Stillwater River (Confluence Rapid)
|Stretch:||Park and Huck|
|Difficulty:||Class IV to IV+|
|Flows:||10,000 cfs to ?0,000 cfs . USGS Penobscot at West Enfield gauge|
|Put-in:||Base of dam at the confluence of Penobscot|
|Take-out:||Base of rapid at the confluence of Penobscot|
North East Road Trip 2021: Day 4
I am adding this as its own write-up despite the fact it is a park and huck that we hiked up from the Penobscot while running it. It is significantly harder than the Penobscot as well as anything else on the Stillwater. So most people never do it, but it is a great option to add some spice to a mellow day on the Penobscot if you are desperately driving around Maine trying to find rivers to kayak as we were.
Just above where the Stillwater River (a side channel, a large side channel) rejoins the Penobscot, the river tumbles over a dam. Below the dam is the 100 yards that form this rapid. The top of the rapid is slidey with some small holes that pack more punch than you think. As the river slides under the railroad bridge, a choice needs to be made. To the right is a very large, and much deeper than it looks from the scout, hole. Set safety on the right shore. Of you can work left and boof a ledge to avoid the meat of the hole. I would imagine this drop is terrible with twice the flow, but also perhaps some new lines open up. At 14,500 cfs though the rapid was fun and added just what we needed for the day to feel like a proper roadtrip and getting to paddle a challenging rapid.
- Confluence Rapid (IV to IV+ to ?). We had 14,500 cfs and at that flow I would say the rapid was IV to IV+. I can imagine at high flows it may be a no-go but I am really unsure. We walked up the river left side from the Penobscot. Putting in you go out and enter the slides right of center to avoid the meat of the holes at the top. You then cross under the railroad bridge. I went for the main line which was right down the tongue and boofing the big hole. It was bigger than I anticipated and it barely let me out. I then signaled to Diane and she exited further left, using the bridge pillar's slack water to move further left and boofing a ledge with a minimal hole.
Access: Do the Penobscot. Or maybe you could access it via Shore Drive on the north side of the Stillwater.
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