It has been an unusual January here in southern New England. To the north and west it has been cold and snowy, but here is southern New England has been warm and rainy. Great if you can get out and paddle, but kind of depressing if you can’t. I sent out an email to see if I could drum up some interest in a trip on Saturday, and my buddies Jeff and Paul signed on. We decided to do a run on a quickwater section of the Willimantic River in CT.
The Willimantic arises in Stafford Springs, CT and flows south for 25-miles to Willimantic, CT where it joins the Natchaug River to form the Shetucket River. We would be running the 6-mile section at the headwaters from Stafford Springs to Nye-Holman State Forest in Willington. The river was at a nice level – 5-feet, 800 cfs on the Coventry gage. To be honest, it would be even better with another foot of water, but 5-feet is my new minimum for this run.
Easy rapids start right at the put-in and continue for a mile down to an old broken dam. We ran the dam to the left and made it through fine. From there, the river is mostly quickwater as it twists and turns through wetlands and hemlock forests – a pretty run, and nice to get out.
The benefits of working remotely and being a solo paddler. I had no meetings this afternoon and was up to date with my tasks. After lunch, I took off to the local break. Boston Buoy was registering 1.5- 2’ swells with 11 second intervals. Not epic waves but why not?
In seriousness, 20 degree air temp is my lower limit, provided winds less than 10 MPH. My 6/5/4 wetsuit has handled water temps down to low 30s for a couple of hours out in the break (as long as the air temp and winds cooperate):