Select Page

Returning to the US in early April at the beginning of a heat wave was really confusing. While snow was falling elsewhere in the country and in the alps, heat was blasting New York and New England. The good news was that everything was running and I had my first trip down the Housatonic with Andy Kuhlberg and Scott Barnes on an 86F day in early April. It was beautiful – the water was ice cold but the air temps made it gorgeous. It still looked like winter – not a bud or blossom in site, but it felt like summer. Sadly, it looked like the water was going to disappear by the middle of April – which seemed shocking, even in the time of climate change. Somehow the weather gods answered prayers and 2 inches of rain fell overnight on the weekend of April 22nd.

Spring Paddling Locally
That week temperatures stayed low and the water held until the following weekend when even more rain fell! A Nor’Easter collided with a low pressure system and we were the beneficiaries. Our Spring paddling season extended another 2+ weeks, hallelujah! Another side benefit was that there had been a high fire danger here and that was put on hold. The temperatures stayed low and the air foggy and moist so the super spring suck that all the flowering and deciduous trees initiate from the rivers was again postponed a bit. In the meantime, Andy, Julia Rogers and I had a very fun and exciting high water descent of T’Ville and the double drop, where the river converges in a beautiful little gorge. At high water, this little section feels like the Zambezi with huge boils and whirlpool eddylines. In fact, its great practice for the Zambezi at high water.

Andy and I planned to eddy out in the middle of the double drop and run the far left shoot which only has water at high levels. The river had other ideas. On catching the eddy, I got slapped hard by the eddyline, and it knocked me right over. As I rolled up, I saw Andy pass me heading down the main channel. The next drop requires missing what turns into a large munchy hole on the right and staying upright in some very large and juicy boils at the bottom. Andy had a perfect line for the bottom drop and proved to be a welcome probe. It was exhilarating to be in big water again on this small river. Further below, we joined Julia for surfing at the ledge waves, where the former dam used to be! All in all, a fun and adventurous day on the Farmington River!

Meanwhile, back on the Housatonic, the cold weather also meant the water was staying up at a good river running – play level! When the Bulls Bridge section of the Housatonic is runnable, it is one of my favorite runs of all time. The combination of a short roadless section of river with good whitewater and tons of play in a wild and remote feeling river canyon that does not involve a 3-4 hours shuttle is awesome. Paddling there is one of my most favorite drugs. This year, I met and paddled with more women on the Housatonic than ever before. In 26 years of paddling the river, this was a big and exciting first!