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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 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

2002...

Huntington River Saturday Mar 30, 2002
Browns River Saturday Apr 6, 2002
White River Sunday Apr 7, 2002
Upper Lamoille Saturday Apr 13, 2002
Mascoma River Saturday Apr 13, 2002
Minister Brook Sunday Apr 14, 2002
Lower Lamoille Wednesday Apr 24, 2002
Gihon River Saturday May 4, 2002
Lower Mad Saturday May 4, 2002
Poultney River Saturday May 11, 2002
Ridley Brook Tuesday May 14, 2002
Joe's Brook Saturday May 18, 2002
Lower Mad River Sunday May 19, 2002
Magalloway R. (ME) Friday-Sunday Jul 5-7, 2002
Novice Whitewater Clinic Friday-Sunday Jul 12-14, 2002
West R. Weekend Saturday-Sunday Sep 21-22, 2002
New Haven Ledges Saturday Sep 28, 2002
North Branch of the Lamoille Saturday Sep 28, 2002
West branch of the Little River Saturday Dec 21, 2002

2002...

Huntington River
Saturday Mar 30, 2002
Organizer: Eric Bishop
Difficulty: novice WW
Level: medium low

The first trip out of the box for the new paddle season is always the toughest.

Do I have all my stuff....? At least this particular Saturday was perfect, sunny and in the 60's and medium water on the Huntington. Met the gang in Richmond at

the park and ride 1:00 sharp. Half went to Mad River the Three Musketeers went

to the Huntington. It is always fun to paddle with these two because you never

know what to expect! (Always a good time, with safety and learning high on the

list). "Let's go up as high as we can, up the Camels Hump Creek!" I knew we were

in for a trip. Geared up a few niceties to all the cars passing by and away we

go! 30 seconds into it the little ditch with boulders and a little water in it

had me pinned, cleared that and pinned again not five minutes later. This time

I found myself so happy I survived again, dry and undamaged that I decided to

let the boat go, Eric will catch it! "Don't let go of your boat!!" came out of

Eric's mouth as he proceeded to swim as he tried to corral my boat. Thanks Eric,

Lesson number one: self-rescue is okay, do not let go of the boat! This all happened

in the first 5 minutes of the trip! I am glad to say it got better!

Nice water level, friendly people and cows, lots of eddies, don't forget to get

out at the house with the wagon wheels, river left. You can go to there, or further

as we did, carrying by the beautiful, but deadly Huntington Gorge. Carry around,

stay left on the trail and put in below. The next bit is pleasant 1/2 mile stretch

with interesting rapids (comparable in difficulty to those above the gorge). Take

out on river right and carry way up this hill and down to miss a lower gorge.

A couple hundred yards, very steep. Put in below in an absolute river wonderland,

paddling another mile till you come to the Cochran Road bridge take-out.

Great trip. Hope my mentors will have me along again!

(I-II, 8 miles, 4 hours)

Browns River
Saturday Apr 6, 2002
Organizer: Tony Shaw/Fritz Seftleber
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Tony Shaw

The water was falling faster than the temperature was rising. By the time we reached the take-out 4 miles north of Westford on Rt. 128 it was an even 32 degrees, and the rapids were noticably bonier. These considerations accounted for a good deal of attrition on what would otherwise have been a well attended VPC trip. The Browns was a better choice than the intended Lewis Creek (too low), or larger rivers which afford little wind protection. The truth is that the 2 of us stayed warm throughout this 2 1/4 hour trip!

We played leapfrog (eddy-hopping) to give Pierre an excuse to practice his eddy turns and peel-outs. Neither of us felt much like running the 4 foot drop where the Westford dam is washing out, but we both enjoyed running the 3 foot ledge farther down. A river otter on the island at the final ledge drop greeted us as we approached.

White River
Sunday Apr 7, 2002
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low

The weather was clear, the air was not warm, and the river was somewhat low with cold water. The level was 2500 cfs at the gage at Hartford, and slowly dropping. Because of the cold conditions, the group floated down the river fairly quickly, without any extensive 'playing'. All did well, even at the ledges coming in to Gaysville, but many were getting a bit cold, so all of the kayaks took took out at the campground, where some cars had been spotted, 'just in case'. The open canoes, Andy and Rich, continued down to the takeout along route 107, without incident. There were Mergansers along the river that day, but no other wildlife of note. It was just a nice float on the river.

Upper Lamoille
Saturday Apr 13, 2002
Organizer: Mike Fullerton
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium

Seven paddlers answered the call, three kayaks and four solo canoes. Two announced the intent of taking out at East Hardwick but offerred shuttle service. The weather was warm, something unusual for the Upper Lamoille, but the water was cold and the combination bred a low fog that made things difficult now and then.

The smell of burning brush mingled with the pungent odor of last winter's manure, recently freed from the Liquistore tank. The river had been at 3' on the Wolcott St. guage the night before but rose to nearly 4' overnight. We ran without difficulty until the last rapid above East Hardwick where the river exacted it's toll. A kayak hit a rock and ejected it's owner. Paddler and paddle were quickly rescued but the boat escaped and ran the dam and falls in town. We found it parked on a rock about 20' off shore as neat and safe as if someone had just left it there to have lunch.

We thought for a while then sent people down the steep bank with a rope and carabiner. A kayak ferried out to the stranded boat (it had picked a rock with a very handy eddy) and attached the carabiner. People on shore belayed off a tree and the boat was brought home minus float bags but otherwise unharmed.

The swimmer decided to call it a day and another paddler had shoulder problems. That left the leader and two people who had never run the river before with high water and thickening fog. We opted to run the upper portion again rather than risk the heavier water below. The second run was uneventful despite the annoying fog.

I was sorry to miss the best part of the river at a really good level, but common sense suggested that we wait for another time.

Mascoma River
Saturday Apr 13, 2002
Organizer: Allan Berggren
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium high

Large group of combined AMC and MVP paddlers met at the Mascoma. Gauge was jacked up to 4.9 at the dam, USGS said 800 for the race being held. At that level, the course is brisk, with shallow eddies, lots of cross-curling standing waves, and holes are medium to large.

The Excelsior rapids at the bottom is bright and bold, with a pleasant aroma of river, and a light body--oh, that's right, this isn't wine. There were a series of large holes in right center, and others which could be maneuvered among. Anyway, several paddlers new to this stream scrunched up their courage and ran what is, at that level, a solid 4 section, with one magnificent combat roll (Dan Moore) and no swims.

After the Mascoma, John Deming convinced me to go to the Black River, which to our surprise was running at 2 on the bridge gauge, 800 cfs on the Springfield gauge. This is about as nice a level as one could hope to find it. Our marker "knuckle rock" was almost submerged (and passable over, with some pushing), and there were tons of features to play. The narrows section of the gorge is hydraulic without being grabby.

Minister Brook
Sunday Apr 14, 2002
Organizer: Randy Allen
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Randy Allen

"You call this paddling?" was one comment to be heard right at the start. Small, steep, boat scraping, paddle banging, few eddies, many strainers, and more than several boat drags through the woods characterized the first 1/2 mile of this run. But when everything else (including the scheduled N. Branch Lamoille and the backup N. Branch Winooski) is too high, a freshet like this is hard for some to resist!

We put in at Kimball Road approximately 3 miles up Minister Brook in Worcester. It finally did open up into mainly a fast class II run with a class III ledge thrown in. The high point would be watching Eric and Tony run a 15 foot ledge/dam.

Although it was exciting this day, even if the strainers were gone it still is mainly a class II run, and the upper part class III with more water, but just too fast and relentless for most paddlers' tastes.

Lower Lamoille
Wednesday Apr 24, 2002
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low

This was the first of the Wednesday evening trips that actually happened in 2002. The temperature this evening was in the 50s, and the river lower than normal at this time of year. We put in just above Two-Island Rapid, and floated thru the first rapids without incident. We didn't see much in the way of birds, just some Mallards - no ospreys this time. The only problem was the sun angle, which was directly in people's eyes most of the trip. We arrived at the 5-Chutes area fairly quickly, so most of the boats played around in the current, and a few tested the water temperature and their swimming strokes - but no real problems. The total time on the river was about 2 hours. The sun was just setting as we finished, and the air cooling rapidly.

Gihon River
Saturday May 4, 2002
Organizer: John Wolfe
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Eric Bishop

This short, steep section of the Gihon, just upstream of Johnson,was a nice substitute for the scheduled trip. The put-in is off 100c and the take-out just below the collapsed covered bridge. In between are 6 or 7 good sized drops. We had serious trouble only at the 2nd drop and I would recommend that most would want to carry this one. The rest were far more straight forward and a good time was had by all.

Lower Mad
Saturday May 4, 2002
Organizer: Fritz Seftleber
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low
Author: Tony Shaw

Made it through the first little drops on this beautiful afternoon, warm sunny, water at 500cfs.

We made it to the double drop with the "gotcha rock" at the bottom. All scouted, set up the throw bags and let Scott take the lead. Rolling up as you feel that "gotcha rock" getting closer, is tough. No damage just wet. My turn next. Eddy out after the first drop, perfect, eddy out after the second, perfect, I am done! Not quite, the final ferry over the "gotcha rock" got me. No damage. Next came the "new to the sport" crowd. All dry and clean all the way through. Scott immediately started mentioning his karma for the day, I mentioned that HE should go first next!

Needless to say we all swam later,(except for didn't dump Floyd) probably a total of a dozen or more between the whole team. You do not learn if you do not fall (tip over). All had the right gear and the right attitude, plus plenty of throw bags!

One of the memorable moments was watching bomb proof Prior pull off a roll x 2 mid stream as well as watching her go off Horse Shoe Falls. She is still working on mastering a new paddling technique specifically for drops and the like. Ask her about it if you see her on the river!

One thing we all learned is sunglasses, specifically wet sunglasses in the shade, do not improve your paddling.

Live and learn.

We did a little "green up" at the end. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all give a little back to this wonderland that we paddle by?

We all had a great time, running time 3 plus hours.

Poultney River
Saturday May 11, 2002
Organizer: Faith Knapp
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low
Author: Faith Knapp

On a very fine day in May, a group of us decided to go to the Poultney River and run the section from Fair Haven to Carver Falls Dam. Faith, Nancy and John had a wonderful time running this river last June and had great memories of the trip. Only trouble is, John loved telling the stories, and every time he described the slide (which is quite long) it got longer! Well, this time he came armed with his daughter's video camera to prove to those doubting Thomases that such a slide does exist.

We put in near the Vermont Welcome Center and off we went. Just under the Route 4 bridge and about 75 feet downstream, we all got out on the left, careful to stay below the high water mark, to scout the first rapid. Landowners in the area have had some pretty unpleasant experiences with boaters in the past.

A considerable drop with a few rocks showing their faces was our intro the the river. John had his camera ready and got some good movies.

The second drop was the memorable "slide". Only one way down and we all felt that as we reached the bottom we were doing 90 MPH. A couple of us caught the eddy on river (no...slide) left. Others went all the way to the end, and a few perched atop a couple of rocks on slide right. This area could have some incredible dynamics at higher levels with the ledge and rock formations that are there. Some carried up for repeat performances. A short run and strong party permitted more play time -- and several of the drops were run repeatedly.

There are about 8 ledge drops with play areas in this 4 1/2 mi. stretch. We found an island and enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the sun. Soon we came upon the waterfall that does not look particularly nice. Last year Faith and Eric had an interesting swim. Nancy described it as a washing machine seeing arms and legs going in all directions. Not this year! All who ran it did so successfully! John has proof on the video camera. After this drop, there is a short rapid which narrows into a short blind chute. Then for a relaxing paddle to the dam and time to reminisce about the day.

When we decided to paddle this river, we hoped for water and made the decision based on the amount of rain that had fallen in the area the previous couple of days. There is a gauge near Fair Haven as the USGS site describes it. However, last year when we ran it, the gauge was ~ 300 cfs. This year was higher, but the online gauge read ~ 150 cfs. So this is not a reliable indicator of the water level.

With smiles on our faces, we discussed our next adventure on the Poultney. The take out is at Carver Falls Dam, where there is a sign showing the way to the caves nearby. Maybe next time we'll finish with a hike to the caves.

Ridley Brook
Tuesday May 14, 2002
Organizer: John Wolfe
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Bob Marshall

We put in the creek at 5:15 pm. The water had started to go down but there was still plenty for fun. We put in at the 3rd bridge that crosses Ridley. The brook is boulder choked with no clear lines. No good eddies were visible. Our 1st chance we got to stop and regroup was 200yd down stream. Johns 1st statement was "Wow Bob, Wow". This was nonstop aggressive steep creeking from top to bottom. We walked only 1 small drop that lead into an undercut ledge. We took out at the Marshall road. There are 2 drops just belowe the bridge that we both ran clean. This only comes up a couple of times a year. We were lucky enough to catch it.

Joe's Brook
Saturday May 18, 2002
Organizer: Eric Bishop
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: Eric Bishop

Randy Allen suggested we check out Joe's Brook, which flows out of Joe's Pond in W. Danville, and, despite the name, is a small river. It falls about 1000' between Joe's Pond and the Passumpsic River, a distance of about 10 miles.

It was snowing when we put on, after doing a little road and foot scouting. We paddled from the power station, at the bottom of Power Station Rd., just outside W. Danville village, and took out at the closed off Greenbanks Hollow (covered) Bridge. This stretch of 4 miles or so had lots of continous class 2, a bit of just drifting and more class 3 to 3+ ledge drops than we could count. We spent a fair amount of time scouting drops but they were all runnable.

The section from Greenbanks Hollow Br. to Joe's Brook Rd. appeared to be considerably steeper and more difficult and we left it for another (warmer) day. Instead we drove around it, put in where the river flowed under Joe's Brook Rd. and paddled another 2 1/2 miles to Joe's Brook Hill Rd. This stretch was continous class 2, 2+ with many class 3 ledge drops and a class 3+ gorge just above a quickwater float to the take out.

From what we could see there was more class 2 (at least) in the remaining mile or so to the Passumpsic. The weather was bad but this could be the best day of paddling I have ever had. This river is special and at higher water would be a tremendous challenge.

Lower Mad River
Sunday May 19, 2002
Organizer: Fritz Senftleber
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium

This whole paddling thing is in the attitude. When you dump ,more times than you can count, you need a good attitude.

New boat, nice people, almost to much water and away we went. Ira showed up last minute and asked for a tag along and ride back, no problem. After his first roll, we all felt a little better. Later we were not sure if he wasn't aiming for the rocks though. It was the verical pin that he shifted through and recoverd that made us all realize, he has attitude. Ray I was up to his flawless paddling tricks, The best part with ray is the ear to ear grin, and his willing ness to share some of those tricks, all attitude. John W, tried to keep up with my dump record, not quite! Nice endo! Great attitude!

We all had a ball. Warm, fun and if you haven't been able to tell loads of good attitudes on the Lower Mad.

Thanks for putting up with me!

Magalloway R. (ME)
Friday-Sunday Jul 5-7, 2002
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Tony Shaw

This second annual funfest featured affable friends, appetizing fare, and aquatic

frenzy. Diane joined Sam to keep him company and to chronicle the trip as our

personal bankside photographer. The overnighters gathered Friday evening at Sam's

(a remote College Grant cabin north of Errol), where Diane kept the rest of us

entertained through dinner and beyond sharing her passion for wildlife biology...and

birding in particular. Sam and Randy found common interests in forestry...and woodworking

in particular. Georgia, Faith and Tony just seemed happy to be out of the fast

lane, however briefly. Sam Brungot (longtime Dartmouth College Grant Caretaker

and namesake for the cabin we rented) would have enjoyed this night of woodsy

conversation in the quiet surroundings he so loved.

The chemistry through dinner and Saturday evening - with Sam and Diane back in

Vermont - was decidedly more unabashed and would have most likely had ol' Sam

blanching. Everyone pitched in with meal preparation and clean-up, leaving time

for exploration on nature trails nearby on bicycle and even a hike up the Diamond

Peaks.

Oh did I mention we paddled? Well we paddled...hard! Never mind that drought conditions

prevailed across New England. The Azisocohos Lake dam release provided spring-like

water levels both days. The play-friendly 900 cfs level inspired many surfers

and even some side/back surfing at the final rapids' big hole on river right.

Tony misguidedly tried to run the big class IV put-in drop on the far right on

the last run Sunday, and learned the hard way it is every bit as turbulent as

it appears from the shore.

Call me if you are interested in joining us for a repeat, July 2003, when the Grant cabin is again reserved and the water will be swiftly flowing (802-879-1655).

Novice Whitewater Clinic
Friday-Sunday Jul 12-14, 2002
Organizer: VPC
Difficulty: novice WW
Level: medium
Author: Tony Shaw

The weekend weather was glorious, volunteers turned out in (well not exactly) droves, and the new location on Lake Elmore for the flatwater day Saturday was a real crowd pleaser.

Marcy, Fritz, Faith, Ray, John, Paul, among others provided quality instruction both on the water and off to 10 or so students in canoes and kayaks, most of them from out-of-state.

The future of the weekend long clinic for 2003 is somewhat in doubt, with Marcy stepping down as registrar and no obvious volunteer (or appointee) to take over this all important role. If ANY club member has an interest in helping get the club geared up for a summer whitewater clinic in 2003, speak to a club officer like Fritz or Paul in the near future. If not, we may take a year off from holding this fun and profitable event.

West R. Weekend
Saturday-Sunday Sep 21-22, 2002
Organizer: VPC
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: John Floyd

All week the weather forecast for the infamous West River release called for heavy downpours both days. E-mails and phone calls went back and forth: "D'ya think you'll go?"

The drive down to Jamaica Saturday morning was under low clouds, occasionally spitting drizzle. But by the time we were on the water, the sprinkles had stopped, the air was warm, and the sun even came out now and then. With 1500 cfs released from Ball Mountain Dam, it turned into a great day of paddling.

There was lots of envelope-pushing going on, including John Floyd and Eliot running the upper section for the first time. Eliot swam the entire III-IV rapid below the dam. John swam the Dumplings, getting up close and personal with the boulders river right. Lots of playing going on, too. Scott couldn't wipe the grin off his face after launching off the rock below the Dumplings. We hope he was still smiling at home Saturday night, having chosen familial harmony over a second day on the river.

Many of those who stayed over were at Winhall Brook campground (hosted by some very laid back park employees). Tony, Rod, Eliot and John Floyd shared a site. Just as we were turning in for the night, a light sprinkle started. It wasn't long before the rain picked up, and the promised downpour fell off and on through the night. Morning light brought huge puddles (one in Tony's tent) and some talk of running Winhall Brook. Conversation over a Dunkin Donuts breakfast revolved around whether the rain still falling on the tent would let up. By the time the subject was beat to death, the rain let up and, when we reached Jamaica State Park, it stopped altogether.

Sunday turned out to be another fine day for paddling. The clouds, often barely above the river, drizzled now and then, but no one cared (some didn't notice!). All together, it was another fine West River weekend.

We should acknowledge all the great park staff, elementary school boosters (i.e. parking attendants), the dam operators and the vendors who make it all happen for our benefit.

New Haven Ledges
Saturday Sep 28, 2002
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium low
Author: Tony Shaw

Nolan followed his nose from Tunbridge to the fabled New Haven, and looked relieved to meet up with strangers who professed to be familiar with the run. But only one in this local trio had ever completed a "ledges" run from top to bottom. Fall New Haven trips are impromptu of necessity, and the window of opportunity after a soaking ran can be short indeed. The notorious "playpen" proved to be as tricky and sticky as it's reputed to be, and 2 of our foursome would have faired better taking the sneak route on river left. Eric's stern delaminated somewhere along the way to the take-out, enough to need ABS welding in NH this winter.

I learned later I was in the doghouse for passing up the opportunity to paddle with Fritz on his first North Branch Lamoille trip, or at least for failing to communicate my alternative paddling plan. To wit, any way you slice it, we all had a super day of whitewater.

North Branch of the Lamoille
Saturday Sep 28, 2002
Organizer: Fritz Seftleber
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium

The trip started out on a beautiful warm fall day. A definite plus, the weather was good. The crew was up for it, Paul Carlisle, Ray Ingram, Pat Cleary and myself: "no brace" Fritz. We were headed for the Gem, the North Branch of the Lamoille. I heard about it, read about it, I was scared to death. The weather was good, the crew good, the gear was set, the level was perfect.

I can't really remember what happened next. Lots of rapids, hard work, high levels of paddling demanded, lots of finding that eddy to pull into for a breather. It was all good/exciting/paddle clenching fun. I did not dump, but Ray wasn't sure if I might rather swim though!! "I told you how to do that..." Well Ray I was at my skill levels end, maybe over it, my bailer in my mouth, stuck in an excuse for an eddy in the middle of a roaring river with no spot to pull over with my half full boat. I was just surviving!!

I did survive and learned a lot, go with a good group, have good weather (not too cold) have your gear set, use common sense and be cautious when need be (say no if you really do not feel comortable). This trip would not have been a pleasure, with 10 degree colder water or air temp, or had I dumped at the beginning and had to shiver through the rest. Use common sense, have fun! "How do you get out of a side surf anyway, Ray?"

West branch of the Little River
Saturday Dec 21, 2002
Organizer: John Wolfe
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: low boatable
Author: John Wolfe

Bob and I put in at Percy's garage in Stowe and took out at The Stowe police station on route 100. There is a fun wave/hole behind the Blacksmith shop on 108. The drop at the police station was a great ending. The river was coming down and freezing up. Fun section if short on time or want a warm up.

VPC trip reports can provide an important historical basis for 'current use', a legal doctrine that can affect the regulatory process - dam relicensing, new dam construction projects, etc. But only (obviously) if we (WE) write them! So, be sure to share and preserve the memories of your latest paddling adventures by submitting a trip report.
If you are a VPC member and you want attribution for a trip report, please login to the website (above) before you begin filling out your trip report. Reports with attribution will appear on the 'My Trip Reports' tab on your 'My Profile' page.
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