Cocheco, New Hampshire, US
|Usual Difficulty||II+ (for normal flows)|
|COCHECO RIVER NEAR ROCHESTER, NH.|
|usgs-01072800||350 - 3000 cfs||II+||00h17m||225 cfs (too low)|
Posted by Nate on 10/23/05
Curt Crittenden and I took an inaugural run on the Cocheco in Dover this afternoon. We found
an eminently enjoyable run from the Watson Rd. Dam to just below the Whittier St. Bridge.
There are 5-6 distinct rapids of around 2/2+ difficulty. In at least 3 of these, we found good to excellent surf waves. Not huge,but with good eddies and good runouts. All of these rapids provided multiple routes, good eddy hopping, and some decent holes. Great practice ground for river reading, ferrying, catching eddies, and a few squirt spots. There were a couple even better looking catch on the fly waves that I missed on the fly.
There are also two much more challenging rapids on this stretch. The first is a 10-12 foot falls after the first 2 sections of class 2. There appear to be a few possible lines at this level, but it is very ledgy, with nasties sticking up all over. The deepest channel and lowest gradient drop (river right) has a big roostertail right in the middle of the drop, making this no good. It was difficult to scope pool depths under other potential lines, and every potential line I saw, one would need to be right on since there are bad lines (primarily in the form of ledgy outcroppings) very nearby. We walked around this on river left - there are trails on both sides, but the left bank is not as steep. If anybody has interest in running this drop, please let me know as I would love to see it and take pictures.
There is another class 2 rapid below this, followed by a 2+ section around a sharp right hand corner. The river bends back to the left and goes over the second hardest drop on this section. We scouted from river right. The river drops over 2 shallow ledges and has some big crosscurrents and sizable holes. It probably drops 8 feet over about 20 yds. We ended up running right down the middle. As we punched through the first hole, the current pushed us a little off line and both of us skirted through the meatier bottom hole without incident. There are many other more difficult lines in this rapid. I would rate it a solid class 3 at this level, 3+ perhaps. There is a good eddy on the right just below the main drop and then another 100 yds or so of 2+ water with some good waves before it levels out again.
There are a couple more short sections of rapids below. You pass under the Spaulding Tpke and then the Whittier ST. Bridge. There is a good easy surf wave just above this bridge on river left. One final drop below the bridge and then take out on river left.
Put in is on Watson Rd. river right below the dam. Take out at small pull off next to the Whittier St bridge on river left.
I'd be interested to know if anyone else has boated this section at this or other levels and what they thought. Pretty fun stuff for seacoast area boating, imho.
Posted by Curt Crittenden on 10/23/05
Nate, thanks for comin' over to do this. I've been wanting to run this for a long time but
lacked the mad skills and company to do it. (now at least I have the company)
If anybody is interested, this river section is about 1.8 miles through Dover with a virtually uninhabited shoreline with a lot of wildlife. I live right through the woods to the river and around the corner from the put-in.
If you add the AW gauges for the Cocheco @ Rochester and its main tributary, the Isinglass, the sum was about 900cfs today. I would estimate the river
through Dover was maybe a third to a half higher due to unmetered tributaries. Depending on where you measure, the river drops about 80 - 100 feet over 1.8 miles so there was quickwater at the slowest. It crosses four 20' contour intervals in this run.
River geology is mostly shale, so no big erratics for mid-stream eddies but at this level there were a lot of good run-out places for all the good surf sports as Nate said.
I need to go back and rerun it because the lower falls was a blast but also went by in a blur.
I've scouted this in every water level from drought to flood. I think the big falls is runnable in a channel on the right at a little lower level where the rooster tail won't be a bad pinning possibility. Watch for the horizon line after the second set of rapids if you run this & take out well before.
The AMC guidebook completely wrote off this section of river and I've never seen anyone else here. I guess they were having a bad day. We sure didn't.
C. Crittenden AKA SecretUndone