My home river the Blackstone flows 44 miles from the hills of Worcester, MA to Narraganset Bay near Providence, RI. Five miles upstream from Providence the river flows over its largest waterfall – the Pawtucket Falls - and becomes the Seekonk River. This is where Samuel Slater built the textile mill that started America’s Industrial Revolution.
Pawtucket Falls with the Slater Mill upstream
I needed to stay close to home this weekend, so when I saw my local club doing a trip on the Seekonk River I decided to join in. Winds and tides tend to get funneled up the river making it tough to paddle in my solo canoe. I have to say, it was a lot easier in my sea kayak.
Few pictures here:
And the easy way is hard enough sometimes.
Yup - why work hard if you don’t have too.
Seekonk river in Providence is ugly too much trash but Fox Point and Providence River challenging and fun. The Blackstone is BEAUTIFUL but south of Woonsocket have been reading about the sewage plant out of date and during the summer it smells like… toilet so I haven’t been out there since those articles came out last year. Too bad I miss it as its so idyllic and pretty!
When is the last time you were on the Seekonk River? It’s an urban paddle and the East Providence side is not particularly scenic, but the Providence side is nice with Blackstone Park, the Narragansett Boat Club and Swan Point Cemetery. Not a lot of trash, but there are a couple of good size homeless camps when you get up into Pawtucket.
The Blackstone is nice - my home river and I paddle it often. Issue with the sewage treatment plant in Woonsocket was resolved last year. Unfortunately, there are fair number of homeless camps on the Blackstone now too. No sure what you go about that, but it is a real problem.
Providence River up into the city is very nice. Usually put in at Bold Point in East Providence.
Last time I was on the Seekonk River Prov/EProv was 2021 wife was totally turned off.
Blackstone I haven’t gone since last year, I live in Northern RI and often ride the bike path as well. It smells like toilet when you ride that path which is next to the river itself. I remember my boats were covered in brown gunk every time I paddled it the last few years its probably bacteria I was told but still, yuk! You know what I am talking about its so nice. The river doesn’t flow that hard either. You’re so isolated. I put in either in Lonsdale or Manville dam. It’s not a very long paddle but a satisfying one otherwise.
Providence river into city is VERY technical. You see all the waterfire stuff from below the way it really is very cool and wind up going up the Woonasquatucket whose watershed I also like very much. Stump Pond/Stillwater Reservoir my fave about to go paddle there but I feel tired today =(. No matter how you time the current when you go up into Providenceyou’re going to get lots of it and I don’t know what’s worse going into it and paddling harder or from behind you and having to paddle even harder to keep from Jack-knifing the kayak. Going under 195 from the Seekonk is one of the most technical paddles I’ve ever done. Its not long but the wind, waves, current and sound make it pretty scary all in the Seekonk/Woonasquatucket getting together.
I enjoy that and did it with a friend who was a high level canoe instructor in Canada a few times in our double Kayak lots of fun. He was the kind of guy who would disappear for a few weeks portaging and exploring the wilderness in Canada eaten by bugs in the summer like Algonquin Natl park up there so he was up for it. Wifey not so. Sadly he died of a horrific cancer just before COVID. One of the most awful deaths I have ever seen makes me shudder to think about how terribly he died. Suffered enormously, thankfully it was quick. He was one of my best friends and an awesome partner in crime/outdoor buddy for all this kayak, cycling, hiking, shooting and outdoor stuff he was into. We would go visit them in Canada too what fantastic memories. I miss him.
Walking back from this morning’s trip on the Blackstone - ran the easy rapids through Woonsocket, and then walked back on the bike path. This sculpture is new.
You might be confusing the Blackstone Canal with the Blackstone River. The Blackstone Canal runs along the bike path between Lonsdale and Ashton. It is stagnent and gets covered with algae and other nasty stuff in the summer. Spring, winter or fall it is fine, but I wouldn’t paddle it in the summer either. There are a lot of dams on the Blackstone River, but it moves along. I’m OK with the water quality on the Blackstone River.
Stump Pond is nice - we do RICKA and BVPC trips there. Are you a RICKA member?
Sorry about your friend.
Yes I have paddled mostly either from Manville Dam north to Woonsocket until you get the rapids below the bridge where all the drainage goes into the river at the end of the bike path just past the sewage treatment plant. I also put in at the bike path parking lot in Lonsdale where the drive in used to be near the Central Falls border.
I have tried to paddle w/ RICKA and feel I am in a strange in between situation. RICKA is too slow, I went out a couple times and felt like I could outrun and run rings around the entire group with any more than one or two strokes of the paddle. On the other hand any groups that are more capable are WAY too advanced like the hardcore ocean kayakers out in the swell off Jametown or Newport or surfski. Am in a strange nether world of too fit and fast for recreational but not advanced enough for the “real” paddling either.
Curious – how did you make this assessment? Have you paddle with the surf/rock contingent? I am a member of RICKA but only paddle once with the surf/rock contingent last year. The interesting thing is that the individual is asked to make their own determination whether they should head out on the “common adventure” or not. Before the trip, I was not concerned about my kayaking skill level as I know my ability to roll and brace in textured water conditions. I was concerned a tad bit about distance as I wasn’t sure how far the group intended to venture and in what conditions. Truthfully, my biggest concern was with group dynamics since I don’t know the group at all and, that for most of the past decade, I’ve been more of a solo adventurer. The trip turned out fine. We got in some small wave action (more than what was happening in MassBay that day). I hung back and mostly watched the rock play, except for one “surf” entry between two boulders into a small lagoon. I was just not keen on risking damage to what was my brand new Sterling Progression (maybe now since I got several chips in the gelcoat…). The group proved pretty laid back and friendly. I enjoyed the trip.
This past year, I added a Dagger Stratos just so I can engage more fully in the rockplay. However, the scheduled RICKA rock/surf trips haven’t coincided with my schedule for me to drive down to RI. Hopefully, I’ll catch an impromptu trip with the surf/rockplay group before winter.
Like you, I live near the Blackstone River so I paddle it often. Having said that, when I make a list of my favorite paddling sites, the Blackstone is pretty far down on the list. My list would include:
Moving Water (but not quite whitewater)
Coastal (but not open water)
Ninigret Pond (RI)
Point Judith Pond (RI)
Wickford Harbor (RI)
All of these are flatwater/recreational trips at RICKA, so there is a real variety of trips. If you are just interested in going fast, then these trips probably aren’t for you - we go as fast as the slowest paddler (although everyone is expected to keep up). But if you are looking to paddle some nice trips with folks of varied skill levels, you should probably give it another try. I was thinking about putting a Charles River trip on the schedule in October - we’ll see.
That’s the thing: I don’t use a skirt, I have no idea how to roll or rescue and my strategy for such is staying close to shore and avoiding days with big conditions which I do not like. Its not that I can’t paddle as I am fit as all hell and can maintain over 6mph in my Stellar S14 G2 but am of the persuasion that I took up kayaking to enjoy the water without actually going in because in RI the water itself isn’t that nice. The thought of going in the water is not a pleasant one and I have diabetes with glucose meter and big hip sack carrying all sorts of whatnot so rolling and rescue isn’t on the table as much as doing things in such a way so that I don’t flip. I only have once in 20 years of paddling and that was last year doing something I shouldn’t. I do things in such a way to stay dry. This is a big difference to the sea kayak people they love the big waves and conditions. On a windy day I will just hit the weights in my basement, go for a hike or go on the bike. And avoid the ocean with its big conditions at all costs.
It’s a nice, chill, mellow group of decent people but unfortunately for me outside of my fitness and age demographic. I put in last at Slatersville Reservoir and passed everyone with like 5-6 strokes. I had to paddle in circles around the group and they stopped a lot. Wasn’t good for my blood sugar I was expecting to paddle. I am not racing but use good technique, have a fast boat and enjoy very high fitness so I don’t have to try very hard to get high speeds and can easily attain 5-6mph in my Stellar S14 G2.
I am busy and short on time and don’t want to spend a lot of time driving so 75% of my paddles are on Stump Pond/Stillwater Reservoir which is less than 10 minutes from my house. On a windy day I might go to Lincoln Woods as its more sheltered. Another bunch are on the Sakonnet where my in laws live but I Am very careful out there as posted above. Other places I enjoy are the Pawtuxet from Hope, Wallum Lake, 100 Acre Cove in Barrington, and going up the Warren River from the German American club whatever that body of water that takes you to 195 is called. But time is precious. Want to try Worden Pond and Pawtuxet but its far. 40 minutes x 2 and that time could be spent lifting weights or stretching or doing something else. Its why even though I prefer paddling (more interesting) cycling is my sport of choice because I can slap on the clothing, helmet and just go from my house or wherever the kids have practice or a tournament.
Charles River is gorgeous. The nicest part is when you put in from South End Pond on Orchard Street
Always wanted to do Mystic but again, time is precious. Always ferrying kids around to practice or tournaments easier to bring a bike and some adjustable dumbells with a mat. When I become empty nester in a few years…
Ok. Got it. Sounds like you got plenty to keep physically busy!