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Bow and Stern - June 1, 2001

Bow and Stern -- June 2001

Bow and Stern

June 2001

The Official Newsletter of the Vermont Paddlers Club
in partnership with the American Canoe Association

Volume XXVII No. 2

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A Note from the President

  June 10, 2001

It was the best of times and the worst of times. Too much snow spent all of March and early April in suspended animation on the mountaintops and in the sugar bushes of New England. When it finally relented to the spring's warming sun, it provided several weeks of steady flow in the rivers we love, negating the paucity of rainfall we had during this same period. A lot of paddling went on, but not always on the river scheduled. The recurring trips on the Huntington and Mad were very popular, while the scheduled Lower Lamoille trips were mostly squelched by water conditions (too high at first, too low at the end).

The ACA waivers and fees did not seem to stifle participation at all this spring, nor were they a major source of headaches for trip coordinators. There will always be those in the club who long for the good old days when we had the luxury of being looser in the way we managed risks on VPC trips, but one good negligence suit from Aetna or The Travelers or MetLife will remind them why the VPC has gone this route.

There were river casualties this spring and close calls, on the New Haven, Mad, Browns, and of course the fatal accident on a class V stretch of the Middlebury River in Ripton. Much ado was made on the VPC message board over safe boating practices and boatings inherent risks. Sobering reminders can be a good thing. None of these incidents occurred on official VPC trips, but some of those involved were associated with the VPC.

The ACA waivers and fees did not seem to stifle participation at all this spring, nor were they a major source of headaches for trip coordinators. There will always be those in the club who long for "the good old days" when we had the luxury of being looser in the way we managed risks on VPC trips, but one good negligence suit from Aetna or The Travelers or MetLife will remind them why the VPC has gone this route.

There were river casualties this spring and close calls, on the New Haven, Mad, Browns, and of course the fatal accident on a class V stretch of the Middlebury River in Ripton. Much ado was made on the VPC message board over safe boating practices and boating's inherent risks. Sobering reminders can be a good thing. None of these incidents occurred on official VPC trips, but some of those involved were associated with the VPC.

I find that for every frantic moment on a river there are just as many copasetic ones - hearing a bird call you've never noticed before, seeing a mink scamper along the snowdrift at river's edge, a child's delight in her first class II rapid, the feeling of relief and accomplishment when the frantic moment passes and (surprise, surprise) you're OK!

Personally speaking, as a boater I think I have been more successful at balancing this sane/insane dichotomy than I have as a club president. Two years as president is my limit, at least under present family and work circumstances.

We will meet in November 2001 to elect new officers. Each of you can expect my encouragement and support as you leave your legacy in the second quarter century of the VPC annals. It is a good club comprised of good people, and I am proud of my association with (and contributions to) it. You will be, too.

Please get psyched for several events ahead, including most notably the Novice Whitewater School July 13-15. If you have time and energy to give to the clinic, or know anyone who wants to be a student in it, call Marcy Gibson () or me ASAP.

  Peeling out,

Who's Who in the VPC

who's who in the VPC

Officers:

Directors:

Appointed/Volunteers:

  • Paddling School: open
  • Safety Chair: John Wolfe 244-8673
  • Publicity Chair: Randy Mead 849-2367
  • Conservation Activities: open

Resources:

  • Message Phone: 899-1872
  • Website: http://www.vtpaddlers.net/index.html
  • National Weather Service: 862-2475

Most of these offices will change hands November, 2001. It will be fun to watch the club evolve with a new(ish) slate of officers. Please make your intentions known to one of the officers/directors above if you are so inclined!

Topica

Since April 2001, VPC has been communicating via weekly email with over 190 friends of VPC. Some are members, and some have left their email address on our website without ever joining the VPC. Topica.com hosts the list, and assures its security against spammers and commercial marketers.

There is no charge for lists of 500 or less, and I hope those of you who receive my "VPC - What's Happening This Week" communiqu find the news and reminders worthwhile. Anyone with paddle-related events/news to be publicized therein at any time please just email me with the specifics - BOATFUL@aol.com. You can remove yourself from the list at anytime by simply sending a blank email to VPC-unsubscribe@topica.com

Those not yet receiving the weekly e-newsletter, go to the VPC homepage and join the Topica list today!

Fiddlehead Slalom 2001

Hi everyone!

The seventh annual Fiddlehead Slalom had another successful year. The event requires a lot of work and this would not have been possible without the support of some local organizations and volunteers.

All who participated should thank & support the following groups: Green Mtn. Power, Winooski Hydroelectric Co., American Canoe Association, Canoe Imports, Mad River/Voyageur, Umiak Outdoor/Outfitters, Clearwaters Sports, Ski Rack, Tree Works, AC Hawthorne, Controlled Energy Crop. and Vermont Pure Water. All the New England Slalom Series sponsors: Adventure Quest, Mitchell Paddles, Millbrook Boats, Zoar Outdoor, Sullivan Harbor Farm, The Upstream Edge, Mad River Canoe, Ciborowski Associates, Clarke Outdoors, Dagger, Nestors, and Hemlock Canoe Works.

There is always a special group of people who take time from their lives to support the Fiddlehead Slalom. This years individuals are: Pat Cleary, Lowell Stephens, Doreen Pante, Will Colgan, Dan & Kathleen Mason, Paul Kempner, Tor Bortz, Ken Roberts, Sonny Hunt, John Kazmierczyk, Woody Nonnemacher, Peggy Mitchell, Keech & Ann LeClair, and Fritz Senftleber.

I gratefully thank all of the sponsors, volunteers and racers for their cooperation and sportsmanship with running the event; it really makes my work more enjoyable and provides me with a good outlook for Fiddlehead Slalom 2002.

Thanks to all the moms out there, the Fiddlehead Slalom always starts with Happy Mothers Day and finishes with flowers handed out in your honor.

Results of this years race, including many top finishing VPC racers, are online at http://www.whitewaterslalom.org/2001/results/fiddlehead.html. Hope you enjoyed the event and see you next year.

  Sincerely,
Ray Ingram, Race Organizer

Classifieds

BS Dufunk 150 whitewater Paddle New for $100 retail is $199
Bs Dufunk 350 carbon Blades and shaft New $175 retail is $315
(Featured on page 81 of the NSR Summer 2001 catalog)
> 

SAS kayak paddle good condition 202" $50 Beautiful! Kayak float bags, $10 each >

New Wave Viper decked C1 squirt / play boat, Kevlar and Fiberglass, pretty good shape $ 350 Mountain Surf skirt for above, 36 - 38" waist great condition $ 85 ***** $425 for the pair! eatonfam@sover.net >>

I'm looking for a couple of additional paddlers canoe central Quebec, August 8-23. We're a group of six (3 men, 3 women), planning 2 weeks - roughly 10 days on the water - in the upper Saguenay River basin, flying in beyond the timber roads, then canoe-camping our way back. The region is sub-arctic and remote, including lake, moving and white water. Experience and a friendly disposition are of course a must. Thanks, Dave Massell UVM History Dept (656-4527), home (862-0231), dmassell@zoo.uvm.edu

Trip Reports

First Branch White River: Saturday March 24

Leader: Kevin Eaton
Water: too low

There was still two feet of snow on the ice covered low watered river on the day of the trip.....I decided to wait.

This should have been a good date....funny spring weather.
-- Kevin Eaton

Lower Lamoille: Saturday March 31

Leader: Randy Mead
Water: ice

This trip was cancelled, as the river was still iced over in a big way. Even if the ice had begun to go out with the milder weather and rain we had that week, we still could expect dangerous ice ledges, jams, and debris to go along with the 32F water temp. Better safe than stupid! Thanks to Megan and a couple of others for being hardy enough to inquire about the trip though!
-- Randy Mead

Winooski at the trestle: Sunday April 1

Leader: John Wolfe
Participants: (K1): Bob Marshall, Jason Marshall, Craig G, Sean McCann, Scott Thompson, Eric Rossier, John Barrows, John Wolfe
Water: medium

Instead of the West Branch of the Little we paddled the Winooski at the Bolton tressel. We rode our boats over the deep snow to the river's edge and found a clear spot on the bank to get into them. Surfed a bunch, paddled up onto large ice flows and rode them down the river, and had a great time being on the river.
-- John Wolfe

Lewis Creek: Saturday April 7

Leader: Megan O'Reilly and Eric Bishop
Participants: (K1): Megan O'Reilly, Carol Maxwell, Tor Bortz.; (OC1): Eric Bishop, Andy Meilleur, Peter Downey
Water: low boatable

We had a good turnout for an uneventful paddle on Lewis Creek on a chilly early April day. We put in by the 2nd covered bridge-the kayakers carried a short distance upstream to run one of the few real drops on the river. The water level was low but floatable and the big double drop in North Ferrisburgh presented no problems. This steep short rapid would be an adventure at high water. We took out at the old bridge abutment just west of Rte. 7.
-- Eric Bishop

Huntington River: Tuesday April 10 and April 17

Leader: Megan O'Reilly and Michelle Seamans
Participants: (K1): John Barrows, Eric Rossier, Steve Lawson, Scott, Phil, Rob, Carroll Maxwell; (OC1): Andy Meilleur, Michael, Fritz Senftleber
Water: medium

With the snowmelt of 2001
Some paddlers went looking for fun
Through work and school they did wait,
like horses pressed to the gate
but finally found the Huntington.

Neoprene and fleece were stretched and plied
Rolls, braces, turns, and peel outs were tried.
Canoes and kayaks zoomed.
Only a few were doomed
to flip over and be pulled aside.

One and all reveled in warmth and light.
Staying out late was to our delight.
Though our muscles grumbled
and fingertips fumbled,
the evening's paddle was just right.

Balmy weather maintained water flow
so the second week's trip was a go.
Again a crowd converged
to test being submerged.
And how I flipped I really don't know!

At river's end there was much good cheer.
Maybe this had to do with the beer?
But I still had to sigh.
I could not figure out why
the shuttle ride created such fear!
-- Megan O'Reilly

White River to below Gaysville: Saturday April 14

Leader: Rich Larsen
Participants: (K1): Frank Wells, Jeff Fletterick; (OC1): Rich and Sheri Larsen, Peter Downey, Mike Fullerton, John Floyd
Water: high

The river was near flood at the Bethel gage, and was quite high at Stockbridge - but the night had been clear and cold, so the flow was somewhat shut down from what it had been. Was a clear day, with a high temp on the river about 45. We had to drag the boats thru the snow at the put-in and take-out. Deer tracks were common down near the river, and a pair of deer repeatedly ran down the river ahead of us. The high water caused no mishaps, but the level and temperature kept everyone cautious, so all ran the ledge on the extreme left. We also had lunch on the left side of the large eddy, since the normal lunch rock was snow covered.
-- Rich Larsen

North Branch of the Lamoille: Saturday April 14

Leader: Randy Allen
Participants: (K1): David Diedericks, James Raboin, Megan O'Reilly, Matt Holmes, James Tilley, Linda Weiss, John Bungard, Damon Bungard; (OC1): Randy Allen, Mike Smorgans
Water: 2.5 ft. (medium)

The temperature was in the 40's and windy, but at least the sun was out and the river was at approximately 2 1/2 feet at the Montgomery Rd. covered bridge -- a nice class III+ level in my opinion. We ran from the first covered bridge to the third covered bridge. Although over half of the participants were new to this river everybody did fine. Several people continued on through the Waterville ledges, always exciting to run or watch, as the case may be.
-- Randy Allen

Waits River: Sunday April 15

Leader: Peter Herman
Participants: (K1): Dan Lambert, Chris Parsons, Frank Wells; (OC1): Faith Knapp, Peter Downey, Andy Meilleur
Water: 1.1 ft. (low boatable)

River was judged too low to do the upper section from Waits River Village to East Corinth. Group put in below East Corinth and ran down to the 25B bridge in Bradford. Greate weather, some places to play, generally an easy trip.
-- Peter Herman

Black River: Saturday April 21

Leader: Faith Knapp/Tom Gelinas
Participants: (K1): Frank Wells, Steve Hobbs, Michael Seamans; (OC1): Tom Gelinas, Tom Todd, Ruth Kelsea, Peter Downey; (OC2): Joe Correia/Jason Correia, Dave Neils/Tim Clear; (C1): Michael Smorgans
Water: USGS = 2.4 ft. (medium high)

Faith Knapp was ill, and unable to paddle on Saturday. She did, however, meet the group in the morning to help organize the trip and assist with the shuttle. We put on the river around 11:15. The drop at the put-in was formidable (for a trip starter), and one channel had a large strainer (tree) submerged and caught in the rocks. Folks opted to put-in below the drop.

The trip prior to lunch was enjoyable, and uneventful. High water, lots of eddies to catch and minor ledges to surf. Everybody played hard. It was a good warm-up to what lay ahead. We took out for lunch just a little above the "gorge rapids".

The gorge consisted of three very choppy and pushy drops, followed by continuous but less formidable rapids. Everybody made it through the first two drops. However, the river devils were waiting for us at the third drop. Dave and Tim (tandem) went boat-over, but made it safely to shore. They temporarily lost their boat; it was retrieved by the closed boaters about a 1/2 mile downstream. Tom G. also swam at the third drop, and likewise made it safely to shore. His boat was retrieved just a little down stream from the drop. None of the three were hurt.

The remainder of the trip went without incident. Dave and Tim recovered their boat, and continued paddling. After the covered bridge, the water calmed down, as did the paddlers. We enjoyed the sunlight and company. We took out at the Rte 106 Bridge about 3 o'clock.
-- Tom Gelinas

Moose River: Sunday April 22

Leader: Mike Fullerton
Participants: (K1): George McIntosh, Ryan Moore, Megan O'Reilly; (OC1): Mike Fullerton, Tony Shaw, Eric Bishop, Andy Meilleur, Tom Jones, Randy Allen, Mike Smorgans, Rich Larsen
Water: riverside = 7.3 ft.; USGS = 1000 cfs (medium high)

This was a great trip! Weather and water combined for a mostly sunny class IV experience. The river was coming up as we put in and at first we were made nervous by a large mass of ice chunks and logs floating down from Victory Bog. We waited a while and it diminished, but our sweep boat kept a close eye astern ready to blow a long blast on the whistle when a stray log appeared. Proper caution got us all eddied out when one or two showed up.

The gauge staff was under water when we went by. The top of the staff is 6.3' and Mike Smorgans measured about a foot of paddle above that (this translated to 1000 cfs, according to the online USGS gauge). The water rose as we paddled. Rapids on the upper Moose are short, sweet and close together. Some were fairly large this day. Only two paddlers tested the waters and only for quick dips. The mid section, normally mellow and slow, was busy and before we knew it we were above the bridge for the final hurrah. The ledge above the bridge was darned big, but we found at least half a dozen ways to get through, all without mishap. The section below the bridge was complex with big waves in the center, but again, many routes were found.

Look for this river to be at least at the top of the staff (6.3'). A foot more gives an exciting, challenging run.
-- Mike Fullerton

Ed. Note: By midnight April 22 the flow doubled, to 2000 cfs. Spring finally had arrived!

Ammonoosuc: Saturday April 28

Leader: Andy Meilleur
Participants: (K1): Robert Fuller; (OC1): Faith Knapp, Tom Jones, Merle Schlof, Rich Larson, Sheri Larson, Mike Fullerton, Mike Smorgans
Water: USGS = 3.6 ft. (medium)

This group was laced with crusty verterans which made running this trip easy. We were 9 strong at a near ideal water level going into the classic Ammonoosuc head wind. We ate lunch at Pierce Bridge where Faith took out, then there were 8 but still strong. Tom took out after Powerhouse Rapid then there were 7. Sheri took out at a brige above Alderbrook and finally there were 6. At the top Alderbrook Rapid Mike Smorgans made timely, needed, and spectacular open boat roll. We spent 6.5 hours on the 12 mile trip which I think rivals the Hudson or Dead Rivers in entertainment value versus driving distance.
-- Andy Meilleur

West River Weekend: Sat-Sun April 28-29

Leader: John Wolfe
Participants: (K1): various and sundry
Water: USGS = 1500+ cfs (high)

This was a first. So much snow all the campgrounds were closed. It had some benefits for the local paddlers. Empty eddies and play spots. The Army Corps was releasing more water this year than in the past. Unofficially 1500 cfs, but the river had a lot more punch than usual. The upper section was big as usual. The rest of the river was where you noticed the difference. Boof Rock was Boof Wave. The ender hole at "the Dumplings" was not very cooperative. But other features formed with the higher flows that made up for the usual.

There were many people in our group. So many I don't think I could name them all. I do know the head count at the house we rented was 30. I sat out the first run, but it did give me a preview of what the river was capable of doing. The first casualty was an OC-2 from our group. They made it about 50 yard down the top before crashing. They had a long hard swim, lost a paddle, and suffered some bruises to go with it.

I did run the afternoon run. The water was exploding from the dam. We were accompanied by a raft carrying my 10 year old daughter, Krystal. This was her first whitewater experience. I eddied out at the upper surf wave to see her come by. Her eyes were like saucers and her paddle was frantically skipping on top of the water as they went through the wave backward. She was having fun!

Then it started. Looking upstream I noticed a red paddle sticking straight up from the middle of the rapid like a flag. I saw one of "my boys" being helped from the water onto an island and the boat he borrowed from me float by. The kid was bruised and scared. He had run this top section several times before but not at this level. It was pushy. The raft was now out of sight. Have fun Krystal!

John Wolfe decided we had to try to retrieve the paddle. It was in a spot nobody could seem to knock it loose (a warning perhaps to stay away from that spot). John in his usual way decided to attempt to lasso the paddle with a throw rope while I got the kid off the island and onto the road. I didn't see it and I don't believe it, but John got the paddle. On our way back to the water we found the canoe paddle that was lost in the morning. We knew somebody that was going to be very happy!

Now the kid was walking down the road, worrying how bad I was going to kick his butt for losing my boat (with no flotation). John threw the kid his paddle and in the process knocked out his own contact lens onto his cheek. Luckily, John eddied out and was able to reinstall it. This all happened before the upper shuttle put in. I brought the canoe paddle up to the road for the kid to carry down with him. He was hobbling along with bloody knees and a worried look on his face. He must have thought it was butt kicking time.

I had been wondering what rock my boat was stuck under, and if I would ever see it again. Just then James (who had recovered my boat) brought it to the road. I asked the kid if he was going to finish the run because it was a long carry to the bottom, especially with two sore knees. He preferred walking. Not going to get back on the water. With the help of a hiker they started their trek with the boat, kayak paddle and canoe paddle. Pretty good load for an eleven year old. We paddled on. Nobody was on the river, the mess was cleaned up, and it was time to enjoy. I would have liked to see the ride that Krystal had. I saw her at the take out and she was thinking maybe I should buy a raft! She had a great time. That evening several of us had the opportunity to run the Ball Mountain Brook. This is the one you cross on Rte. 100 in Jamaica. Nice little creek. No carnage, just pure fun.
-- Bob Marshall

Browns & Lamoille Rivers: Sunday April 29

Leader: Mark Willett
Participants: (K1): six; (OC1): three; (OC2): one
Water: medium low

This year we finally broke the foul weather jinx that has plagued the Browns-Lamoille trip for several years. The morning was brisk, but by the 1:00 start time the sky was clear, the temperature comfortable. The Browns River was running just high enough to avoid scratching, and well below the heavy push of the previous week. The turnout was excellent, six kayaks, three solo canoes and a tandem canoe. The Browns River put-in is in Westford, just south of town, about 1/4 mile above the washed out dam which is just below the bridge behind the store. The dam is a difficult Class III when the river is high, the river right passage is the preferred route. When the river is low the preferred route is to carry around, which we all did.

The Browns River runs several miles before reaching the Lamoille. The current runs fast and fun for short stretches, slow and lazy for others. There are two distinct ledges to negotiate. Some of the less experienced decided to line through. The group divided into two after the second ledge, allowing some of the faster boaters to move ahead. At the Lamoille the water level was at a low spring level, quick but easily managed. The entire trip ran just over four hours. No swimmers, plenty of sunshine, and a great day on the rivers.
-- Mark Willett

Kennebago River (ME): Sunday April 29

Leader: Paul Plumer/Tony Shaw
Participants: (K1): John, Greg, Joe, Rodney, Megan O'Reilly; (OC1): Paul Plumer, Kyle, Tony Shaw; (C1): John; (Inflatable): Morell with Eric Bishop (cataraft)
Weather: Chilly, calm, lots of sunshine
Water: riverside = 650 cfs (high)

This trip was an unexpected and unequivocal pleasure! I had been corresponding by email in mid-April with Paul Plumer (president of the Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society) about organizational issues germane to our two club when we got to talking about our favorite places to paddle. Paul said his favorite river in Maine was the Kennebago, and (by the way) would anyone from VPC like to join the PPCS on "the K" April 29. Undeterred by the long drive and chilly forecast, I teamed up with Eric and Megan to head east Saturday afternoon.

Eric was fighting a virus or strep, so he did not join Megan and me for a 90 minute low water paddle on the upper Saco (NH) Saturday as the sun set. I swam in the last rapid, in water which I SWEAR was below 32 degrees! Not even a spicy plate of nachos or my chicken quesadilla in North Conway could warm me back up!

Though it was in the teens overnight, we were nestled down in a cheap motel in Gorham NH, with the Androscoggin River riffling past our bathroom window, and I was warm again by morning. 90 more minutes north by Rt. 16 put us at the Kennebago Lake turnoff, right on time. Paul and Morrill have been running Kennebago trips once a year for several years. It is exceedingly difficult to get permission (and a key to the entrance gate) from the private association which controls this undeveloped valley. A large lake above the whitewater run is a summer home to many fortunate families, Paul explained.

In hindsight, I don't know which will be more memorable, the river itself or the characters with whom we enjoyed it. They ranged in age from cartwheeling 20 somethings to pipe-smoking 60 somethings. Morrill has wandered New England for decades in search of the ultimate whitewater experience, and has run small streams in Vermont (Ompompanoosuc, Winhall, etc, etc) which most VPC'ers have not. Morrill offered Eric a seat on his inflatable cataraft, and Eric (still under the vexing effects of the flu, or whatever) accepted. Consequently Eric had a drier and less taxing trip than would otherwise have been the case (a good thing). Even so, he was exhausted for days afterward. Paul was a gregarious host and paddled his OC1 with alacrity.

We saw moose at river's edge, deer at river's edge, and snow banks still 3 feet deep among the spruce. Many cedars line the banks as well, which tickled Megan.

The first 3 miles from the power dam are intermittent class III; the last 3 miles are continous and powerful III-IV. Joe spent these last 3 miles chasing a runaway kayak, which he finally caught! Eric and Morrill beat the hard boaters to the take-out by almost an hour, and Eric spent most of that hour worrying that the open boaters among the group had perished in any one of the large holes which punctuate the lower river. It turns out that we all were able to dodge the nastiest of the nasty holes, and ran the other wave trains high and dry overall. Still, the lower river commanded our undivided attention, and left us with some really fond memories to savor as the spring runoff peters out. If Paul offers again in 2002, I will be sure to spread the word!

Lower Lamoille after work: Wednesday May 2

Leader: Rich Larsen
Participants: (K1): George McIntosh, Gary Hafer, Randy Mead, Mark Willett, Frank Wells; (OC1): Rich Larsen, Ray Ingram
Water: USGS = 3300 cfs (medium)

It was a very warm day, with highs well into the 70s. Clouds, sprinkles, and sun alternated thru the course of the evening. The water level was good, around 3300 cfs. Only 4 boats planned to be at the start (Rich Larsen, Ray Ingram, George McIntosh, and Gary Hafer), but Randy Mead and Mark Willett drove by and joined in, and then Frank Wells caught up at the end. There were no mishaps, and we saw Ospreys down near 5 chutes.
-- Rich Larsen

New Haven Ledges: Saturday May 5

Leader: Ed Clark
Participants: (K1): Ed Clark, Robert Fuller, Brian Jones, Carroll Maxwell, Tom Yurista; (OC1): Tony Shaw
Water: riverside = 15-18 in. (medium)

Ed picked the date for this trip out of thin air, but he really nailed it - the level was a perfect 15-18 inches and the sun shone brightly. I flipped and rolled in the first drop, which set the tone for my day. I did it again at "lost legs" and again in the pool below "toaster". The memory of accelerating downward toward the pool below "toaster" and watching the front half of my boat disappear into it (while knowing I would be engulfed myself momentarily) will stay fresh. Several chose to sneak or carry "oh, by the way" on account of a tree trunk partially submerged in the main current. I pulled out after swimming in the technical rapid above "playpen", and Robert joined my in calling it a day at that point. Three of the four who completed the run went back to the put-in to cap the day with a "race run" - top to bottom in 20 minutes! Thanks, Ed, for organizing a fun trip!
-- Tony Shaw

Lower Hudson: Saturday May 5

Leader: Rich Larsen
Participants: (K1): Steve Hobbs, Frank Wells; (OC1): Rich and Sheri Larsen, Peter Downey, Andy Meilleur
Water: USGS = 5.74 ft. (medium high)

The high was around 60, on a very clear day, with the river at 5.74 at North Creek. We ran from North Creek to the Glen. The mile from the Hook to the Island was very pushy with the high level, and there were a couple of close calls at the Hook drop itself, but no swims. All the open boats took a sneak route at the Glen Ledge, but the kayaks were able to eddy right, scout, and then ferry to left-center for the main chute.
-- Rich Larsen

Hudson Gorge: Saturday May 5

Leader: Joe Bromka
Participants: (K1): Joe Bromka, Mikhal
Water: USGS = 6 ft. (high)

This trip took place on the same weekend as the annual North Creek Hudson Derby. The abundance of rafters, paddlers festivity-goers, and beautiful weather made for an epic weekend of paddling.

Regarding the trip, the 6 foot water level formed plenty of play spots, while at the same time, did not create dangerous hydraulics or keepers (Still kept clear of the Greyhound Bus Stop pourover, however). Yours truly did manage to fall asleep near the bottom of Mile-Long rapids, drifting sideways over a very grabby pourover. Managed to roll amidst the spanking it gave me.
-- Joe Bromka

Lower Lamoille: Wednesday May 9

Leader: George McIntosh
Weather: low boatable
Water: The trip was canceled because of a lack of interest. I had one person signed up to paddle and he canceled about 3 pm, so there wasn't any trip. The water was low and it probably wouldn't have been much of a whitewater experience anyway.


-- George McIntosh

Schroon River (NY): Sunday May 13

Leader: Sheri Larsen
Participants: (K1): Frank Wells, John Barrows; (OC1): Sheri Larsen, Andy Meilleur
Water: riverside = 4 ft.; USGS = 4 ft. (medium)

Earlier in the week I sent around an email asking if anyone was interested in paddling with and Andy Meilleur and me on Saturday. We didn't get any takers for Saturday so switched the date to Sunday. We picked the right day. Saturday was cold and rainy. Sunday was a perfect paddling day-relatively warm, sunny and a good level of water on the river (about 4 feet on the gauge).

We did two runs on the Schroon. There were lots of good waves and holes in which to play. The big drop seemed too squirrelly to go down the middle so we took an easier route on the far right. (At lunch we talked with another group that did do the drop. But for us, with only 2 canoes and 2 kayaks, it seemed a lot safer to pass on the big drop.) The rest of the river was just real pleasant. Only one swimmer, who tipped after playing in a hole.

The highlight of the day was seeing a mink running along the shore. The mink was carrying a fish in its mouth. The fish was about 2/3 of the size of the mink's body (minus tail). We also saw ducks along the river and geese on the drive (at Dead Creek in Vermont).

Glad we could fit the Schroon in this year. It's a scenic and fun river.
-- Sheri Larsen

Battenkill: Saturday-Sunday May 19-20

Leader: Faith Knapp & Tony Shaw
Participants: (K1): Hannah Senftleber, Fianna Barrows, Irene Barrows, John Barrows; (OC1): Faith Knapp, Holly Drew, Rick Enos; (OC2): Julia Graham & Kevin Graham (with Duke the Dalmation), Tony Shaw & Emily Shaw, Fritz Senftleber & Nora Senftleber
Water: riverside = 3.2 ft.; USGS = 410 cfs (low boatable)

Saturday proved to be mostly sunny and warm. We had 3 OC1 paddlers: Faith Knapp, Holly Drew (last years school student), and Rick Enos. The water level was low but great for Holly and Rick being their first time out. We enjoyed the sun, flowers and the many birds that always abound in this area. We had no mishaps except to help some kids who had gone over. We helped them empty the boat and get back so they could be on their way. Holly worked hard to remember what she had learned last year. By the end of the day she was relaxing and having fun. We paddled from the NY State picnic area to the Shushan covered bridge for 8 miles.

We returned to our campsite at Camping on the Battenkill where we had riverside sites. Shortly we were joined by Tony & Emily Shaw, the Barrows, the Senftlebers and the Grahams with their Dalmation, Duke. We all celebrated Nora'a 4th birthday. New VPC K1 paddlers were Hannah, Irene and Fianna. The anticipated rain never came and we had another day of sun and warm weather for Sunday. We now totaled 10 boats and put in right from our campsite. Fianna, Irene and Hannah all did an excellent job paddling their kayaks and not only kept up but would stay just in back of the lead boat. Nora directed dad, Fritz, where to go. Emily and Tony Shaw made an awesome twosome. Our new tandem paddlers, Julie & Kevin did well for true novices, and improved greatly by the end of the day. They only had one mishap when Duke decided he didn't like the bushes and jumped out of the boat causing it to almost go over.

Well, maybe HE should take the school next! Lunch was at the West Arlington Covered Bridge where the girls took the opportunity to play frisbee and get in the water.

Fritz, Hannah and Nora took out here to visit some relatives. The rest of us arrived at the NY State rest area (7 1/2 miles) about 3:15 pm with smiles on our faces.
-- Faith Knapp

Hudson Gorge: Sunday May 20

Leader: Michelle Seamans
Participants: (K1): Win Turner, Michelle Seamans; (OC1): Andy Meilleur
Water: USGS = 4.3 ft. (medium)

With the release of the Indian the river was at 4.3 feet. The Indian released at 1200 cfs. A great time was had by all! Andy was caught on film surfing quite a few waves on the way down! He even was seen practicing spinning his canoe on a wave. Win could not pass up a wave the whole way down and the scribe discovered that her dry top is no longer a "dry" top! Most impressive was seeing Win take on a rapid with his legs stetched out on top of his k-1! We could not have asked for a better day.
-- Michelle Seamans

I.C.E. for Solo Canoe Course coming soon - by Ray Ingram

If anyone is interest in attending and completing an American Canoe Association I.C.E. (Instructor Certification Examination) Course for Solo Canoe, please contact me at 802-879-4286 or rkicanoe@msn.com for information. The course spans two weekends and will be offered in this area without traveling too far. There are several possible dates throughout the summer. Contact me as soon as possible so a group can be established, and dates can be finalized. The cost of the course is dependent on how many people sign up (I estimate the cost will be $450 to $550).

Because the class is on weekends and in our area, this is a tremendous opportunity to save money and time while earning your I.C.E. Ordinarily, this would require taking seven to ten off and traveling out of state to attend the course. If you need to figure out what you might gain from this training then maybe it's not for you, but anyone looking to work in a field of canoe instruction, looking to improve their technique, or just wanting to be more effective as a teacher for the benefit of the friends and family with whom you paddle. The ACA particularly encourages enthusiastic paddlers with experience teaching or working with youth groups to seek certification. This class is good for anyone who wants to upgrade from an IP (Introduction to Paddling) or an IRP (Introduction to River Paddling) certification, but prior ACA credentials ARE NOT pre-requisite.

No matter how you add it up you'll never find a better deal than this. Contact me ASAP if you think you might want to attend. Don't wait. Call now. Another source of information is the ACANET website -- http://www.acanet.org , in the INSTRUCTION area, where there is an "ACA Instructor Certification: Is It For You?" FAQ.

-- Ray

Chace Mill Access - by Robyn Battaile

The manager of the Chace Mill has been hassling kayakers trying to play on the Winooski. He claims he owns the property where the take-out is located. He does not; however, he does lease the land from Green Mountain Power, so he does have some rights. To keep the tension low, please park in the furthest upstream dirt parking lot. When you finish playing, carry your boat back up to your car at the put-in. Questions? Call me at 865-9494. If you have a confrontation with Chace Mill management be CIVIL, be as polite as possible, then go PLAY!

NH AMC Paddlers Whitewater School - by Tony Shaw

In return for Tom Todd's enthusiastic help with the July 2000 VPC Novice Whitewater Clinic, I went to Manchester and Henniker NH this April to help out as an instructor volunteer at the NH AMC Paddlers "Introduction to Whitewater School". There were over 30 students, many equipped with boats, gear, and/or wetsuits loaned by NH AMC members. The AMC also has a livery of club-owned boats available for such events.

The Friday evening lectures covered equipment, hypothermia, river signals, and what to do in the event of a capsize (your own or someone else's). "BOAT OVER!!" will be echoing through the hallways of the Amoskeag Fish Ladder Visitors Center for weeks to come! Continued participation on NH AMC trips after graduation was enthusiastically endorsed by Tom and the other officers. Flatwater instruction Saturday morning on a quiet stretch of the Contoocook River outside Henniker (including a game of OC-2 polo) was followed by lunch complete with a river reading/maneuvers lecture and then 3-4 hours of instruction on moving water. The student-to-instructor ratio Saturday was generally 2:1. A home-style turkey dinner with all the fixings Saturday night was the piece de la resistance - made possible by the valiant efforts of several more NH AMC volunteers. Scores of club members turned out to eat and socialize. In all, 120 were (well) fed!

Too much snow in Claremont squelched the planned Sunday instruction on the Sugar River. Everyone was disappointed, but none more so than me. For one thing, I haven't run the Sugar in almost 20 years and I was looking forward to doing it in something other than a Grumman with a keel. Worse yet, my Saturday night lodging arrangements with an old friend in Meriden made attending the alternative Sunday run (Souhegan River) impractical. I am told Sunday was cold and damp but successful nonetheless. The enthusiasm of the many volunteers was contagious, so I am certain some of the students will go on to be whitewater addicts themselves.

One cannot help make comparisons between novice whitewater clinics like those of the VPC and NH AMC. This clinic was WELL organized, with volunteer responsibilities well delineated and things staying more or less on schedule despite the large numbers of students and instructors. I felt the Friday evening session was a bit shy on content, as the river reading/maneuvers talk was presented Saturday instead. A big plus was getting students onto moving water sooner (Saturday pm versus Sunday am). The turkey dinner was also hugely popular among students, instructors, and club members alike. I am not convinced the VPC can muster that kind of dedicated volunteer support (but feel free to prove me wrong!).

Bush Hacks USGS Streamgage Funding by 40%

President Bush is proposing a 40% cut in the USGS streamgaging budget for fiscal year 2002. This is twice as bad as even the most pessimistic predictions. If this bothers you, write your Congressional representatives and let them know about your concern! -- http://www.congress.org/

Gauges are used to predict and monitor flooding, predict and monitor safe drinking water supplies, predict and monitor instream flows and temperatures for fishery protection, and provide real-time flow information for river recreationists including fishermen and boaters.

Ed note: Thanks to American Whitewater for this alert. They are online at http://www.americanwhitewater.org/

Vermont Paddlers Limerick Contest, Volume 2

So, here are the much anticipated winners of the 2001 VPC limerick contest. I never knew we had such a creative and literate bunch (who says paddlers are one-dimensional?).

For your retrospective limerick reading pleasure, check out the Bow and Stern Archives: http://www.vtpaddlers.net/talk/bowstern/archive/1979-06.htm#item2

The runners up...

There once was a paddler from Kent
Who capsized wherever he went
From bottom to top
He just couldn't stop
Til all of his energy was spent
-- Tony Shaw

There is a sweet river you should see.
It's pool/drop, class III/IV, the Mettawee.
But take cortisone,
when on shore alone,
those green plants are all poison ivy!
-- Tom Yurista
There's no camping this year at the West.
But the paddling will still be the best.
So just sleep in your van,
Or where ever you can,
Just don't miss out on this annual fest.
-- Magic Hat Brewing Co.

Bow and Stern Readers' Survey: March 2001

Thank you to everyone who submitted a survey. It appears that a sizable number of you would like to see more equipment design stories, historical pieces, biographical pieces, trip reports, photos/art, and national news in the Bow and Stern. This issue has been spiced up with digital pictures you've sent in, but we can always use more!

On the qualitative assessment, trip reports, club news, and Vermont news received the highest ratings, while national news received the lowest marks. The first step in improving VPC publications is to entice an energetic gal or chap to be our Bow and Stern editor. Nominations (and applications) are being accepted!

Oh yes, member willingness to accept online delivery of the Bow and Stern broke down as follows: HTML format (38%), DOC format (33%), ACROBAT format (33%), NO THANKS (19%).

VPC as a Paddle America Club

The benefits which befall the VPC as an ACA Paddle America Club (PAC) include guidance in better managing risk inherent on paddling trips, regional and national lobbying for paddlesport interests, regular announcements (via mail and www.acanet.org) of races, clinics, and recreational events, Paddler Magazine for all ACA members 6 times a year, discounts for ACA PAC members on book and/or gear purchases at www.acanet.org or www.outdoorplay.com, and legal representation/liability insurance for trip organizers or VPC officers found negligent in connection with VPC events they helped organize.

Just to clarify how ACA enrollment and renewal works, identify yourself with 1 of the 4 statements here:

  1. I was an ACA member before joining VPC.
    You are entitled to lower ACA member rates than you have been paying, so long as you remain an active member in a Paddle America Club. Just write Vermont Paddlers Club PAC on your next ACA renewal notice and pay the discount renewal rate ($15 individual or $20 family).
  2. I was a VPC member before joining ACA.
    Henceforth your yearly VPC renewal ($8) and ACA renewal ($15 or $20) will be billed separately. Watch your mail for renewal notices from each club (Jan. 1 from VPC, anniversary date from ACA).
  3. I joined VPC/ACA simultaneously at the $23 (individual) or $28 (family) rate.
    See #2 above.
  4. I have not joined the ACA.
100% ACA participation is expected of PACs. Until you join the ACA you (and each member of your family) will be required to pay the $5 fee each time you join a VPC trip. Moreover, ACA non-members are precluded from coordinating any club trips or teaching in our annual whitewater clinic. Please take a minute to print the online form (http://www.vtpaddlers.net/join/aca.pdf) and mail it with your $15/$20 directly to the ACA ASAP. Your card(s) and window sticker(s) will arrive in about 4 weeks.

2001 Summer Trips Schedule

SCHEDULE NOTES

  1. Contact the trip organizer for information about each trip.
  2. Listed trips may be changed or canceled as water, weather, or interest dictates.
  3. Plans for impromptu trips can be relayed thru the trip organizer or online.
  4. Please give 1-2 weeks notice for overnight trips to have a say in pre-planning.
  5. Car-pooling on long (and short) trips is encouraged!
  6. The AROUND VERMONT IN 30 RIVERS promotion is underway!!!

Danger exists for participants in canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and other activities organized or advertised by the Vermont Paddlers Club. Such participation may result in illness or injury due to accidents, the forces of nature, or other causes not foreseeable. Such illness and injury may include disease, strains, sprains, fractures, dislocations, paralysis, and/or death. Possible injuries may cause serious and permanent disability.

By your participation in any Vermont Paddlers Club activity you knowingly assume the risks arising out of that activity. In so doing you release, hold harmless and indemnify the Vermont Paddlers Club and its agents, officers and employees from any and all claims and suits for bodily injury, property damage, wrongful death, loss of services or otherwise which may arise out of your participation in canoeing, kayaking, tubing and other activities, whether or not such claims or suits arise from negligent acts or omissions by the organizers and conductors of this activity, their employees or volunteers, another participant, any other person or from any other cause.

Who Wants To Be A . . . Whitewater Clinic Volunteer???

Last July over 15 students took advantage of the clinic, and many club members enjoyed the opportunity to spend a weekend on the water refining their own skills. Still others helped out in essential ways behind the scenes. VPC member energy is vital to the clinic's success each summer. The dates this year are July 13-15.

PLEASE CALL ME THIS WEEK if you have any time/energy to give to this most worthwhile of VPC projects (879-1655). - Tony

Clean Water Act Needs Advocates!

Tell Congress and your Governor that you want the Clean Water Act preserved and state authority to protect your streams maintained. In a recent report, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recommended that Congress slash states' powers to implement the Clean Water Act and to protect streams from harmful hydropower operations.

The proposed law change would erode the basic structure of the Act and narrow its vision of citizens working in their own states to protect and restore the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of all U.S. waters.

FERC wants to replace that vision with its own subjective balancing of the public's interests in streams a balancing act that has favored profits for private companies over free and full use of streams by the general public, and which has led to environmental devastation of water bodies across the country over the past 80 years. Please act today. Tell your federal lawmakers to leave the Clean Water Act's broad protections intact, and insist that your Governor defend your state's right to protect your streams.

To take action, visit www.americanrivers.org/takeaction/..

European Paddling?

Date: 6/2/2001 8:32:49 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: rickyb3@attglobal.net (Ricky Battistoni)
To: BOATFUL@aol.com

Tony,

Can you do a little inquiry into the B&S and ask if there is interest in spending a few days paddling in France... then leaving folks time to go sightseeing as well. If there is an interest I would be glad to organize it from this end, and be the guide/translator for the trip arrangements.

They can get back directly to me at this address... The goal would be next spring.

Miss paddling as well as the paddlers, send them my regards.

A bien tot...

Ricky

Warning to Paddlers of the Lower Lamoille

In an effort to keep people from accessing the river at the rte. 104 bridge in Fairfax, the person who just built a new house on the hill dumped several pounds of nails in the parking space behind the guardrails. With some help, I removed most of them, however there may be some still there, or worse yet, the person who did this may resort to doing this again or worse.

I am not sure of the legal status of this area. It is within 20 feet or so of the state highway, but I have no idea if that gives us the right to park there.

Does anyone know the law on this?

Be careful where you park!

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