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Bow and Stern - June 17, 1981

Bow and Stern - - June 1981

Bow and Stern

June 17,1981

A Letter from the Editor

Dear Fellow Paddlers,

Well, another whitewater season is winding down to a successful close. Another June Dinner is at hand, and another issue of the BOW & STERN is on the stands. For this last, I have to express my sincere thanks to Mary Levigne for all the typing she has done this year (she's the kind who might balk at typing this part, so I'm doing it myself). Thanks, Mary. This season, our training program was updated with the Tom Fester touch; a lot of members got out on the rivers from the West River to West Virginia. Inside are the reports, the Limerick Contest that almost wasn't, and the Summer Schedule. So, enjoy the BOW & STERN, the Dinner, and the special slide show.

See you on the water,
Larry Thomson

March 1, 1981 Spring Meeting

The spring meeting was held with Valway's Restaurant catering a delicious ravioli and meatball supper.

The meeting was called to order by President Alan Roberts with a fairly large attendance.

Minutes of the meeting and the Treasurer's report as of 1/31/31 are published in the Bow and Stern for all membership to review. All were approved.

Dick Allen reported that he had copies of the ACA Eastern Division schedule of events. Please see him for copies.

Ray Gonda, Chairman of the Whitewater Training reported that the b1ackboard session was scheduled for 3/24/31 with two pool sessions set up. One for canoes 3/30 and the other for kayaks on 3/31. The river trip is to be announced at the pool session.

The club has invited Thomas Foster to give an Instructors Advanced Technique and Training session with ideas to be implemented in the club's own training program. All interested are invited.

Peter Alden talks about safety and reminds everyone to call the Trip Leader about final details of any whitewater trip. The paper may not be right.

Larry Thomson talked about the problems of getting the Bow & Stern printed. Special thanks went to Mary Lavigne, Al Roberts, and Bob Dodds for their help in typing and printing. The famous limerick contest is to be held for the next meeting in June.

Margaret Zeller is chairman of the June meeting. Notices will be sent out announcing the date.

Rosie Stirts is the chairman of Summer Events.

Norm Lavoie thanked all the help in the kitchen.

Old Business

Al Roberts reported on the latest development on the proposed White River Scenic Act.

Norm Lavoie reminded everyone that he is the keeper of the safety gear and that borrowed equipment is to be returned immediately after.

No New Business.

Meeting was adjourned and a slide presentation followed.

Respectfully Submitted,
Melinda Dodds,
Secretary/Treasurer

Treasurer's Report

Beginning Balance as of 1/31/1981 $433.78
Income:
Dues and income from supper $725.60
  $725.60
Expenses:
Check charges $2.50
Overpaid of Dues 5.00
Office Supplies 17.78
Dinner Expenses 305.00
Rental of Church 25.00
Instructors' expenses 100.00
Pool Rental 66.77
Postage and VP phone reimburs. 53.42
AWA Due 12.00
  $587.47
Balance on Hand May 30, 1981 $571.91

Introduction to White Water: Spring 1981

This year's program was considerably expanded and enhanced over past year's programs--using both what had been learned from experience in previous programs, and a significant number of new approaches.

The most significant approach that was different this year was that instructors became involved much earlier in the program in a workshop environment. This included:

1. Workshop with Tom Foster from Greenfield Community College, Mass., author of Recreational White Water Canoeing (an instructional text highly recommended for all who would like to improve their technique)

2. River Session on Mad River (see trip report - L. Thomson).

The sequence of student sessions remained the same, but continued improvements were made to the curriculum content, and organization as a result of several early planning sessions. 1. Blackboard Session 2. UVM Pool Session 3. Mad River Session

The blackboard session basically remained the same except for curriculum content and structure, and a modified selection of films. The pool session was greatly changed to include 8 boats and a more formalized instructional approach. The river session was different only in the organization of paddlers into groups of 2 instructor boats and 4 student boats apiece- a practice recommended by the A.C.C. There were 26 boats at the river session (9 instructor/17 student).

Judging by instructors' comments and students' written evaluations, the program was felt to be very successful in meeting its objectives.

A formal report of the program will be generated and kept in club files, which will include all materials relevant such as a curriculum guide, brochures used, a list of students and instructors involved, and recommendations for future programs. This report should provide an excellent reserve for future programs, and will be available for review by any club member at request.

Testament to the strong interest on the part of club members in the program was the enthusiastic and high level of instructor participation, without which there would have been no program.

Ray Gonda

Third Annual Limerick Contest: 1981

He went to his mailbox, in vain.
For despite no snow, sleet or rain.
Not a limerick was sent,
Risque, or innocent.
This contest might go down the drain

Last year was different, by Jove!
All the cruisers, to write them-they strove
Singlets, and couplets
Even double-qunituplets!
Enough to sink a canoe in a cove

Then just as his hopes grew quite pale
Two envelopes came in the mail.
From George and from Andy,
Two writers, quite handy
At rhyming a white water tale.

So the contest was saved by this twosome
Though King's English, they tend to abuse some
A few rhymes were unthinkable
(And were thus left un-inkable)
But the rest will surely amuse some

Larry Thomson

First Prize
It's time for the spring training trip.
How many canoeists will flip?
Amazing, it's sunny.
Wouldn't you know, it's funny,
Only instructors took a dip.
George McIntosh

Second Prize
Clear the river, here comes Dennis.
Into the chute, he's a menace.
Look out below,
Here comes the blow.
No more canoe, he'll take up tennis.
Andy Nuquist

Third Prize
The Indian was full to the brim.
Suddenly it happened to him.
The crew made a slip,
The canoe did a flip,
And they went for a cool little swim.
George McIntosh

Other Entries
Watch out, here comes Andy.
In a canoe, he's not very handy.
At the water he pokes
With his paddle strange strokes.
Backwards again, isn't that dandy?
Andy Nuquist

The Indian was cruising with might,
The gauge was way out of sight.
Doug rescued his craft,
Then washed under a raft.
But everything worked out all right.
George McIntosh

The onset of Spring sets my heart a-quiver
Tho it's far too early, there's ice on the river.
Out in this cold.
Who'd be so bold?
The canoe cruisers would, the thought makes me shiver.
Andy Nuquist

On flatwater still, we float serene
And watch the wood duck its feathers preen.
But with the Cruisers,
That bunch of bruisers,
From rock to rock, our canoes careen.
Andy Nuquist

A Piece of the Rock

Editor's note: The following article was clipped and given to me by two of my personal stringers from the Boston area: my mother, and brother-in-law, Ben Volinski. This column was reprinted recently in the Boston Globe.

Things you might not realize if you never tried canoeing on the White River without quite knowing what you were doing:

1. There's a lot more water in there than you think.

2. However, there's not quite enough water to cover the rocks.

3. There are a lot more rocks in there than you think.

4. Shouting at the canoe will not make it turn to avoid the rocks.

5. Shouting at your partner will not make the canoe turn to avoid the rocks.

6. The current moves considerably more rapidly than you might think.

7. Sometimes white water indicates the presence of a rock, but sometimes it does not.

8. Sometimes the presence of a rock is indicated only by the thump on the bow of your canoe.

9. Canoe paddles can move right along downstream all by themselves.

10. When you are broadside to the river, it is very easy for the water to flow right into the canoe.

11. Canoes tip over easily.

12. The water in the White River in May is cold for swimming.

13. An overturned canoe, wedged against a rock with the water flowing into it, weighs several tons.

14. A guy over in Chelsea has a power winch, which is about the only thing that will get a wedged canoe out.

15. It takes a long, long time to get warm and dry again.

M. Dickey Drysdale
Editor and Publisher
White River Valley Herald
Randolph, VT

Trip Reports

Mad River Training Trip : March 29, 1981

Leader: Larry Thomson
Participants: Bill Crowe, Fred Jordan, Constance Desilets, Moe Desilets, Al Stirt, Rosie Stirt, Margaret Zeller, George McIntosh, Doug McIntosh, Bob Dodds, Ray Gonda, Jim Higgins, Alan Roberts, Bob Durkin, Richard Larsen, George Agnew, Janet Brunet

This trip was one of the early manifestations of the new look in our training program. The goal was to scout the river, looking for good spots to teach in, and to sharpen our own skills. In this regard the trip was very helpful to me. At the put in, Bill Crowe and I fell into a hole, and I gunnel-grabbed. (There, I said it.) The other instructors very kindly pointed this out to me--with boos, hisses, bronx cheers, etc. From now on, just call me low brace Larry.

We all enjoyed ourselves, getting rid of the rust and practicing some of the new techniques taught by Tom Foster during his workshop.

The water level seemed pretty low to us, but the dam was runnable. We hoped the water would be higher the next week, when the training trip would take place.

Larry Thomson

Upper Lamoille : April 5, 1981

Leader: Peter Alden
Participants: Al Roberts, Doug McIntosh, Fred Jordan, Mel Doherty, Len Carpenter, Fran Rousseau, Howard Hansen, Rich Larsen, Andy Nuquist, Brenda Clarkson, Brian Kooiker, Tom Conlon, Pete Conlon (6 canoes, 3 kayaks)

At this time of the year, with a rainy day and temperature at about 55, the water should have been boiling along. When we arrived at 10:30, we wondered if it was runnable it was so low. We guessed it would be an easy drift. The day was cloudy and there was a low fog over the river to a height of four feet, making for some guesswork when approaching rapids. We bumped on most of the gravel bars in the morning and ate lunch in the rain, huddled under a porch in East Hardwick.

After lunch, the river flow had picked up considerably making a more lively afternoon run. It still was far from high water level. It was a nice trip, too soon over, and was enjoyed by all.

One kayaker rolled over and out and decided to stop before the motel. One rolled and exited trying to help. The third in a freak happening got his rear grab loop caught on a branch, which put an abrupt end to his progress until he got out and freed himself. One canoe stopped at the portage and lunch spot, but all the others completed the trip without mishap.

Peter Alden

Browns River (Westford) - Lamoille (5 chutes): April 17, 1981 (Good Friday)

Leader: Al Roberts
Participants: Bob Durkin, George McIntosh, Al Stirt, Rosie Stirt, Brian Kooiker, Brenda Clarkson, Janet Brunet, Dick Allen (1 kayak, 4 canoes)

The first half of this trip was an exploration/scouting trip of the Browns River from Westford to the Route 128 bridge. The meeting time was 1:00 at the bridge in Westford. We put in below the first set of rapids and paddled, lined, and carried above them. Then we paddled up to the dam to scout a carry. This dam can be seen from the covered bridge in Westford. The next time we should put in at the bridge and carry the dam. A nice class 2 rapid is on the way back to the put in. The topo shows 2 falls, so we would be cautious in approaching any rapid.

The first falls is actually a ledge about 5 feet high. We lined on the left. There is a small rapid above the falls, which can be run at this water level (low, Lamoille gauge 7.0 feet) to the lining spot. Below this falls are more class 1-2 rapids till the next falls are met, again the approach is fairly safe and can be lined on the left. This falls consist of 2 ledges both about 3 feet high, about 20-30 feet apart. Below these falls, class 1-2 rapids exist most of the way to the Rt. 128 bridge.

The Browns River from the 128 bridge to the Lamoille offers an extremely attractive alternative to the 104 bridge Lamoille put in. This section consists of some 1-2 rapids down to the Lamoille.

The run on the Lamoille was made in a heavy fog as the temperature dropped, we pulled out below the 5 chutes at about 5:00.

Alan Roberts

Lower Lamoille (Browns River (128) - 5 chutes): April 19, 1981 (Easter)

Leader: Al Roberts
Participants: Alan Stirt, Janet Brunet, George McIntosh, Margaret Zeller, Karen Zeller, Dorothy Williamson, Jane Mikkelson, Alison Hill, Jay Philoon, Caren Hutchinson (1 kayak, 6 canoes)

We put in at the 128 bridge on the Browns River in excellent weather; sunny, air temp in the high 40's, low 50's, perfect spring canoeing weather. Since there were some new, novice teams; we took our time, practicing maneuvers, playing in the rapids, surfing and having a great time. We ate lunch at the bottom of two island rapids on left is land (of the 2 islands), the rest of the trip was made without any major incidents with take out at the bottom of the 5 chutes rapids.

Alan Roberts

White River : April 28, 1981

Leader: Dick Allen
Participants: Larry Thomson, Joe Kraus, Al Roberts, Brian Kooiker, Brenda Clarkson, Rich Larsen, Janet Brunet, Alison Hill, Mary Woodruff (2 kayaks, 4 canoes)
Weather: Overcast and 40
Water: Higher than average due to recent rain. Many eddies were washed out or just barely visible.

We met in Stockbridge at 9:00. There were several other boaters on the river. We were accompanied through the main rapids by a small group of closed boaters who were planning on doing the Black River in the afternoon.

We had a successful run and enjoyed the big waves in Gaysville and just near the take out. We commented that it was unusual to do this trip in late April with early March weather. We did stop for lunch. We finished boating around 1:30.

Dick Allen

West Virginia Trip: April 3 - 12, 1981

Participants: Dick Trudell, Steve Page, Roger Belson, and eight other assorted crazies

This was the second spring trip to West Virginia and it was planned for a month earlier than last year to ensure good water levels. fl had fears of paddling in the snow, but that seemed to disappear when Steve and I left Burlington on Friday afternoon in 60 degree temperature. We met with some of the others in New-burg, N.Y. about 6:00 p.m., and drove all night to Ohiopyle State Park on the Youghiogheny River. We arrived about 3:00 a.m. and got a couple of hours sleep. That morning we joined up with the rest of our group, eleven in all, and had breakfast at Gilsan' s in Markleysburg (the first of several good and inexpensive meals here).

We decided our first run of the week would be the Tygart. To avoid a couple of miles of flatwater, we attempted to find the alternate put in at Papa Weese's Paradise (a fishing camp). After several miles on narrow back roads, we finally came to the river (we don't know if we had the right spot or even the right river at that point) . The shuttle was finally arranged and we put in the water. The first drops were 6 foot to 8-foot ledges with the first being the keyhole, which flowed between 2 rocks and was just wider than a kayak. One of our C-l's got back ended in the drop and he was totally disconcerted the rest of the week.

The next major drop, Hard Tongue Falls, we scouted. Here the water drops off the ledge, caroms off a boulder to the right and ends up in a mess of foamy water. If I hadn't seen someone run it, I wouldn't have believed it was runnable. After watching a couple of runs, we took it on - a slight angle to the right dropping over the edge, a hard brace where the water bounces off the boulder and a flush to the bottom in the middle of the aerated suds. Several miles of class 3-4 rapids brought us to the S turn where the river chokes down and then drops 25 feet in 75 yards through a couple of quick turns. This was followed by Shoulder Snapper Falls, an 8-foot drop onto some boulders. We scouted this one pretty close and ran it cleanly on the right side where you could miss a pretty messy hold. Below this drop was a ender hole where we played for awhile. The river ended by flowing into the Buchannon River. It was a good class 4-5 run. That night we camped at the Cheat Canyon Campground.

Sunday morning found the Cheat River at 3.0, a good class 4 level. The shuttle's atrocious, but once that is taken care of, the river's very enjoyable. There are a lot of holes to play in and some technical drops. The run is eleven miles, so you get a good work out before it ends. That evening we decided to do the Blackwater River on the next day, so we drove to the Blackwater State Park and set up camp. We were higher in elevation and a cold front was moving in, so it wasn't too surprising that we awoke the next morning to a snow storm and, worse of all, to frozen wet suits. The vote was 9 to 2 against the Blackwater, so back down to the lower elevations we went. At Audra State Park on the Middle Fork, we let the sun thaw out our wet suits and we put into the river. Half the group decided not to paddle because of the cold weather, but it progressively got warmer during the day. The Middle Fork is 6 miles long before it drops into the Tygart, so you get to run 2 rivers in one shot here. The Middle Fork was a class 4 run in a very pretty boulder strewn riverbed. The run is technical and exciting, with some pretty good drops throughout. The Tygart was higher than 2 days earlier and deserved a class 5 rating at that level.

Because of the cold weather and lack of rain, we decided that evening to drive to the southern part of West Virginia and camp at the Summersville Dam next to the Gauley River. Tuesday morning found us heading to the Upper Meadow River, a 15-mile run of which the first 8 miles are flat. Once you get to the rapids, you forget the flatwater paddle and enjoy the next 7 miles of class 4 water. The rapids are continuous and technical and thoroughly enjoyable. You could play the rapids all the way down. The weather was warming up and the day was beautiful. We camped that night again at Summersville.

The next 2 days were spent on the New River, a 14-mile stretch from Thurmond to Fayette Station. The water level was a couple of feet higher than the recommended maximum, but a couple of guys in our group had run the New even higher and said it doesn't get more dangerous-it just gets higher. The first thing we did was admire the New River Bridge-a remarkable engineering feat and a truly graceful structure. The put in at Thurmond brought us through some of the off the beaten track back towns of West Virginia where the poverty really shows. The first 6 miles of the trip are flat water, although with a current, and they go by fairly fast until you get to the first rapid. It is call Surprise and doesn't look like much until you get halfway down, then you realize you are being funneled into 2 huge waves with a hold between them. You realize how forceful the water is when you hit the first wave. These are followed by Upper and Lower Railroad Rapids, which are a series of drops and boulders. After several more rapids, you come to the Keeney Brothers (Upper, Middle, and Lower Keeney) . These are big water rapids with huge waves (12 feet) , and cross currents in every direction. Although it looks terrible, right down the middle is the safest route. Once you enter the rapids, you don't have much control, although you can work yourself from side to side somewhat. Your major concentration is staying upright and seeing over the next wave. It's a great ride down and a real thrill. The next rapid is Double Z, a long rapid requiring maneuvering between boulders and holes. There are several more rapids of the Class 4 variety until you get to the bottom, and then one last good rapid with big waves and tricky cross currents which drops you into the pool right at the take out. The river has a class 5 rating and earns it.

That night we drove back up to Ohiopyle State Park for an assault on the Youghiogheny. The group split up here between the upper and lower Yough sections. The lower section was in low water and was a class 3 run with some good playing spots. The upper Yough was higher than I had run it last year and even though it was my second run on it, the high level made it a lot tougher getting down. The blind drops and the must catch eddies take their toll on you because of the intense concentration during the run. I was physically beat and exhausted at the end of the run.

We were lucky to have some of the same guys who ran it with us last year to help us down again. It would take many more runs to know the river well enough to run it without a guide. We met a real interesting character named Harvey, who among other characteristics that remain unnamed here, lightened our afternoon when he said at the bottom of a particularly bad drop; while patting his new S-glass and kevlar boat, I wish I could learn to love my wife like I love this boat. Definitely a class 5 run.

The next day we did the Cheat again. Because of some rain, we decided the normal take out would be too difficult (it's a class 4 road when it's dry) and decided to paddle another 8 miles to Cheat Lake for a total trip of 19 miles. However, the majority of that last 8 miles was on flat water in a rain with thunder, lightning, and a head wind. I won't do that section again.

A couple of our group took off to run the Lower Meadow while we were on the Cheat. That river is strictly for the crazies. I don't know how they made out yet, but expect to hear some real horror stories.

Steve and I left that Saturday afternoon and decided to drive all night back home. I don't think Steve slept too well with that pop music blaring to keep me awake driving, but at least I wasn't singing. We got back to Burlington about 8:00 a.m. All in all, a great white water week.

Dick Trudell

St. John's River Trip : May 15, 1981

Participants: Al and Rosie Stirt, Al Roberts, Bob Durkin, Brian Kooiker and Brenda Clarkson

The popular mythology was that the odd numbered year on the St. John's River brings bad weather. At the end of the trip most of us weren't sure either way-it depends on how you feel about snow.

On May 15, we meet at 6:30 a.m. in Newport, cross the border and drive through Quebec into Maine. We arrive at Baker Lake by 10:00 a.m., and are loaded and ready to go by 11:00. We get an inkling of things to come when we see a patch of snow hiding under a log at our lunch stop. The stretch from Baker Lake to Turner Bogan, our first camp, is a joy-little riffles class 1+, and the banks of the river fairly close together and intimate. At Turner Bogan we set up a tarp as the sky is overcast. Bob makes the first of his weather predictions-rain. Our first dinner consists of shish kabob, falafel balls, and I eat a trout Al R. caught.

In the night, we wake to the sound of rain on the tent, but it has cleared up by morning. Al S. gets up early and we are amazed after a leisurely breakfast and loading of the canoes to find out that it is only 7:30. After 2 hours paddling, it starts to rain again in earnest. I soon discover that the seam sealer on my rain pants is no longer working. Thank God for Al R.'s little blue bag that holds everything but the kitchen sink. We camp at Ledge Rapids, a pretty site with an old trapper's cabin with a resident woodchuck, a beaver pond in the back and the sound of the rapids to lull us to sleep. After dinner of barbecue chicken, Al R. and Al S. go down to the rapids to surf a wave they had spied from camp.

Next morning Al S. goes out to investigate some odd-looking raindrops and reports that it's snowing. I ask, How can you tell?, and he says, They're made of ice, not water. I say, I'm not coming out until it's over, but hunger soon gets the better of me. We all rush to get our cameras to take a photo of this rare occasion-little do we realize that it is going to snow off and on for the next 2 days. We paddle through alternating sun and snow to our next campsite-Nine Mile Bridge. We are all pretty cold by the time we get there, and Al R. and Bob direct us to the best of the campsites in this area; up on a hill with a sweeping view of the river and a large sheltered picnic table. The sun comes out most auspiciously and we sit around soaking up the bennys, as Al R. would say.

After a dinner of vegetable stew with dumplings and steak, we take a vote to decide whether we will stay over the next day-our intended layover day-or use the time to break up the long paddle to Big Black Rapids. The majority vote is to push on-we don't feel we can count on the weather to give us a balmy relaxing day. On the way to the spring to get water, we see some remarkably tame (stupid?, friendly?) partridge and hare.

The next morning, the thermometer records a low of l8 degrees, and we are all thankful to get paddling after a quick breakfast. The temperature doesn't rise above 38 degrees all day; we sing Jingle Bells as we paddle through sleet and snow. We scan the skies looking for better weather, crying I see blue which soon turns into icy blue. We stop for lunch at Symmon's Farm and decide it is too open and unattractive a spot to camp. We set out to find the elusive Basford Rips campsite, and find a lovely secluded spot - just space for 3 tents - in the cedars on a bend in the river. We christen it the unknown campsite. After all the tents are set up, Bob notices a tree broken at the base but hung up in other trees, over our tent sites. He ties the base of the tree to another tree with a remarkably ineffectual looking rope. We move our tent back a few feet so we can easily get out if the tree falls and give Al R. and Bob a hand removing the tree from their tent. (Fortunately, the tree stays put.) That night we eat noodles and tomato sauce with falafel balls. Our hands are so cold we envy Brian and Brenda with their wool mittens. Al R. tries wearing the potholders and says they work pretty well. Later the full moon rises in a hazy sky.

Next morning we set out to find the real Basford Rips campsite. It turns out to be a hunting camp with an old bedspring and metal locker, but no Molson inside unfortunately. Soon we arrive at Big Black Rapids and scout it first from the left-hand shore and see that at this moderately high water level it consists of some big waves with just a few ledges and boulders to avoid. Al R. and Bob lead the way, followed by Brenda and Brian, and Al and I sweep. It's a straightforward run with a few back ferries required to avoid ledges. At the end of the rapids, Al and I spy some very large haystacks on the left which look like fun, but the consequences of a dump are too severe this far from a road, so we play it safe and avoid them. Our only regret is that the rapids aren't longer.

At Big Black campsite, we don't get the main campsite so we take another one across the mouth of Big Black River next to a U.S. Border Patrol cabin. Al S. and Al R. pole upstream to the spring to get water. We string up a line on the porch of the cabin and set up a tarp to cook under. With the colorful clothes and bright blue tarp, we realize we must be quite a sight from the river and thus dub ourselves the Northern Vermont Canoe Gypsies, a name that sticks for the rest of the trip. We sit on the porch surveying other canoeists coming down the river and rate them on canoes, paddling style, and ability. Bob plays his harmonica for the woodchuck that lives under the outhouse-a droll site, 2 music-loving woodchucks. (Later, at 3:00 a.m., Bob sees spectacular Northern Lights, but no one else is up to see them.) For dinner we have chili and rice with corn bread bannock, (Later . . .)

The next morning's event is the Great Big Black Wholewheat Blueberry Pancake Cook Off between Al R. and Al S. (which I would have won except for sabotage from Al R., says Al S.). We set out for a leisurely paddle to our next campsite, Fox Brook. The sun is out, but we have a cool wind from the North. By this time we have stopped listening to Bob's weather predictions and take it as it comes. The sun feels so warm that I put on my bathing suit, but my optimism is greeted by much cynicism by the rest. Bob decides to shave thus shaming Al R. and Al S. into shaving too. However, Al R. insist that there is no fuel allocation for heating water, so amidst anguished looks and many cries, they shave their faces clean in cold water. For dinner we have a bottle of wine with ham, potatoes, and beets. After dinner, I decide to cook a blueberry bannock in our dutch oven. It goes on top of the stove with some coals on top so the bannock cooks evenly without being flipped. Al S. spills the coals each time he looks to see it it's done for a grand total of 3 spills. My invective grows worse with each spill. However, the bannock turns out fine.

The next morning we set out with mixed feelings; we are all sorry that it is our last day on the river, but this is overshadowed by the closeness of Big Rapids. We spy 3 deer not much larger than dogs on the riverbank. They watch us until we get too close for comfort then they scamper up the ridge in a nearly vertical climb.

For first timers on the river, the anxiety rises with each paddle stoke that brings, us closer to the rapids. Having been told of the monstrous waves and holes that were there in the year of the big rains (1979), we are truly apprehensive. Upon reaching the rapids, we decide to stay to the far left until we can see what this water level offers. We eddy out after the first half, and Al and I lead for the second half. Feeling more confident because of the closeness of the road and the non-threatening water level, we go down the middle and successfully ride out some 3'-4' waves. It's the biggest water Al and I have been through in a loaded canoe, and the sun and the blueness of the water make for an exhilarating run. Brenda and Brian, after watching us disappear behind a big wave, find their own route where the turbulence is less. The four of us stay in an eddy watching Al R. and Bob complete the run. Much to our edification, they give us a demonstration of how to run these waves with a canoe full of water. When they pull into the eddy, they have about an inch of freeboard.

The paddle from Big Rapids to Pelletier's seems unbearably slow except for the few rapids we encounter. In Golden Rapids we surf a wave and the bow momentarily disappears in the trough. We pull into Pelletier's in the afternoon and that night we have a delicious meal in St. Francis.

The next day we drive back up to run Big Rapids with float bags in our unloaded canoes. We discover the water level has dropped about 6 overnight. This level allows us to go back and forth across the entire rapids, and we seek out the largest waves to play in. After our second run, we decide to call it quits and head for home. During the course of the trip, we all came to greatly appreciate the extent of Al R.s organization and enthusiasm.

We found the St. John to be a beautiful river and a very rewarding trip. We all fervently hope that the proposed DickeyLincoln Dam will not be built.

Rosie Stirt

West River: May 2-3, 1981

Leader: Ray Gonda
Participants: Peter Alden, Dick Allen, Janet Brunet, Len Carpenter, Bob Conquest, Cindy Hennard, Fred Jordan, Sheri and Rich Larsen, Mary Lavigne, Larry Thomson, Howard Hanson, others (4 open canoes, 3 kayaks, 1 C-1, 1 C-2, assorted others)

The West River, originating in the town of Weston flowing southeast to Brattleboro where it empties into the Connecticut River, provides about 40-50 miles of canoeable water.

Two tributaries, Wardsboro Brook and the Winhall River provide excellent early season closed boat runs. With sufficient water, the West is one of the most enjoyable and exciting open canoeing rivers in Vermont. From the town of Jamaica to Brattleboro, the river's flow is controlled by several dams, the one of importance here being Ball Mt. Dam in Jamaica.

Although there is little known about releases, 2 releases yearly are generally publicized by organizations such as the Appalachian Mountain Club. One release in October and again in May has, for a small group of cruisers, become a semi-annual mecca. Thus the origin of this excursion.

Arrangements for several lean-tos (approximately $1.50 per person per night) were made for Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. Having excellent toilet facilities with hot/cold water, mirrors, shower, ample parking space, picnic tables, and grilled fireplaces; the campground provided an ideal base of operations. Trip participants arrived and left on different days, the first arriving Friday, the last on Sunday. The sections run were: Lower stretch (5 miles, 2-2+) Salmon Hole to Wardsboro Brook, an easy run with some good stuff in it. Upper Stretch (2 miles, 3-3+) Ball Mountain Dam to Salmon Hole, continuous rapids for the adventurous, shuttle service run by the state. Saturday: cool/overcast/occasional light rain, lower stretch 2 runs, upper stretch one run/one swim. Sunday: clear, warm, and pleasant, lower stretch 1 run/3 swims, upper stretch 2 runs/l swim. The dam release was at 1500 c.f.s. both days.

The weekend's activities were considerably varied due to the variety of runs and to the convenience of having a nearby base of operations. For those who didn't paddle or didn't paddle all runs, entertainment was an easy walk away at the Dumplings where kayaks and canoes played and paraded by in endless succession, and featuring closed boats doing enders with occasional pirouettes.

Perhaps inspired by that sight, Peter and Len paddled into a hole to surf in the Explorer to find it to be swampable, yet floatable and still paddleable. An interesting sight! Amidst the clatter of shouts of encouragement from bankside, Peter in the bow with Len in the stern sank to the waist, bobbed downstream out of the hole and deftly paddled out of the swift current to shore with little in sight from the waist level down including the boat.

Not to be outdone, Howard and Charlie, amidst further jeering and shouting from shore, snug in their unswampable C-2 demonstrated the inherent advantages in having a decked boat (except for the flip and subsequent swim). It was a great hole, paddle in-swim out.

Hats off to Rich - a budding soloist - for his 2 successful runs on the upper stretch in his red Blue Hole Canoe. This feat brings him closer to the rank of expert.

Hats across the breasts for Ray who successfully (successfully meaning mostly upright-boat control not implied) soloed 100 yards of the upper stretch, then successfully swam the next 300 yards with Perception Sage C-1 in tow and paddle in hand (with much help from a Boston AMC kayaker) to complete the first 2 stages of his paddle/swim/hike triathalon. Ray vows to come back another day to conquer. Could it have been masochistic curiosity that mislead Fred to challenge the white Sage? In any case, Fred's successful 30 ft. solo with an immediate wet arrest and exit leaves the Sage yet unconquered. Who's next? Rich? Larry? Peter? Len?

Apart from the pounding Ray received on the rocks, the only casualty was Janet who took a nasty bump on the cheekbone when rolling up on the last drop of the lower stretch.

It was a blissful weekend with weather touched by the godess of spring, many challenges issued from the gods of the river, good food from the camp grills; and ending with a few more acquired West River devotees looking forward to the October mecca.

And a good time was had by all.

Ray Gonda

New York Rivers : May 16-17, 1981

Leader: Fred Jordan
Participants: Peter Alden, Janet Brunet, Len Carpenter, Rich Larsen, George McIntosh, Doug McIntosh, Margaret Zeller, Charlie Ryan, and much later Dick Allen

We met at Wesson's Diner in South Burlington, where Peter Alden mentioned the Sacandaga River and all thought it would be a great idea. After a 3-hour trip, we arrived at the Sacandaga campsite in the town of Wells. We left a car there and headed for the put in, a 10+ mile trip.

We launched on the west branch at a white house (just a chimney stands now) in very easy water, Class 1. Soon the pace picked up a little and went through a cluster of boulders. From there the river is a continuous Class 2 (at low water, North Creek gauge of 4.7). Another cluster of boulders was challenged at Jimmy Creek. Just preceding this is an old bridge (?) on the river bed which tends to accelerate you into Class 3 water (no big deal) . We continued for several more miles to Black Bridge (painted silver) and a short Class 3 play area.

Just before you get to the campsite, the west branch joins the east branch of the Sacandaga. The trip takes 3-4 hours and it is really quite wild. We then made a decision not to do the lower Hudson, but to run the west branch of the Sacandaga on Sunday. Peter Alden, Rich Larsen, and Charlie Ryan left for Burlington while Len Carpenter decided to stay with us.

We camped at the White House in an open clearing with fireplaces.

In the morning, I was low on gas and at Len Carpenter's insistence that a car would run on Coleman Fuel; I was able to get to a station. Dick Allen joined us and a good run was had by all down a sparkling river under a bright sky.

Fred Jordan

Hudson River Overnight: May 23-24, 1981

Leader: Peter Alden
Participants: Len Carpenter, Ray Gonda (1 open canoe, 1 C-1)

The upper Hudson from Newcomb to North River is the most outstanding stretch of river I have ever paddled. The first 10 miles below Newcomb is very much like the 60 or 70 odd miles of the interior of Algonquin Park, Ontario, along the Nipissing River. Enhancing this, as though this weren't of sufficient beauty, are excellent views of the distant high peaks region when looking back up river. The river and the surrounding land forming a perfect framing for the peaks. The water is mostly flat with a few exciting chutes to run--a photographers dreamland. The river is remote with an exception being what appears to be a lumber camp near the confluence of the Goodnow River with cottages and metal rowboats scattered about.

Wildlife abounds-canvasback and black ducks, ducklings scurrying from underfoot, kingfishers, several varieties as of yet unidentified water birds, signs of beavers, deer, raccoons, coyotes, muskrats being plentiful. The day was spent lazing downriver observing the wonders of spring, occasionally chasing fish or frogs, and simply basking in the great outdoors.

By the end of the afternoon, the river began to quicken which ever so gradually focused our attention from the laid-back section of river behind us to what was to come. By the time we reached the Cedar River, the increased tempo of our maneuvering strokes and thence our pulse rate gave clue to our primal instinct being aroused-to the challenge of the Hudson Gorge-not many miles ahead. Memories flashed back to me of previous exhausting bouts with the giant to come, uneasy with the wonder if it would swallow me this time.

After a campfire dinner of Polish Kielbasa roasted on a sharpened, fire hardened bough, beef stew, bagels, and wine, potluck style, at our overnight site below the Indian River Junction; an evening of relaxation was enjoined by hiking deer trails along the river's edge to scout the rapids downriver. Nightfall found us lazing on the riverbank ledge that fronted our campsite watching the stars appear, sharing idle thoughts until sleep could no longer be kept waiting.

The next day found us in the highest of spirits, renewed, and eager to meet the challenge of the rapids to come; Lennie in the C-1, Peter and I in the Explorer.

The next 8 or so miles of rapids is referred to by paddlers as the Hudson Gorge. It is paddled by open and closed boats, private and commercial rafts. Water releases are frequently scheduled through the town of Indian Lake from Lake Abnakee on the Indian River. Depending on the tremendous variation in water levels with the seasons, this river offers a challenge for any class of paddler. Normally too high at 4.8 for open boats and 7 for closed boats, it has been run at 14 ft. in a huge raft.

This was the first time Peter and I had paddled together and understandably I felt some apprehension. I knew Peter was competent and aggressive, but teamwork was yet something else. After carefully scouting staircase rapids, the most severe drop, and entering into much discussion over strategy and technique, we agreed on the route and tactics to be used. It worked and we were buoyed by our success.

After several more drops and discussions of tactics, we began to get the feel of each other's style. Peter is a very aggressive bow person with a strong sense of leadership in that position. That could have potentially conflicted with the same qualities I exhibit in the stern. It didn't. When eating lunch, just below Big Nasty a raucous series of drops full of ledges and rocks, a small caravan of rafts, kayaks, and C-1's bobbed into view signaling that the awaited water release bubble was upon us. The remainder of the rapids were run with war hoops, yahoos, occasional waving of paddles exuberantly overhead, and with complete boat control and in the heaviest stuff in sight. Through all this clatter, Lennie followed along, occasionally getting ahead, succeeding as a novice in the C1.

It is said that the Hudson Gorge area is being much eyed by the Army Corp. of Engineers. There are those who would like to see it declared National Wild and Scenic River. It certainly meets the criteria to be one. We drank the river water throughout the trip. I would personally like to repeat this trip every year that I am able to. I also plan to take multi-day fishing trips there - by boat and foot. What one does not see and enjoy one will likely not miss if it no longer exists. I encourage all of you to try the gorge - use it, tell your friends of its beauty. An awareness of this superb valley may save it for ourselves as well as future generations.

An excellent split trip could be accomplished by starting at Newcomb, camping above Indian River with the less experienced of the party exiting the next morning at Indian River to hike to awaiting cars. The more adventuresome could run the gorge to be met by the others at North River 4 or 5 hours later.

Ray Gonda

Schroon River : May 31, 1981

Leader: Janet Brunet
Participants: Dick Allen, Len Carpenter, Sheri and Rich Larsen, Ray Gonda, Mary Lavigne, Al Roberts, Alison Hill, Brian Kooiker, Brenda Clarkson (6 open canoes, 2 kayaks)

What a discovery. A darling of a river - a 5-mile stretch of water that cruisers have traditionally passed on their way to bigger names like the Sacandaga or the Hudson. Access is excellent at both the put in and the take out, the shuttle is straightforward and the river was a straight class 2. At higher levels, it would probably rate higher-perhaps class 3, short of overflowing its banks. The run was done twice. There was ample opportunity to play and there was some nice stuff with collecting pools at the end of most rapids. Enough time was left to explore the lower river by car and to do a leisurely scenic route with exploratory side trips on the return to Burlington. Watch for this to become a regular on club trips.

Ray Gonda

Summer Trips Schedule

Date Trip Leader Phone
June 28 Barton River to So. Bay of L. Memphremagog (flatwater and wetlands) Brian Kooiker 456-7047
July 12 Schroon River Dick Allen 878-3853
July 19 Regatta/Picnic at Sandbar Al Stirt 933-2125
August 15-16 Dead River Overnight Al Roberts 878-3187
August 22-23 Androscoggin Overnight Janet Brunet 863-1509
August 29-30 Green River Reservoir Overnight Al & Rosie Stirt 933-2125
September 5-7 St. Regis Canoe Area Overnight George McIntosh 879-1488
September 19-20 Androscoggin Overnight Fred Jordan 233-3935
September 27 Mississquoi Wildlife Refuge Al Stirt 933-2125
October (1st or 2nd weekend) West River Dam Release

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