Stony Brook, New Hampshire, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|SOUHEGAN RIVER (SITE WLR-1) NEAR MILFORD, NH|
|usgs-01093852||1100 - 3000 cfs||IV-V||01h05m||~ 503 cfs (too low)|
Upper Stony Brook adds 3 miles of class IV-V whitewater and 1 mile of class II to the traditional lower Stony Brook Run. There are six class IV-V drops, and another half dozen or more class III or higher rapids. 1200 CFS on the Souhegan at Milford seems to be a rough correlation for a minimum fun level, though the gauge is a bit downstream. At this level, the run is at most class 4+. If the rapid under the bridge at put-in is fluid, the level should be OK. See the pictures of the put-in rapid & takeout dam at minimum flows. This run takes a while. It is long, has a bit of wood, and requires a fair amount of scouting. Plan accordingly.
The major drops are all easily scouted from the banks, and the smaller drops can be boat scouted. This run is narrow and rarely run - be careful for wood.
The three most significant drops are “Rectum,” “Railroad Bridge,”and “Granite Communications.” Other notable drops are "linoleum" and "Backyard Brown".
After a little boogie water will come Rectum, a double drop through a narrow mini-gorge. The first drop can be boat scouted and run down the center, if there are eddies below. At high water, there may not be.
The second drop of Rectum splits around an island then into a small boulder garden. Both sides go, but look out for wood. The whole rapid is class IV+ at low water, and V- at higher levels. The rock is all railroad blast, so be careful.
Soon after Rectum comes Railroad Brigde. Not surprisingly, “Railroad Bridge” is the rapid at the constriction below the overhead railroad bridge. It is worth a scout. Class IV at low water. IV+ at higher levels. Watch for wood in the rapid & in the run out.
After a lot of boogie and class fun comes “Granite Communications,” a left-to-right drop that has a tendency to push boaters into the left wall. Drive through the hole at the bottom and stay off the left wall to avoid “Rand’s Hand” - the bottom of the granite wall that you will have to bow before in order to pass, if you end up against the wall. Class IV+ at low water.
Somehwere in the lower section you will also find "linoleum" - it is an easier version of Granite with the same left to right move.
The last notable rapid of the upper Stony section is “Backyard Brown,” in the backyard of a brown cabin. It is not a big drop, but there is no obvious clean line. Bash down it with your bow up, or scout for a narrow line through the rocky landing. ***CAUTION*** This rapid was the scene of a nasty vertical pin. The center boof line has a rock in the landing that resulted in a vertical pin. The paddler was able to extricate himself without injury, though this rapid should be scouted and serious consideration should be taken before running the rapid. The right line appears to be the safest line.
After this the river will cross back under Route 31, then mellow out into a mile of fast moving water. When the river again crosses under Route 31 and a tributary enters from river right you are at the top of the more commonly run bottom mile of Stony Brook. If you had enough water to run upper Stony, the bottom section will be at a great higher level.
The first full descent in recent years was done by Nathan Warren, Jon Loehrke and James Dusenbury. It was likely explored back in the day, but for some reason remained off the radar...
Upper Stony Brook Put-In: 109 Old Temple Rd Lyndeborough, NH 03082 42.890012, -71.812214 Takeout for Upper Stony/Put-In for Lower Stony Brook: Intersection of Forest Rd (Route 31) and Burton Hwy 304 Forest Rd Wilton, NH 03086 42.853744, -71.763184 Takeout for Lower Stony: Intersection of Forest Rd (Route 31) and Pleasant St 66 Forest Rd 42.847740, -71.744174 Wilton, NH 03086