Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Two Shepaug River Runs
by Bob Rancan

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010

Two Shepaug River runs: the 10th and 24th of April with 15 and 12 paddlers respectively. Two beautiful spring days, about 9 miles of rocky river paddling, short walks to 1872 railroad tunnel cut into rock, nice lunches, good company. And that's where the similarities end.

On the second Saturday of the month, a very wet spring ensured that the Bantam River and other feeder brooks were augmenting the 95 cfs coming over the dam at Shepaug Reservoir. There was a decent flow with some good rapids near the start of the run and plenty of play spots for the polers, canoers and kayaks the rest of the way. The current was strong and the stream deep enough so that even in the normal shallow spots there was not much scraping going on.

For the last Saturday of the month, with no rain to speak of in the interim, about all we had to paddle was the 42 cfs coming off the dam. Of course it was still April so it was not totally dry but Shepaug allegedly meant "rocky" in the native language. Of the 12 paddlers, all got stuck multiple times, making for a much longer trip. I was poling my canoe, which gave me a big advantage to read the shallows and find the correct course. I only got stuck 52 times, or thereabouts.

I'm always preaching that the trip depends on the water, not the weather. Those that made both trips, Henry Degenhardt, Mark Grossman, Michelle Paradiso, & Ken King know what I mean. Thanks to everyone for coming up to Connecticut and thanks to Michael Capizzi for the patience to take so many great pictures of the second trip.