Monday, May 4, 2009

Maury River near Goshen - April 2009

Moderate to heavy rains over a three day period caused the Maury River at the top of Goshen Pass to be navigable by sea kayak for a few days, and I took advantage of the opportunity to paddle above Goshen Pass near one of the main put-in locations for whitewater paddlers, just off Route 39.

For most of the year, water levels are too low for flatwater paddling in this location. When the water is up, the current is swift, and the area is used mostly by whitewater paddlers going downstream through the pass. I brought along my 14' Heritage and chose to paddle upstream into a small tributary where the water wasn't moving quite so swiftly.

In this case, I was able to paddle until I reached the first set of upstream rapids with a one-foot drop. I also took the opportunity to practice my ferry technique while playing around in the water.

For the 45 minutes or so I was in the water, I had this location to myself. A dirt road leads off Route 39 to a parking area with room for several vehicles. In addition to river access, a small bridge spans the Maury River here allowing access to hiking and mountain biking trails on the other side of the river.

I don't recommend paddling when a river is in flood or in a current this swift unless you're a strong paddler with plenty of basic river knowledge. It's very easy to be swept downsteam into the first set of whitewater rapids or be swept into a strainer or other obstacle. The tributary I paddled was also very narrow, only slightly wider than my boat was long, so you need to have enough expertise to be able to turn a boat around in very tight conditions in a strong current.

Whitewater paddlers thrive in these conditions, of course. However, flatwater paddlers without swift river experience can be caught off guard. View a short, 15 second, clip of the current moving down the tributary I paddled:

View this location in Google Maps by clicking here.

No comments: