo of the bottom of DeadHorse was taken from the end of the Surfing Rapid eddy.  The arrow is pointing to the most obvious part of the strainer on the left fork of Dead Horse.  It is a large boulder that is propped up by two small stones.  It used to be directly in the landing zone, but has moved a bit to the right (still in the way, and still very dangerous).  I hope that subsequent floods will continue this trend and start the process of opening up the sieve.


This is the same left fork of Dead Horse taken from the confluence with the main stem of the river.  The right arrow points to the same part of the sieve as the previous picture.  The center arrow is pointing to where most of the flow goes.  If you look closely at the boil, you will see that at least half of the flow is emerging from under the rocks.


This is a photo of the same left fork of Dead Horse, taken from where the right fork (the only line that can be run) hits the main part of the river.  The arrow shows the direction of flow, and points to the major sieve.  Behind the arrow (with many icicles) is the back side of the rock from two pictures ago.

If you choose run Dead Horse, you should be fully aware of the dangers that lurk in the left fork of the final drop.  Not only does a serious sieve exists, but it often collects wood.  The final move is a must-make move, and is not the place to rely on luck.


Above is a picture of the Flume at this level (1).  I took the picture after running the Flume, so am looking back upstream at it (with the tourist observation deck at the top of the picture (the vantage point from which I took video footage of Sollie running the Flume at 3 1/2), and Dead Horse out of sight upstream of the Flume because of my low vantage point).  The arrows illustrate an alternate line that some of us like to run when the river gets this low.  It really only goes when it hits 1 on the gauge.  There is a last chance eddy on river-left (A).  Setting up the move from the last-chance eddy (A), boaters must ferry across the entire drop (B), with the stern almost touching the horizon.  The river will want to kick back the other way, but keep paddling as far as you can, and make a nice angled boof off the opposite edge (C), landing in a shallow pool.  To exit, paddle back into the hole of the main drop and surf it out.  It's not for the timid, but it's a great boof.  


Taking out at the confluence of the Ten Mile River cuts the walking shuttle distance in half (and means I can walk on the Appalachian Trail instead of on busy Route 7).  The AT follows the river.  A more direct trail exists through the woods, but it does not follow the river.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Flume at 3 1/2 (Bulls Bridge)

http://youtu.be/ec74KZygMpI




View from observation deck between Dead Horse and the main flow, looking down at The Flume.  This can be run direct, but setting up in the river-right eddy is often more accurate.  Note how Sollie hits the rooster tail at the lip of the drop and follows it down with right to left momentum.  He hits the line perfectly.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

http://totalwhitewaterfun.blogspot.com/p/bulls-bridge-painted-gauge-internet.html


Bulls Bridge: Painted Gauge & Internet Gauge Correlations

Alden Bird’s book ,  “Let It Rain:  The Whitewater Rivers of New England, New York, Quebec and Ontario”  ISBN-13: 978-0615154077  has some data on gauge correlations from Dan St. Germain.   While many people have complex systems to remotely figure out the level on the painted gauge, the one Dan outlined in the book is simple (and one that boaters have used for decades to decide if they were going load gear into the car to drive to the river).  The table below has a version of the same system that I was taught 20 years ago (probably by Dan or someone who paddled with him).  

The simple way to remember it is:
4 on the internet = 1 on the paint, 
and every half step up on the internet is a whole step up on the painted gauge.


Internet gauge at Gaylordsville
(power plant operation normal)
Painted boater’s gauge on river right, below the bridge at regular put-in
4.0
1   (or a little lower)
4.5
2   (or a little lower)
5.0
3
5.5 
4
6.0
5
6.5
6
7.0
7   (or a little higher)

It’s not perfect, but is an easy correlation that works within a couple of inches on the gauge.  Close enough for boating!


If you don’t have Alden’s book, then I recommend picking it up.  It’s a great resource!


According to the limited data from this past month, when the power plant is off, the following correlations exist.

Internet gauge at Gaylordsville
(power plant is off)
Painted boater’s gauge on river right, below the bridge at regular put-in
3.4
1 ½ 
3.7
2 ½ 
4.0
3
5.15
4 ½ 
7.5
7



Bulls Bridge gauge records from December 2014
(a bunch of numbers that don’t make perfect sense, but do have rough correlations)

Chronological Record

Date
Powerplant OFF/ON
Painted Gauge
online gauge
Gaylordsville
online gauge
TenMile
online gauge
Falls Village
11/30
offline
1 ½ 
3.40  (997cfs)
1.52  (154cfs)
3.05  (842cfs)
12/5
offline
2 ½
3.70  (1680cfs)
1.89  (246cfs)
3.43  (1230cfs)
12/6
offline
3 (low)
3.89  (1900cfs)
2.24  (352cfs)
3.62  (1379cfs)
12/7
offline
4 ½(high)
5.28  (3700cfs)
3.32  (793cfs)
4.67  (2470cfs)
12/8
offline
4 ½ (low)
5.00  (3320cfs)
2.77  (546cfs)
4.40  (2150cfs)
12/10
offline
7
7.53  (7510cfs)
5.47(2140cfs)
6.40  (4840cfs)
12/11
ON
6 ½ 
7.32  (7090cfs)
4.52 (1470cfs)
6.34  (4750cfs)
12/12
ON
5 ½ 
6.63  (5770cfs)
3.83 (1060cfs)
5.89  (4110cfs)
12/13
ON
4 ½ 
5.94  (4650cfs)
3.39  (828cfs)
5.09  (2990cfs)
12/14
ON
3 ½ 
5.31  (3740cfs)
3.12  (698cfs)
4.55  (2320cfs)
12/15
ON
2 ½ 
4.98  (3300cfs)
2.94  (618cfs)
4.30  (2040cfs)
12/16
ON
2
4.75  (3000cfs)
2.77  (546cfs)
4.16  (1900cfs)
12/17
ON
2
4.72  (2960cfs)
2.87  (588cfs)
4.06  (1790cfs)
12/19
ON
2 ½ 
no info
2.74  (534cfs)
4.16  (1900cfs)
12/20
ON
2+
4.60  (2820cfs)
2.55  (460cfs)
4.09  (1820cfs)
12/21
ON
1 ½ 
4.40  (2570cfs)
2.47  (431cfs)
3.94  (1670cfs)
12/22
ON
1 ½ (low)
4.28  (2400cfs)
2.42  (413cfs)
3.84  (1580cfs)
12/23
ON
1 ¼ 
4.21  (2300cfs)
2.42  (413cfs)
3.83  (1570cfs)
12/24
ON
1 ½ 
4.32  (2460cfs)
2.48  (434cfs)
4.01  (1740cfs)

Compared levels:  powerplant ON vs powerplant offline

Date
Powerplant OFF/ON
Painted Gauge
online gauge
Gaylordsville
online gauge
TenMile
online gauge
Falls Village
12/21
ON
1 ½ 
4.40  (2570cfs)
2.47  (431cfs)
3.94  (1670cfs)
12/24
ON
1 ½ 
4.32  (2460cfs)
2.48  (434cfs)
4.01  (1740cfs)
11/30
offline
1 ½ 
3.40  (997cfs)
1.52  (154cfs)
3.05  (842cfs)






12/16
ON
2
4.75 (3000cfs)
2.77 (546cfs)
4.16 (1900cfs)
12/17
ON
2
4.72  (2960cfs)
2.87  (588cfs)
4.06  (1790cfs)
12/20
ON
2+
4.60  (2820cfs)
2.55  (460cfs)
4.09  (1820cfs)






12/19
ON
2 ½ 
no info
2.74  (534cfs)
4.16  (1900cfs)
12/15
ON
2 ½ 
4.98  (3300cfs)
2.94  (618cfs)
4.30  (2040cfs)
12/5
offline
2 ½
3.70  (1680cfs)
1.89  (246cfs)
3.43  (1230cfs)






12/6
offline
3 (low)
3.89  (1900cfs)
2.24  (352cfs)
3.62  (1379cfs)






12/14
ON
3 ½ 
5.31  (3740cfs)
3.12  (698cfs)
4.55  (2320cfs)






12/13
ON
4 ½ 
5.94  (4650cfs)
3.39  (828cfs)
5.09  (2990cfs)
12/7
offline
4 ½ (high)
5.28  (3700cfs)
3.32  (793cfs)
4.67  (2470cfs)
12/8
offline
4 ½ (low)
5.00  (3320cfs)
2.77  (546cfs)
4.40  (2150cfs)

Power plant is alleged to take 1800 cfs, but only seems to take 1200 – 1600 cfs.    If they keep fixing the systems, they might actually take 1800 cfs again in the future.