Pond Brook - Baker Pond to Wentworth


Pond Brook, New Hampshire, US

Disclaimer

Baker Pond to Wentworth

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 110 fpm
Max Gradient 180 fpm

Backyard Boof


Backyard Boof
Photo of Dave Livingston by Mark Lacroix taken 05/21/06 @ 3.4 ft

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
BAKER RIVER NEAR RUMNEY, NH
usgs-01076000 3.00 - 10.70 ft IV-V 00h58m 1.02 ft (too low)


River Description

Pond Brook is a very narrow steep creek. The river starts out class III then eases somewhat through a swampy area. The action picks up at about the 1 mile mark then quickly starts to build up to continuous class IV and V. It's geology is somewhat unusual for New England, it has a lot of ledgy type drops of 2' to 3' spaced closely to each other. One drop runs over a granite slide that drops approximately 30' over a 100' distance. Some of the river can be scouted from state route 25A which runs along the run but many drops are out of view from the road.

Pond Brook is located in the Upper Baker River valley about 16 miles west of Plymouth. It is a relatively small river that drains Lower Baker Pond. The river itself starts at the dam at Lower Baker Pond. There is good warmup rapids for the first half mile but you must portage around a low snowmobile bridge then contend with some flat water. For this reason most paddlers chose to put in ½ mile further downstream where NH 25A comes close to the river. At this point the river is flat and running through an open marsh. Shortly after the river enters the forest class II-III rapids begin. The most significant factors in this section are tree falls and strainers. Boat scout each drop carefully to avoid problems. The action picks up about a mile and half below Lower Baker Pond. Some class III ledge drops start appearing the first of which is "Roadside". More small ledge drops continue until they start to pick up in intensity just after the 2 mile mark. The remaining mile of river contains the largest and most intense rapids. It is mostly away from the road but never more than a quarter mile. Starting at Z-chute there is evidence of river modifications for mills built in the 19th century. These mills are long gone but the rock work is evident all the way to the last rapid.

Posted by Dan Holzman on the MVP message board 3/30/03
Pond Brook has some outstanding ledges, very photogenic, ends with a totally sweet set of slides and a 10 foot waterfall (built in boof ledge, note to self, get back there soon before water runs out, gotta run those ledges).
Beta on Pond Brook: there is a low snowmobile bridge or similar about 1 mile downstream of the put-in at the dam, mandatory portage. There is a log across the river in the first big drop about 1.2 miles downstream, MANDATORY portage, don't miss the eddy above this drop. Lessel's book makes this sound like a death creek, it isn't, the group ran all the drops with no major issues, however watch for lumber (as usual on creeks), and try not to hit your head (ditto).

Technical info

Put in elevation........885'
Take out elevation......557'
Total drop..............328'
Average drop/mile.......110'
1st mile................26'
2nd mile................159'
3rd mile................143'
Distance................3.0 miles
River width average.....18'
River geology...........Granite ledge, small to medium boulders
River water quality.....Excellent, clarity good to excellent.
Scenery.................Good mountain scenery, route 25a occasionally visible
                        on river left. 
Wildlife................Deer, moose, hawks. 

Directions


Put in


From southern NH
Take interstate 93 to exit 26 (Tenney mtn highway rt 25) 16 miles to Wentworth NH
Take a left on NH 25A
2.5 miles to where the river comes in close on the left. This is the first option put in. You can continue another 1/3 mile to Lower Baker Dam for the short warm up. The first option put in has limited parking just make sure you pull well off the road.

Put in


From Vermont
Take interstate 91
Take EXIT 15 toward US-5 / FAIRLEE / ORFORD N.H
Turn RIGHT onto LAKE MOREY RD.
Turn LEFT onto US-5
Turn RIGHT onto BRIDGE ST / VT-25A. Continue to follow VT-25A (Crossing into NEW HAMPSHIRE).
Turn LEFT onto BAKERS POND RD / NH-25A. Continue to follow NH-25A 13 miles to the Lower Baker Pond put in or continue another 1/3 mile to the roadside put in.

Take out


Head back to Wentworth and take a right on NH route 25.
Take a right on Ellsworth Lane road.
Park near the bridge at Back Yard rapid.
If you have many vehicles to park continue south on 25 over the Baker River Bridge then take a right onto the town ball field parking area close to the river.

Rapid Naming Convention
It is not the intention of the author to name rapids for his own personal ego. Every effort was made to find the current, historical, or conventional name for each rapid. Unfortunately, Pond Brook is not run very often and paddlers have not named even the toughest sections. Historical records and maps do not have any information. Names assigned on this page and associated map were given by the author. Those names are mostly generic and are given to identify a unique feature (i.e. Z-chute) or location (i.e. Powerline) prevalent on or near the rapid. If in the future the traditional name is uncovered or paddlers begin to accept a new name, the author will attempt to change those names to correspond with the accepted norm.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2006-05-29 18:05:35

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Map of the Mid Pemi regionPutin Takeout Photo
1.6RoadsideIIIPhoto
2.1FunnelIII+Photo
2.3IslandIIIPhoto
2.3Megaslide5.0Photo
2.4Z-ChuteIII+Photo
2.5PowerlineIVPhoto
2.6MinislideIVPhoto
2.9Backyard SlideIVPhoto
3.1Take Out

Rapid Descriptions

Map of the Mid Pemi region

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Rivers of the Middle Pemigewasset region

Rivers of the Middle Pemigewasset region
Photo by Mark Lacroix


Roadside (Class III, Mile 1.6)

Paul at Roadside

Paul at Roadside
Photo of Paul Egbert by Mark Lacroix taken 05/21/06 @ 3.4 ft

After a long series of class II and III ledge drops and rapids the river pulls in close to the route 25a on river left. Roadside rapid starts with a congested rapid that pushes a paddler towards river right then drops over a 3 foot ledge. The main flow heads directly into a couple large boulders. The left side of the ledge is rather shallow in medium water.

Funnel (Class III+, Mile 2.1)

Dave at Funnel Ledge

Dave at Funnel Ledge
Photo of Dave Amato by Mark Lacroix taken 05/21/06 @ 3.4 ft

When you notice the river narrow significantly through a dark hemlock forest you are approaching the Funnel. The river narrows to 22 feet wide then drops over a 3 foot ledge. The right side below the ledge has a ski jump. Most paddlers chose to run hugging river left. Be careful when running this section since a tree fall could easily span the entire river.

Island (Class III, Mile 2.3)

Dave at Island Drop

Dave at Island Drop
Photo of Dave Livingston by Mark Lacroix taken 05/21/06 @ 3.4 ft

Not necessarily a tough section but it lies just above the Megaslide so a screw up here could be consequential. The river breaks up into several narrow channels amongst ledge drops. Pull out in the eddy below and scout Megaslide.

Megaslide (Class 5.0, Mile 2.3)

Butch at the top of Megaslide

Butch at the top of Megaslide
Photo of Butch Mixon by Mark Lacroix taken 05/21/06 @ 3.4 ft

This is the toughest drop on Pond Brook. Shortly after Island the river drops over a double ledge with a somewhat sticky river wide hole. Right after the last ledge drop catch the eddy on river right just above the main part of the slide. The slide itself drops 30 ft within a distance of 100 feet. The main part of the chute forces paddlers through a large hole then directly into a rock with a vertical face upstream. This top of this rock is barely above the water surface at medium levels and forces the river sharply right through the final portion of the drop. This rock usually has a good pillow in front of it but still most paddlers tend to hit it. Good reason to have elbow pads.

Z-Chute (Class III+, Mile 2.4)

Marc at Z-curl

Marc at Z-curl
Photo of Marc Aucoin by Mark Lacroix taken 05/21/06 @ 3.4 ft

Another narrowing section of the river leads up to Z-Chute. The first ledge drops down to a large curler angled from upstream right to downstream left. Immediately after the end of the downstream left curler another curler cuts to downstream right. At the bottom there is a relatively large hole.

Powerline (Class IV, Mile 2.5)

Dave at Powerline

Dave at Powerline
Photo of Dave Amato by Mark Lacroix taken 05/21/06 @ 3.4 ft

Located directly under the overhead power lines. At the top the river drops over a 3 to 4 foot ledge. The second drop forces the paddler to start on river left then maneuver diagonally over another 4 foot ledge towards river right.

Minislide (Class IV, Mile 2.6)

Marc at Minislide

Marc at Minislide
Photo of Marc Aucoin by Mark Lacroix taken 05/21/06 @ 3.4 ft

A short distance below the power lines the river drops over another series of ledges then finally runs out into a violent slide. The best approach is to run directly below a midstream boulder at the top of the first ledge then ride out the rest of the drop trying to stay upright in the violent chute between two parallel ledges on either side of the river.

Backyard Slide (Class IV, Mile 2.9)

Backyard Slide

Backyard Slide
Photo of Bill Ryan by Mark Lacroix taken 05/21/06 @ 3.4 ft

The final rapid on Pond Brook is a long and fun one. Just above the rapid the river splits around an island. The left channel is usually best. Just after the Island the river turns right and drops over a long slide best run on river right. Just after the slide there is a series of low ledges with sticky holes. A small pool lies just upstream of Backyard Boof. Line yourself up in the center of the river and push off the 8 foot vertical ledge drop. Below this there is another small ledge drop that leads to a bridge. Once past the bridge the river flattens out for the rest of its distance to the Baker River. The rapid is named after the residential backyards it flows through. The residents on river right are very friendly and take interest in our adventure just watch out for their river side flower beds if you should scout or decide to take another run on Backyard Boof.

Take Out
The takeout at the bridge at Backyard rapid has limited parking but is the most convenient. If your group is small then this would be your best bet. Large groups should park their vehicles at the Wentworth ball field directly across the street from the convenience store which is just before route 25 crosses over the Baker river. The confluence of Pond Brook is actually downstream a ways. If you paddle all the way to the Baker you will have to carry back upstream some distance. Another option would be to cut across a spit of land just as Pond Brook takes a sharp right in the runout flatwater below Backyard rapid. Once at the Baker you're vehicle will be directly across the river.


User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 5 2011 (2454 days ago)
Mark LacroixDetails
On August 28th, 2011 Hurricane Irene struck New England. The resulting floods caused extensive
damage throughout the region, the worst in over 100 years. More than half the rivers in Vermont and
northern New Hampshire recorded their highest flow levels ever. Many roads, guardrails, power
lines, bridges, trees and other debris now litter several rivers throughout the region. River beds
have been scoured and changed course, many new strainers make navigation problematic at best and
downright dangerous at worse. Please realize that the river description you see here may not match
current situation after the floods. Use common sense and when in doubt scout especially on blind
drops. Also, if you run this river in the next year or so please comment on its navigability, even
if there are no problems this will be very helpful. Please report any new strainers or changes to
the rapids that will impact future boating. Thank you,
August 29 2011 (2461 days ago)
Carter WrayDetails
Dartmouth paddlers started running this in '96. Here is a write-up of how we broke it down from
then: It is a great run because it is very continuous class III, with most of the drops described
in detail being in the IV range. So even for a really good boater you're never bored, nor is there
any flatwater to get across. About halfway through the run, not long after you leave the road, the
first horizon line means you have gotten into "Hola" and now the thick of the things. It is
basically a 1 meter drop into a very aerated hole, but brace well coming through, as there is
another hole immediately below due to a shallow rock that will great you in the language of it's
choosing. Prediction: pain. Then it is back to the class III boat scouting for a while. After half
a kilometer (1/3 mi.) brings you to a sloping drop into a ledge with a large rock at the bottom
right. You want to run this far right to avoid the piton rock which left an indelible impression on
2 of the 10 boats that have run it, gaining it the name "Pignose." 100 meters down is "Lefty's
Grave" due to the Tombstone-esque rock on ricer left which 90% of the flow drops onto. Boof center
with right angle and then work back left to catch the homeplate eddy (get in and you're safe). A
swim would be ugly, as 15 meters (20 yards) down are two cass IV back-to-back. The first is "Right
Slide Up," as 'tis a slippery slope of rock and any inversion would be most unfortunate. The
problematic of said rapid is the guardian rock above the eddy at the bottom right which you want to
catch. The eddy, that is, not the rock. You can sneak past the rock on the far right, or run the
hero route down the middle and then eddy out. Immediately below this is Screw Two (too?), a drop
named for its striking similarity to Corkscrew in the five falls of Chatooga section IV, only
mirrored left-to-right. Start river right and peel out wide to prevent dropping down the vertical
shaft, ride up onto the hole/pillow at the bottom left and get flushed to the right. It's all in
the line-up. After that, you just drop in and hold on. Another quarter kilometer brings you to
"Power Trip," easily recognizable by the high-voltage lines which are the reason for the clear cut
up to the road mentioned in the "level" section above. Go left on the first ledge, and then either
sneak left, or work center to left. It's best to scout the next bit when checking the level, as the
channel has been straightened and it is non-stop until the end of the clear cut, and any strainers
here would be quite a bummer. The next rapid, just below the Bachelor family's home is quite a
party. Run the two ledges center to right, punching the hole and watching out for the curler of f
the left wall. Things mellow for a half a kilometer or so as you come into "civilization," at least
by central New Hampshire standards. The river winds through a few people's back yards, passing in
to the "center" of Wentworth. The next significant drop is "Jiffy Lube" which you can run blind
just entering center and sliding down the right. I'd run it sans scouting if the locals seem to be
getting restless. Unfortunately the final/crux rapid is up next and scouting is definitely advised.
You're definitely in someone's back yard, so try to be nice. Across the street is the Wentworth
Inn. If you stay there (a quaint old place) tell them the first folks to kayak the river sent you,
and we say "hey." It can't cost much, and ensures good vibes and easy access to this fine stretch
and the proximity to other good creeks is phenomenal. Anyways, the "Inn-d of the Road" is a solid
IV+, with some maneuvering at the entrance which would be great on it's own, but then goes over a
2-3meter drop that you want to boof well, as there's rocks down thar, particularly on the left. You
should have felt comfortable with everything else if you're thinking about running this, not only
because of the consequences, but just think how embarrassing it will be if the good 'ol folks at
the Wentworth Inn are standing riverside with their camera and yours and you pencil into "the
granite of New Hampshire." It could be ugly. And you might make the Wentworth paper as the first
hack to run the drop. Mileage, name on AW site, class per AW; our names. 1.6 Roadside III; Hola.
2.1 Funnel III+; Right Slide Up. 2.3 Island III; Lefty's Demise. 2.3 Megaslide 5.0; Screw 2. 2.4
Z-Chute III+; I considered this the lead-in of Power Trip. 2.5 Powerline IV; Power Trip. 2.6;
Minislide IV; Bachelor Party. 2.9 Backyard Slide IV; Jiffy Lube. 3.0 Backyard Boof IV; Innd Of the
Road. 3.1 Take Out.


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