Saturday, June 14, 2014

South Branch - 06/14/2014

It rained like crazy last week with flood warnings after the downpours on Friday the 13th.  The USGS gage at Stanton Station was at over 5.5 ft Friday night.  I did a quick check Saturday morning around  9 am and it was still at 4.5 ft.  This was the highest that I had opportunity to try the river.  I quickly loaded up kayak, paddle, PFD, 2 water bottles, and my waterproof mobile protector.  My middle daughter road with me for the 15 minute drive up to my drop off point on River Rd.

I didn't waste any time getting the boat in the water.  It was 10:20 when I pushed off.  The water was very fast.  There was dull roar from the water going over the low head dams at the water plant.  I didn't have any concerns about hitting bottom and just took off.

Overall the trip was really great.  This is the first time that I have done this trip where I didn't hit bottom in any meaningful way.  I could just follow the current the whole way without constantly search for the deepest channel.  I could tell that I was really moving quickly, particularly since I was in an 8 ft rec boat (Emotion Comet).  There were lots of riffles, but no real white water.  I didn't see anyone on the river until just after going under the route 31 bridge.

After going under the route 523 bridge, I went through the partially wash out dam at Darts Mill.  It had nice drop and I had bit of wash over the front of the boat.  I continued on to the next washed out dam roughly mile further.  This is where I took on a lot of water last trip.  I though it would be smoother this time due to higher water, but this was not the case.  There was a large drop where I hit a rock just before a small wave that had significant wash over the boat.  I had roughly 2 inches of water in the boat.  Unfortunately I didn't take a pump or sponge, so I just let it go as I was only 3/4 a mile from my take out.  The weather was warm so it was no big deal.

I reached my take out at intersection of Case Blvd, Pennsylvania Ave, and River Rd at noon.  It drained the boat and waited for Jill to pick me up.  The 9 mile trip only took me 1 hr and 40 minutes which is at least 40 minutes faster than my normal time.  I'm going to continue to watch the gage at Stanton Station (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?01397000) for water of 4.5 ft or higher as this was absolutely the best trip that I have had on the South Branch of the Raritan.  Clear paddling!

Scott    

Monday, May 26, 2014

First Trip of 2014 - South Branch of the Raritan River (05-26-2014)

Things have been crazy busy recently, but I did get out for short trip on South Branch of Raritan river this afternoon.  I was encouraged after looking at Facebook posting of Karl Fritz kayaking Appoquinimink Wildlife Area off of Delaware River basin.  I decided that I had to get out for a break.  This was my first trip of the year and it is almost June.

The conditions were perfect.


  • Stanton Station USGS: 3.3 Feet.  This is really where it needs to be both from depth and water speed.  I've done this river at 2.7 ft and this is just too shallow unless you enjoy dragging a boat.
  • 85 Degree temperature with low humidity.  Just enough to have minor sweat, but not get drenched.
I took my 8 ft Emotion Comet kayaks as they are prefect for this small river.  Also, as I have mentioned before, they fit into the back of the mini Van, so it is really easy to use them.  Interesting that I didn't see a lot of wild life on this trip, but nether less, it was refreshing to get away.  There were numerous other people on the river who were mostly fishing.  I was careful for changes in the river as this was my first trip.  There was one new tree that had recently fallen into the river just south of the Rt 31 bridge.  It didn't block the river.  Also, the large tree that blocked the left branch around Packers Island was washed clear of the channel so it is now passable. 

The put in was River Rd off of route 31 just above Camp Carr.  The take out was River Rd and Case Blvd intersection in Flemington.  Trip is roughly 12 miles which took me 2.5 hours.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Last warm days....Short Delaware trip - 10-06-2013

Sunday afternoon was close to 80 so I could not miss the opportunity for a cruise down the Delaware from Frenchtown to Lambertville. On of my favorite trips as it is always different based on the water level and weather.

This day was no different. I took a very leisurely paddle down the river in one of our Olde Town Loon 120 kayaks.  The river was very low...roughly 2 feet below normal, but I can't tell for sure since the USGS sites are all down due to the Government shutdown.  The weather was mostly good except I did get rained on just north of the I-95 bridge for a bit.  I saw a few fishermen and one fellow kayak-er, but at this time of the year, the river is pretty empty.

 As I passed near I-95, I passed a fellow who came down for a swim. He said that he couldn't pass on the opportunity to swim in the river in October. It was really nice and warm for October.

Interesting, there were a lot of rapids and white water (nothing major) due to the river being so low. I really made for a fun trip. Going through the wing dam near Bull's Island there must have been at least 2.5 foot waves. Pretty cool. I told my daughter Justine that she missed a good cruise.

 I did get a bit soaked as it rained on me while I waited for my pickup, but hey..I was boating so water is to be expected. I wonder if this will be the last cruise of 2013...I guess only time will tell.

 Scott

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

South Branch Kayaking with Jill

8/25/2013
Sunday afternoon I finally was able to get Jill out kayaking with me.  She promised to take a trip with me for my birthday.  The weather was great although a bit muggy.  Unfortunately, the South Branch of the Raritan was a bit low.  I ended up pulling the boats over the low spots in at least 3 spots.

More PICS and such here South Branch Kayaking with Jill





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Sunday, July 7, 2013

South Branch of Raritan Trip with Justine - 07-07-2103

South Branch of Raritan Trip with Justine - 07-07-2103

Justine enjoys kayaking the most in the family except me.  I like do these short, easy floats to get out on the water without losing much time driving.  This was Justine's first trip on the South Branch.  Link below.