The day started with an early morning stop at McDonald’s to meet Paul for the drive up to the Millers River in north central MA. There are two sections of the Millers that are popular for whitewater boating – the Upper Millers from South Royalston to Athol, and the Lower Millers from Erving to Millers Falls. The Lower Millers runs pretty regularly, but the Upper Millers can be tougher to catch. We would be running the Upper Millers.
The Upper Millers was actually the first whitewater trip that I did with long-time P-netter Wickerbut back in 2007, and it has been a favorite ever since. The water on this section of the river is controlled by releases from the Birch Hill Dam. With the exception of a couple of railroad bridges, there is nothing to break the wilderness feeling of the river.
As we approached the put-in, we took a short diversion to check out Doane’s Falls on nearby Lawrence Brook in the Tully Lake Recreation Area. If the water flowing down this waterfall was any indication, it was going to be a great day.
We met up with a group from the CT AMC – 16 boats with 14 kayaks and 2 canoes. The day was sunny and warm, and the water level was perfect. In fact, the ranger that controls the flow from the Birch Hill Dam stopped by to tell us that he had increased the flow for the day – nice! The fun began immediately with a long wave train just below the put-in.
From there, the river alternates between quickwater, rock gardens and long wave trains. We worked our way downstream running waves, catching eddies, and generally having a good time.
By the time we reached the take-out I was pretty tired, but it was great to get changed and pack up our gear in the warm sunshine for the trip home. Let the spring season begin!
Pictures from Doane’s Falls
Pictures from the Upper Millers