Paid a visit to the Kenduskeag today and, uh, I think there's enough water! At Six Mile Falls it's flooded partway into the woods where you scout the left hand approach. The usual "Jaws" passage is optional; there are at least four open channels for that drop.
Down at Shopping Cart it's just raging. The "pre Shopping Cart" drop right after the last portage is basically washed out, but Shopping Cart proper looks hungry. Should be a blast for the short sprints.
I'm guessing the race will be a bit like 2007, the last high water year. That was before my racing time. Can any veterans comment on what it's like at this level?
My take is that the river is not quite as high as 2007 -- or at least it wasn't on Wednesday when I paddled it. On Wednesday, it was at around 3500 cfs. It is well about 3500 now, but I am guessing it will be back down to 3000 - 3500 cfs by Saturday.
What I remember from 2007 (that was before we had a river gauge there) is the river from Six-Mile down being full of long sections of standing waves. That isn't so much the case at 3500 cfs. There are some sections with good-sized waves, but you can avoid the largest ones -- and have fun in the rest. Shopping Cart looks pretty gnarly at 3500 cfs, but as long as you stay hard right, it's not bad at all. I put a video of my Wednesday trip up on YouTube at youtu.be/x4FgsEPXRjg
I'll let Ray answer re Shopping Cart, but here's a few seconds of video looking down on it Tuesday pm. When it pans left, you can just see the drop you'd have to deal with going left. There isn't a clean tongue there, but it is more like a single drop than the right route. youtu.be/eqinNcixOUA
Is anyone planning a practice run this evening (Thurs)?
Post by SpencerMeyer on Apr 17, 2014 8:25:18 GMT -5
I scouted yesterday when it was near it's 5080 cfs peak (broke the 1909 one-day record, according to USGS site). The hole at Shopping Cart was massive and I decided not to run it, figuring there was a low chance of swimming out of the hole if you got sucked in. At the lip of Shopping Cart there is a rock just barely submerged (it's the one I usually use to line up the drop). It will probably be exposed by Saturday, though. I was going to run it yesterday but given the size of the hole, two of us in OC1s decided to run the Sou instead.
I think it is currently quite a bit higher than 2007, but we have two dry days for it to come down some. I recall a lot of carnage in 2007 - lots of broken boats floating down the river. The Bangor Parks and Rec does a great job with safety and I expect the swimmer-picker-outers will be extra busy this year. What I'm worried about is paddlers swimming on other rips on the course where there is no safety. The water is really pushy, so some usually innocuous waves might be take some by surprise this year.
It's going to be fun, but deserves some extra respect this year. Be safe and pass lots of boats...
Post by Dan Baumert on Apr 17, 2014 9:14:01 GMT -5
In 2007 as I recall they allowed for more portages, at least around shooping cart. I can't remember if they allowed a portage all the way through to or around shopping cart from the first mandatory protage thus elliminating the second portage and paddle under the interstate. Regardless it is going to be fast ride!
I think it was 2007 when on the final portage I carried all the way to below Shopping Cart. I didn't think I'd lose much time, but in the end I'm guessing I could have been 1 minute or so faster if I had used the normal put-in--seeing how I'm not much of a portager. So . . . it was a legal portage back then.
The river is already less than 3000. It will continue to drop over the next 24 hrs. I predict a level around 2000 cfs - ten times what it was a couple years ago, but lower than 2007. The race rules have always allowed portaging shopping cart regadless of water level. I asked about this at the committee meeting Wednesday as it is not clearly stated in the printed rules. NOTE: you must pass under the I95 bridge and the Harlow St bridge in the water or be disqualified. e.g. you can not portage from Flour Mill all the way to below shopping cart./ Tip #1 I would not recommend running shopping cart on the left except at lower levels or in a kayak or WW canoe - >1300 cfs as you have to negotiate an upper ledge/ pour-over to properly line up and would swamp or flip. The right shore is very easy. Approach right of center and move more to the right as you approach the drop, be prepared to counteract the eddy after the drop. #2 After Flour Mill portage, if the water remains pushy/high, then consider paddling down the left shore to the river wide ledge where there is a nice chute 5-10ft off the bank, dont be afraid to go through the overhanging brush to stay dry and avoid crossing all the way over to river right where there is a beefy wave train waiting.
Post by Dan Baumert on Apr 18, 2014 10:29:15 GMT -5
So then according to the rules once under the I95 bridge one could portage anywhere downstream from I95 to the usual last madatory portage takeout location and put back in anywhere above the Harlow Street bridge (assuming put back is at or below the usual put back location for shoppnig cart)?
Hard to say this far out what the flow rate will be. As far as the tides are concerned, there's a new moon on race day, and a fairly high high tide of +16ft at 10:56am. By comparison, last year was +14ft at 2:26pm.
Not that many boats finish by 11am, only serious racers in low numbered classes, so there won't be a traffic jam at high tide. But I guess there'd have to be some headroom or they'd have to shorten again. The canal section downtown doesn't lend itself to ad-hoc portages.
With the race moved to the 25th the tides shouldn't be a factor. Low tide is at 11:25am, but with higher than average flows we'll have plenty of water.
And speaking of flows, here are the race winning times and flow rates for recent years
"what a slog"
slower than jogging
*course shortened due to tides
So, the big question for this Saturday is how much rain we'll get. The current forecast is for about a half an inch over the next two days. The Kenduskeag comes up quickly after rain, and its post storm "half life" is roughly four days. Present level is 1620, 2.5 days out.