A nice whitewater surprise

Just under 3” of rain in less than 12-hours, and one of my favorite runs in NH (Woodstock section of the Pemigewasset River) went from 2.5-feet to 8.5-feet.


It was down to a more reasonable level of 4.5-feet yesterday when we got out to paddle it. This is a 4-mile run that is a combination of quickwater and class I/II rapids. Toughest rapid is the Ledges at the end, which was probably a class II+ yesterday. Scenery was great with nice fall color and beautiful views of the White Mountains when you remembered to turn around and look upstream. This is us running the Ledges – a little confusion in the eddy at the top :wink:

Few more pictures here:


Hi, Erik,

Looks like a fun drop at that level. Late season runs are a treat.

I find it interesting that many boaters back here in the eastern USA use depth readings (gage height) rather than volumetric readings (cubic feet per second), which is more commonly used out west. At least in the PNW. For me, the CFS numbers provide me with a better picture of what I might encounter when boating a river. The USGS seems to agree: “Streamflow values are better indicators than gage height of conditions along the whole river.” (From their web page How do I interpret gage height and streamflow values? — USGS Water Data for the Nation Help System)

Using CFS readings for the Pemigewasset I now see that it went from about 150 CFS to about 8950 CFS! I’ve canoed rivers at 8000 to 9000 CFS so I know what that’s like. A flow of around 1000 CFS (interpreted from gage height curve) is much less pushy and stressful. :grinning:

Pemigiwasset CFS graph

I usually use cfs myself, but for folks that aren’t used to looking at river flows gage height seemed to be an easier metric. I think it was around 1,400 when we were on it - easy level. At 8 feet, 8,000 cfs I’m told it is just fast moving moving water with no features.

Highest level on record for this river was 17 feet in 2011. I paddled it shortly after and there was a pop-up camper stuck in the branches of a tree about 10 feet off the ground. I noticed the camper yesterday - it has now fallen out of the tree, but it is still there on the ground.

Camper habitat for coons, skunks, opposums, and rodents of all kinds. :smiley:

Looks like a very pleasant surprise, Eck. And after a summer of hard drought and cancelled releases, the Fall runs are shaping up justs as nice as the leaves have.

As a Northeast boater myself, I pretty much go exclusively by CFS–But no matter what on-line gauge one uses, it sure beats the days of calling a usgs phone number and getting a recording with data/info that’s a week old!:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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