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Trip Reports

Find trips reports from 2001 and prior in the Bow & Stern Archive
All: by date By Title: A-Z By Author: A-Z Last 12 Months 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

Past 12 Months...

Mascoma River - from Mascoma Lake Saturday Apr 7, 2018
Green River Release Fall 2017 Saturday Nov 18, 2017
Missisquoi #1 Saturday Sep 9, 2017
Ottawa River Friday-Monday Sep 1-4, 2017
Running late in Quebec Saturday-Sunday Aug 12-13, 2017
Class II Clinic Saturday-Sunday Jul 15-16, 2017
VPC Novice Clinic 2017 Saturday-Sunday Jun 10-11, 2017
NBW with no one to share it with Tuesday Jun 6, 2017
Mill Brook Tuesday May 2, 2017
Saranac River to Redford (#1) Saturday Apr 29, 2017
Upper Pemi Saturday Apr 29, 2017
Mill Brook, Brownsville to Windsor Thursday Apr 27, 2017

Past 12 Months...

Mascoma River - from Mascoma Lake
Saturday Apr 7, 2018
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low
Author: Tony Shaw

I put an early April Mascoma River trip on the VPC spring schedule hoping for a 70 degree day. Instead we got barely more than half that, topping out at just 40 degrees. The sun shone brightly all day, which helped a great deal, and the wet snow that had fallen overnight clung to the trees prettily during our first run. The rail trail that parallels the river and crosses it several times was covered with enough snow that a x-c ski shuttle would have been possible, though we weren't prepared for that. The Mascoma here is maybe 25 feet wide on average - free of river-wide strainers (today). There were 4 kayakers for each of our 2 runs (Chris F., John, Sarah, and Tony in the AM, with Chris W. subbing in for Sarah in the PM). The state of NH funds the real-time river gauge (de-funded years ago by the USGS) which looked plenty fluid online throughout the week. But then mysteriously Saturday morning the dam operator lowered the flow from 700+ CFS to approximately 475 CFS - still fluid but rather tame from start to finish. The paddle through the woods is attractive and we enjoyed the many read-and-run II-III rapids, the most technical of which is the final one - Excelsior. Be sure to scout the low head dam (a mandatory portage) from the take-out, whether you choose to park on river right in the posted "lot" near the rail-trail bridge or on river left in the swimming pool parking lot a couple hundred yards downstream. Dartmouth holds a slalom race on this stretch of the Mascoma each April - the same weekend as the Wells River Rumble.

White River Watershed Not So Micros
Friday Mar 30, 2018
Organizer: NOAH
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Noah Pollock

With spring finally starting to emerge from the snow drifts, Anders and I made a plan for some Friday afternoon paddling. With the demands of law school, Ander's paddling is basically limited to the White River watershed on most days, so we chose two rarely run runs - the West Branch of the Tweed and Locust Creek. Mike McDonnell had given me beta and Anders was eager for some obscure boat bashing paddling. We drove to Pittsburg, and left a car at the bridge over the West Branch of the Tweed - the White River Partnership and FEMA had conveniently purchased and removed a house here, and its a great public access point now. The water level looked great! We drove east until the road ended at a snowmobile trail, and then proceeded to drive a little further, Anders testing his 4x4 truck capabilities on the snow covered road. Eventually we stopped and walking our boats through the woods, following  the sound of the river. Behold, there is was! For good measure we hiked upstream, putting in above a snowmobile bridge. The river here is like a mini Patterson - clear, bouldery water, ledgy rock walls, fun little drops. Good stuff. After the obligatory sneak around a strainer we carried on for ~5 miles? There are several distinct drops in this section, which is great for a micro, including a set of ledges right above and below a bridge. What a fun river!

Next stop, Locust Creek, which is visible on Rt 107 between Bethel and Stockbridge near Rt 12. We parked at the gas station to scout the drop below the bridge. Left side looked chocked with wood, but right side was clear, first time in a couple years. Leaving a car here we proceeded to drive west toward Barnard. Gradually the river became smaller and smaller, so before we ran out of water we stopped at a side bridge and set off downstream. The river here was mostly quickwater with occasional Class II drops, made more challenging by a badly leaking boat on my end. Soon we came to a more intense rapid with a horizon line beneath a side bridge, and pulled over to scout. The river here descended a jumble of boulders and through a narrow slot - probably only 5' wide. Class IV+ with pinning potential? We elected to portage and seal launched into the mini gorge. Carrying on to Rt 107, we descended the final drop, which was bigger and more fun then it looked from above. Anders rolled twice here, more times then his entire Grand Canyon trip the week prior. We took out by an old road above the confluence and walked back to the gas station, happy to have explored two, close to home, not so micro creeks!

Green River Release Fall 2017
Saturday Nov 18, 2017
Organizer: MWL
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

Is it the last or not.  That always seems to be the question when Morrisville Water and Light give the boating community a release out of the Green River Reservoir.  With ongoing disputes between State Agencies, the power company and boating community over a water quality certificate, there is no telling if there will ever be another release or if the dam/reservoir will even exist in a few years.


The above is a lot of pontification though and on 11/18 MWL opened up one of their tubes at the Green River Reservoir and put its full flow at the turbine's full generation into the river bed for whitewater enthusiasts to enjoy.  The water was flowing by 10am and as I was driving away from the river as the last one up at the put in gathering my gear, there was still flow to boat in the river at 3:30. 


I noticed plates from Maine, NH, CT, MA, NY and QC in addition to a bunch of the local crowd at the river.  I also saw a ton of happy faces to be on the water and be on the water with friends from the Northeast.  Expectations were set for a low water release and group after group hopped on the river for a run.


My first run of the day I had the pleasure of paddling with Brad C, Mainer and Phillip Williams.  This was Phillip's first time on the Green and he even shuffled around his work schedule to get on it.  We were the last to put on for Lap 1.  I was in no rush and wanted to just feel out the river.  Odd, I know, this is somewhere around the 45th time I've run this river.  However, only have been in my boats 8 times in 2017.  So Phillip, Mike and I put in below Moonshine for a mellower start to our day.


Right off we were all bopping through the squeeze point and working our way through the first several early rapids to the flats.  The river was at a forgiving and easy flow.  The rocks were less so.  Its amazing what 2 inches on the river gauge will do to that river.  2'3" is heinous, 2'5" is considerably more fluid and 2'7" changes the river to a friendly non-boat braking run.  We were in the realm of 2'3" to 2'5" and there was a lot of rock bashing early on.


Down to Humble Pie I could feel my gut tighten and mouth go dry.  I've run this waterfall so many damn times and have had some gross swims in it.  Today was not a day to swim, it was also not a day to try to pull off a flawless combat roll with a bunch of layers under my drysuit.  A flip would  be a PIA for sure, so I needed to be sure I was on line and had that boof stroke ready a the lip.  Off I went and through the entry rapid.  I was off on my strokes and had to stutter to get my boof stroke in where I needed it.  I nailed it and didn't even get wet above my chest.  I guess after enough runs I am starting to finally get it dialed.....MAYBE.


he rest of lap one went with out incident other than I completely broke the bottom of my boat out on the last rapid.  Serves me right for charging hard for the big boof on River right.  I got my boof "good".  But that came at the price of a HUGE smashed in hull and a funky crack that would need welded later.


We wrapped up and I probably had 20 gallons of water in the boat.  Alot of folks were done and headed home.  I was too.  But for some reason I brought a second boat.  The usual crew (Vickers, Schott, Mainer, Murphy and Crannell )was aiming at a second lap and poked at me to join them.  It didn't really take a whole lot of convincing and before I knew it I was filling float bags in my SCUD.  UGH, nothing like paddling a toaster down the river.  Although the boat is more or less built for low volume abusive runs like the Green.  It boofs just by thinking the word "boof" and can sneak in and out of eddys  the size of your bathroom sink.


Lap two - it was cold and we were moving fast.  I ran Moonshine right off - love that line and boof!!!  Everthing else went cleanly early in the run.  Two of the group had pretty major cracks in their boats so they were springing through rapids and then dumping water.  That made it easy for me to keep up in the SCUD.  Mainer kept an eye on me though, knowing I'd goof up somewhere.  I did in the double drop above Lumber Yard.  That rapid at one tube is as hard as any rapid on the river.  At 2 tubes it is a nice green tongue top to bottom.


Lumber yard was a walk due to low water and a tree in the line.  The last few rapids including PITON all were a blast in the SCUD and we wrapped up pretty quickly.  It was what may have been the last day in a boat of the season for me, so I was grateful to get that second lap in.  I think all that were on the river that day were happy that we saw a release for the end of the year.


Off to the local watering hole at Lost Nation...


Thank you MWL and thank you Green River.  See you in 2018

Missisquoi #1
Saturday Sep 9, 2017
Organizer: Broken turbine
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Mike M

Rain in early September brought levels back up and just a week after Beaverfest I was thinking about a Missisquoi release.  As it turned out, Enel had to take a turbine off-line for repair, dumping an extra 800 cfs into the river and making for a very fun Saturday.


We had a modest level of around 1000 cfs... lowish but still fun.  Per standard Missisquoi protocol, we did laps as a big group (numbering at least 10 people), and were pleasantly surprised to see a couple Quebec friends show up too.  I don't remember how many laps we did... I think four as a group then Noah and I finished up with two more.


Most excitingly, I found a great new line through bottom of the S-Turn rapid that is really quite unique and amusing... in a good way!  Don't be fooled by the run only being a mile long... there is a lot to do here.

Ottawa River
Friday-Monday Sep 1-4, 2017
Organizer: JimP
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium
Author: JimP

Seventeen hearty soles headed nord to the Ottawa whitewater region for a weekend of laughter, spills and chills.  The Ottawa never disappoints.

Well, we have always wanted to come earlier in the year to catch the Ottawa at a higher level than our normal zero feet or below.  This year the river gods helped us out and gave us a Labor Day weekend level of around 7 feet!  So, this meant a couple of things.  New lines on the Middle Channel (Little Trickle & Angel’s Kiss) and no run down the Main Channel.  On the positive side of the ledger, it was a pretty quiet river in terms of number of paddlers.  Most of the big play features (Baby Face, Garberator and Pushbutton) were underwater at these levels and this kept many boaters away.


Friday September 1

For most it was a travel day.  Some came after work, some spent the whole day traveling.  The Cheese Heads had already been in camp for a week!  I guess if you are going to drive that far, you should make the most of it!

Sarah and Brock drove directly to the put in for a burner Middle run.  When they encountered the higher level, they ran cautiously and walked around a few unknowns rather than take time for scouting (it was getting late in the day).  All in all, a successful first run.


Saturday, September 2

River level: 6.75 feet

The gangs all here!  The plan was to open with a Middle Channel run as we normally do.  After listening to harrowing stories from the Cheese Heads about the Main, we were reconsidering if a Main Channel run would be in our afternoon plans.  Didn’t really matter because with all the scouting we needed to do and all the play that had to be done, we didn’t get off the river until 4pm!

Saturday was our only sunny day.  It struggled to reach 70 degrees but it was a nice day.  The remainder of the weekend was intermittent showers and temps that stayed in the 50’s.  There were a few full dry suits sported by members of the group!  The river temperature was balmy as always.


Sunday, September 3

River level: 6.70 feet

The group again voted for a Middle Channel run.  Much less scouting but still plenty of play at the various locations – Corner Wave, (really baby) Baby Face, Angel’s Kiss, Butterfly and Little No Name.  At the end the Middle Channel, group tried to determine a walking path to the Coliseum viewing stand on the Main Channel.  With that resulting failure, we ended up paddling upstream to Black’s Rapid and walked along the shore to the platform.  For our efforts, we were treated to a high water Coli viewing!  Big Kahuna was in full form and very hungry.  We watched about a dozen raft attempt the run with about a 60% success rate.  At the bottom of Coli there were a couple of motorized rafts to pick up casualties before they flushed over Dog Leg. 

A right-down-the-middle run would have you hitting the huge Kahuna hole.  Surviving that would allow you to charge through multiple other holes, exploding waves and swirlies that eat kayaks for lunch.  There was a very doable far right sneak for those not wanting to get their heads ripped off.

There were rumors of our traditional Sunday Night Tequila Night happening.  And given there were many empty tequila bottles on Monday morning, I must believe that would be true.  But I don’t remember any of it.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


Monday, September 4

River level: 6.60 feet

Morning camp was a bit chaotic as some wanted to get going (long drive) and others were just waking up.  But seven of us got on the river by 9:30.  Maybe it was three days of paddling, maybe it was the cold weather, maybe it was the pushier water, just maybe it was the tequila, but we had five swimmers out of our group of seven.  Yikes!  Plus an island paddle extraction that included two sets of ropes, a river fording and a rope return swim.  That was an event!

Back to camp by 12:30 to finish the packing, say our goodbyes and hit the long road home.

Until next year!


Running late in Quebec
Saturday-Sunday Aug 12-13, 2017
Organizer: Scattered thunderstorms
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Mike M

My normal summer paddling scheme is to spend every weekend (and a couple weekdays) in Quebec.  That never happens, but some summers I've still done pretty well.  This year a new job, moving and general life stuff had me occupied, and by the time I had a free weekend in July it looked like the water was gone - depressingly early.  A good shot of rain in early August fixed that and on the evening of Friday the 11th five New Englanders were headed north hoping to snag one last bit of summertime Quebec whitewater.  


On Saturday we did the Taureau.  It was at a lowish level (-7"), what felt like 400 on the New Haven.  The section down to the Launiere was a little bumpy but mostly fluid if you slowed down and picked clean lines, and all the main drops were great.  Below the Launiere things juiced up a little and it felt like good, classic Quebec whitewater.  Good fun but the low water definitely makes the lines tighter and opens up some real pinning hazards.


Still, the setting was unchanged from last year, or last century or last millenia, especially the deep canyons, massive wilderness and the thick black boreal forest that completely blocks out the outside world and leaves you with nothing but a river to paddle.  The whitewater here is definitely good, but the setting is what will make me go back for as long as I can.  


On Sunday we did the Valin.  This is another hour-plus north of the Taureau.  It always has water, even during a drought, and was at a good low-side-of-medium, about 20 cms or 700 cfs.  The first half is like the Bottom Moose with big bedrock rapids and a bit of flatwater, plus one fantastic 25-footer (class III).  Then there is a portage and then a great canyon with steep whitewater the rest of the way.  This lower section is about as good as it gets and ends in a huge, half-mile-long boulder garden.  It's not difficult but it's big - take a big one from the Big Branch and scale it up by three - and you'll have the last half-mile of the Valin.  


This in turn dumps you onto the Saguenay fjord, where we looked in vain for whales but settled for (much better) poutine.  Still haven't found tourtiere there yet - I think you have to go farther north up towards the Mistassibi, which we should do next year!


Here's to many more great weekends of Quebec paddling.

Stony Brook - Dave's Back Yard Babe
Monday Jul 17, 2017
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Ryan

Dog river goes from 140 cfs to 2000 cfs.  Grab boat and get there....  E'nuff said!


Warm water, good company, only two strainers, low consequences, miles of rapids and fun drops....  VT micro creeking at its finest.


More please!!!!

Class II Clinic
Saturday-Sunday Jul 15-16, 2017
Organizer: John Atherton
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium
Author: Paul Carlile

The 2017 Class II clinic was held July 15-16 on the Fife Brook section of the Deerfield in Mass.  We had a small group of actual students with only 3 paddlers needing much instruction. In total we had a group of 9. We had a 2 beautiful days of paddling with only a little bit of rain Saturday evening.  We camped at Woodford State Park in Vermont.

VPC Novice Clinic 2017
Saturday-Sunday Jun 10-11, 2017
Organizer: John Atherton
Difficulty: novice WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Paul Carlile

This year's novice clinic was a great time for everyone involved. We were fortunate to have good water levels, great weather, a very strong group of students, and as always great instructors and helpers.

Saturday started as usual with at the Waterbury reservoir. We flew through the flat water portion since everyone involved had a lot of flat water kayaking experience and many had been on moving water. As they have for many years, Eric Bishop and Barbara Frankowski set up lunch for us where we did the moving water / safety talk . We moved to the Middle Mad for the afternoon where we had a low but fluid level of 300cfs - definitely enough water for first day novice clinic. We had a couple of close calls but ultimately no swims which is a first for me with Novice Clinic.

Since we had such a strong group with a successful Saturday run we decided to do the Lower Mad at 250 cfs for the Sunday portion. Everyone had great runs down the first 2 rapids and since it was hot day we had the opportunity to do swim and rope rescue practice at the last drop above 100B. When we got to Horseshoe we offered the more advanced students to put into the pool on the left side and run that drop. To our surprise, everyone ended up running it with only 1 swim with a quick rescue. We proceeded to the take out on the Winooski where Barb and Eric once again met us with lunch.

A few people needed to peel out but several of us took a second run. A fine finish to a great weekend.

NBW with no one to share it with
Tuesday Jun 6, 2017
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium high
Author: Ryan

On my way home from work site visits up in Calais, the skies opened up and it rained like no body's business for 2 hours.  By the time it had ended nothing but the headwater streams were barely budging.  I knew that in about an hour all local runs were going to be in the boatable range.  Sending out a flurry of emails and texts to get folks to join me, I ultimately headed out by myself as is par for the course when you live on the east side of the Green Mountains.  It was about 5:30 and we had ample day light so I knew I was in no hurry to get down the river.....what river did I want to ply this evening.  Skies were breaking, a rainbow had popped out and it was 75 degrees.  Dumb question - go straight to the NBW, Pass go and don't even wait to collect $200...


As I drove up Route 12 the levels still looked low down around the village of Worcester, but boatable.  Once up close to the Elmore line, the water pouring off of the rocks was pretty heavy and I knew that levels would rise while I was on the river.  I took my time getting suited up and on the river.  Once on the river I noticed right away that the levels were stout and likely higher than I had ever run the river solo. 


Working my way down to Broken Falls the warm up ledges were fun and I was trying to get my head dialed in to what would be a pretty committing solo run.  Broken falls was surging and the lines were undefined, but clean and padded.  I just ran into it and kept on a right brace to the lip with a late boof.  OK - I was skipping across the pool at the bottom and feeling as right as rain.  Here we go.


The three sisters were up next and disappoint.  The turtle boof was huge and fluffy and the flair was clean and deep.  The third sister was fine and dandy as well and lead into the narrows which had a bunch of holes through it that aren't usually there.  All good.


Fine Line - the first big vertical drops on the river was pushing pretty good and I decided to eddy out at the lip, great for getting a look not so great for setting up a fun line.  All looked clean and I dropped into the trough on river right.  That set me up for a huge auto boof.  For a change I didn't rocket into the wall and it went well.  Off to Manky Mank.  I ran left lines on both of them and they were fairly padded out with out the usually crunch and smash that usually accompanies that rapid.


OK - Big Bouncy.  I walked up and down it looking at the lines and how much the water was pushing.  I seriously considered walking it a number of times because the level was high, but logically looking that the moves, I knew if I focused and made correct strokes I'd clean it and avoid the nightmare of the portage.  I also thought of running it last fall on my head and how lucky I was not to get injured.  There is a small window to hit at the lip that sets you up for the final 20 feet and if you miss it you are going to get hosed.  Getting to that window means cleanly navigating two 5 foot ledges with holes and a slide into a cross current before stroking hard to get left off of the prow and the final portion of BB.  The ledges were fine and I actually hit them pretty hard to boof over the holes.  The slide I was a little too far right and went deep but was able to crank my self left and hit the prow cleanly and make the bottom in fine shape.  WHEW and WOO HOO!


On down to Flat Falls.  At this level it is a fun and awesome boof off left center.  8 feet of airborne into fluff.  Then around the bend on Sliding board (Stay Left!!!!) and eddy out and get a look at Double Drop...  The whole sequence was clean and man was it pumping!  Uh - the pillow fight was oh so good!  Thinking about this rapid may need a rename.  How may frigging named "Double Drops" are there on rivers around here.  From now on I am officially calling Double Drop "Pillow Fight"!


Next up - Cave Falls.  What an amazing rapid this is.  Maybe the most picturesque on the river.  The entry offers up to options.  The committing boof over the cave and hole or the slide on river right.  Both land you in a mini chasm that you need to build up some speed to bust our of the hole at the bottom.  AS big and fluffy as it has ever been and the slide to boof into the chasm was lubed up and super smooth.  The 4 foot drop just beyond the exit hole was fun and the lip was clean.



The Last Drop - Visually the most committing with a 50 foot slide to a 12 foot lip.  The drop is river wide and a bad line could mean a nasty piton at the bottom of the drop.  My favorite line on river left has been closed out for 3 years with a huge tree and gnarly stump in it.  Down the gut and get a huge stroke to clear the bottom ledge.  On a high from just running the entire river on a beautiful night, I made the most of the remaining light and get back in the river above the drop and made a few strokes and envisioned the moves needed to get on the correct stream down the slide to hit my boof.  Off I went, slid into the pillow and then let the current take me down the slide toward the lip, a hard reach for my toes, grab of the lip with the paddle blade and a vertical tug and pull knees to my ears.  I was mid air wheelie'ng off the lip and on my way to a soft splash down in the pool



A clean run and a beautiful sky to hike back up Route 12 by myself in the dark.  Not a single car passed me in either direction giving me the walk to soak in the experience, night and life.  Man "it" can be so good some times!
Mill Brook
Tuesday May 2, 2017
Organizer: Jamie
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Jamie Dolan

A few years back I had the chance to paddle the upper part of this creek. While a good time, particularly the scenery, it was fairly tame with a fair share of portaging over strainers.  We stopped that evening when night fell and had a bit of a hike back to the cars.  Today’s run would be a bit different but some of the same. Will said he had run this section tons while in college and had a fairly good idea of the lines (even after college parties and 10 or so years). Turns out, he did remember the lines pretty well.  From the take out at Rte 2, the level looked to be low-boatable.  And it was low boatable.  A nice level for an introductory run. We started out, following Dick Cheney’s lead  to an undisclosed location, about 1 ½  miles up Tarbox Road. It was a pull off on UVM land that had a path leading to 10 minute walk to the creek.  We put in just after the first, of  what would prove a half dozen or so blow downs.  For the first 10 minutes of paddling it was more of bog with a swift moving stream through it.  And blow downs.  We came to the first legitimate rapid /  drop, an easy III but midway down we had to portage over a strainer.  We quickly came up to the next drop and hey another blow down.  This one was potentially doable but neither of us felt like this might be the best of ideas.  From there down we pretty much only got out of the boat to scout.  The next drop had a nice flake and small pool to drop into Will was very clear to stay center or left…yup, I ended up right. But no big deal.  The wall was forgiving (Yeah).  We quickly came up to the old dam, which we scouted.  This IV drop is followed by boggie II.  IN the middle of the boggie II there was another blow down.  We had plenty of time to get out and avoid the blow down. As it was low, it was hard to get up speed to get a good boof off the rooster tail on the dam. But once again, it was forgiving.  As we went along there was plenty of blow downs which were manageable as they were in slack water where you could find alternatives (which generally involved pushing off with your hands).  The remnants of Irene were still highly visible with at least two massive landslides still evident.  The next to last drop was probably the most fun.   A fairly clean 8-10 ft water fall into a nice pool.  The last drop was a bit manky but doable even at low water.  You kind of drop onto a ledge (well almost) nose first.  There was enough water that we both managed to sort of slide, without damage, pretty much over it.  After that we had a short paddle to the takeout and then we were done! Not a river that runs much but one I would definitely get back on given the opportunity.  I should note that historically, some of the landowners were not too pleased with boaters about.  We did not meet any and so can not comment.

Saranac River to Redford (#1)
Saturday Apr 29, 2017
Organizer: Chris Weed
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Chris Weed

With the Adirondack snowmelt largely over, we did a first run of the season on this section of the Saranac at a medium to medium low level. A weather transition was under way as we traveled to Redford late on Saturday morning. By the time we reached the takeout at about 1:00 pm, it was sunny, windy, and warm (~72 F).

With 7 paddlers the logistics and shuttle took a while. In the middle of the process Max arrived at the put-in on Casey Road from an unexpected direction at just the right time, having traveled through New York from well to the south of Burlington. We ended up together on the riverbank at the end of the 150 yard put-in trail at about 3:00 pm.

4 of the 7 participants were new to the run (excluding Chris W., John, and Tony), and the level was perfect for it. As usual, things got really interesting at Tefft Pond Falls. At levels above 5.5 feet this had always been considered a mandatory portage, but Max and Noel scouted it and Max decided to run it left of center. He did it without mishap, reproducing Jamie Dolan's 4/17/2016 run of the falls, which is the only previous run I'm aware of.

A variety of lines were chosen on the big staircase rapid that comes up a few hundred yards downstream of the falls. There was one roll and one swim, the latter with a quick recovery. At 4.9 feet this succession of drops is much less intimidating than at 5.75 feet or above.

After that we had an extended period of enjoyable class 2/3 boogie water paddling, until we came to the last really significant drop, where the river splits around a small island (big enough to support a few small trees). Chris W. chose to just boat scout and run it, having done it 4 times since 2011. That wasn't the most prudent decision, with several others in the group unfamiliar with the drop. Tony brought some sobriety to the proceedings, and guided the shore scouting for Ken and Chris F., while Max, Noel, and John followed Chris W.'s lead. All ran it successfully, and Chris F. even punched the final hole against the right bank that we customarily avoid.

We were completing the final shuttle at dinnertime, with dusk not too far off. It's good to start this run by 2:00 pm if possible, even well after the switch to Daylight Savings Time.

It was a great day. As I write this I'm hoping for a reprise on Saturday, May 27, with warmer water and leaves on the trees. We'll need rain for that, and it looks like we might get it.

Upper Pemi
Saturday Apr 29, 2017
Organizer: Ryan M
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium low
Author: Ryan McCall

Lots of snow was still left up high in the Whites and a sunny warm Saturday made a run to the Western slopes of the White Mountains a no brainer.  The Upper Pemi was said to be in good shape with and it had been a hell of a long time since I had been on it.  None of the other guys had ever been on it.  We met in North Woodstock, grabbed an extra coffee and headed up Route 3 to set shuttle and suit up in the Hiking trail parking lot.  Once we were up at the Basin the questions started from the tourists.  Are you going to run that?  What's it like down stream?  Can you roll? Is there enough water? 


All of us took some time looking at the move to get into the Basin.  I knew I was going to run it before looking at it, knowing it is deep and is a one trick pony.  Flop off with a huge sweep.  To attempt to stay upright....Flipping is almost guaranteed and a quick roll in the slack water is easy.  Of course that is exactly what happened to me and I was upright and paddling away.  Neal did the same thing.  Both Chris and Noah walked thinking it was looking a little too manky.


Next up was Mini Flume which required a look at the line.  It also went cleanly off of the lead in tongue.  Below that there was a few boulder rapids leading up to North Pole.  We all walked it due to how much water was actually flowing under the boulders and of course the wood lodged just below it.  Below the wood there is a fantastic slide that has a few entries that make it fun and mix up how you finish it.  All ran it cleanly. 


From there we had a lot of fun constricted bedrock rapids with potholes and ledges where you could really get into a rhythm.  About the time we were leapfrogging each other and really syncing up, the Sentinel Bridge came into view and we could tell the river was dropping off into oblivion.  I knew we had a few more progressions and then needed to eddy out on river right to avoid being sucked into "Wham Bam Thank you Mam".  Wham is a lethal sieve that claimed one of us in 2011.  That sieve was still present and as ugly as ever.  Putting in below the sieve is an option so you can run the rest of the rapid into the gorge below.  The portage is a royal PIA, but we all did it.  After we had put in below, we all said we should have just run the bottom of the rapid.


Below Sentinel, the river really picks up steam and is pretty much continuous to the take out with a ton of beautiful pink bedrock slides and ledges.  This may be the best stretch of whitewater in New England, aesthetically and quality.  We had one mis-hap that resulted in a head shot and a swim, but all turned out well and we were back on the river floating toward the take out and beers.


We capped the day with Beers at the Woodstock Inn and Brewery.  A great place to wrap up the day.

Mill Brook, Brownsville to Windsor
Thursday Apr 27, 2017
Organizer: Allan Berggren
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable

Caught Mill Brook at a minimal but manageable level. Starts with a 15 foot slide/falls, then a very pitchy 3-plus first quarter mile that evens out to long 2-plus staircases, with an overall 150 ft/mile descent into Windsor.  No impassable trees.  Lovely aquamarine (duh) water, interesting geological features, ferns, and moss.  Obvious damage from Hurricane Irene: Washed out road, debris islands.

Runs only a few days per year, but well worth keeping an eye on for western NH, eastern VT paddlers.

[Also see this report from 6 years ago.]

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