Esopus Creek Trip Reports

Date: March 24, 1997
Level: 6.25 at Boiceville gauge
Group: 2 K-1 and 2 C-1
Temp: 60 air; 46 water
Trip: Portal to Phoenicia

Put in by portal, but all the flow was from snowmelt. Many downed trees in the first section- good playing spots, too. At this level, there are a number of rocks and holes in the last 1-2 miles above Phoenicia. At least 3 Class III rapids (one of them 3+). The Esopus is barely runnable at 5.0 on the ColdBrook gauge (914-657-2388), but is quite a run at 6.0, and much harder at 6.25, having run it at both levels.

(thanks to Bruce N. for this report)

Date: Sunday, 6/2/96
Level: Low release weekend.
Weather: Sunny, air temp in the 70s, water cold
Group: Just the kids, my wife and I
Equipment: Momentum 12' raft

Put in at the roadside park downstream of the Portal, and took out just before highway bridge (28A) at Boiceville. Dropped everyone off at put-in to inflate the raft, parked the shuttle at the school across the street from take out, and biked the 9 miles back to put-in. Got on the river at 11 and took off at 3:30. Most people took out on CR40 below Phonecia. A lot of open boaters on the river.

The upper section of the river had small stream characteristics with the raft tending to be thrown towards the bank at the outside of bends. Railroad rapid was indicated by the tracks falling into the river at Woodland Creek. Scouted from island and took the left side of the right channel keeping away from the tracks. The left channel had an old tree trunk obstructing it. Also scouted the lower section of the rapids, entered it from the left and ran to left of rock in the middle of the wave train, although the right side had a chute also. Some nice waves coming into Phoencia. Had lunch below Phonecia.

Below Phonecia there were increasing flat stretches with gravel bar rapids. Had to drag the raft over a couple of low spots where we missed the main channel. Evidence of a lot of flooding this winter with severe bank erosion and de-barked trees. Recent tree-falls into the river were a constant problem. Came upon 4 tubers tangled up in a strainer just below Phonecia. With the assistance of a local, got them out and hiking back to the rental outfit. Water too cold and high for tubing.

Taking out at the railroad museum would have shortened the trip without missing too much whitewater. The stretch from Rt 28 bridge to takeout was pretty long with a headwind. Everyone got a good workout today. The kids got a little cold before lunch from getting splashed, but warmed up after getting into their rainsuits and polypro, and enjoyed the lower section even without much whitewater. The new 'kid size' paddles we got from LL Bean worked out pretty well for them.

Had breakfast at the diner on Rt 28 outside of Phonecia. Very fast service. Didn't stay overnight this year, but last year stayed at the Woodland Valley State Park. Nice and quiet there.

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This information is my opinion only
and may not reflect actual conditions.
It is based on my usually hazy memory,
and should not be used to decide whether
you or your guides are qualified to run the river.

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