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Trip Reports

Find trips reports from 2001 and prior in the Bow & Stern Archive
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2005...

Green Narrows (NC) Friday Mar 25, 2005
NB Lamoile Saturday Apr 9, 2005
Big Branch Friday Apr 15, 2005
White River Saturday Apr 16, 2005
Guerilla Ammo Sunday Apr 17, 2005
Lower Lamoille Sunday Apr 17, 2005
Moose River Sunday Apr 24, 2005
Black River Thursday Apr 28, 2005
Ammonusuc River Sunday May 1, 2005
Hudson Gorge Saturday May 7, 2005
Lower Hudson Sunday May 22, 2005
Weekend in Fantasy land Maine Friday-Sunday May 27-29, 2005
E.Branch Pemi Friday May 27, 2005
Big Splash river festival flotilla Saturday Jun 4, 2005
Geurilla Lower New Haven Saturday Jun 18, 2005
Wild Br. of Lamoille Saturday Jun 18, 2005
Independence Paddle Party Friday-Monday Jul 1-4, 2005
Taureau Saturday Jul 9, 2005
Pemigewasset Saturday Jul 9, 2005
Boquet to Split-Rock Falls Sunday Jul 10, 2005
AuSable Sunday Jul 24, 2005
Deerfield River Fest/Fife Brook Group Friday-Sunday Jul 29-31, 2005
Malbaie/Penobscot Thursday-Tuesday Aug 11-16, 2005
Ottawa Paddle Party No 2 Friday-Sunday Aug 12-14, 2005
Beaverfest Thursday-Monday Sep 1-5, 2005
Beaver Fest Part 2 Friday-Monday Sep 2-5, 2005
Gauley Fest "Back of the Hand" Wednesday-Monday Sep 21-26, 2005
Mill Brook, Jericho Saturday Oct 8, 2005
My personal caranage Saturday Oct 15, 2005
Joe's Brook (Massacre) Sunday Oct 16, 2005

2005...

Green Narrows (NC)
Friday Mar 25, 2005
Organizer: Alden Bird
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Alden Bird

(I hope that whomever edits the Bow and Stern can leave this out -- I feel a little bad even putting it here, but I wanted to record it, and it feels so good to write it up somewhere "official.")

"Nature's first green is gold

Her hardest hue to hold"

- Robert Frost

It was the first hot day of the year. Along the highway the trees were spotted with gold. The hills were becoming green again. North Carolina was everywhere in bloom. With a feeling of excitement that bordered on dizziness, I drove slowly and wonderously through Asheville, a wonderfully new place for me. I felt like Marcel Proust upon reaching Combray. It seemed to me an enchanted city. 40 minutes later, I wound my way down the 36 switchbacks of the take out road as into paradise and walked down the sandy beach to the river at the take out. The water was sparkling green and people were swimming and sunning themselves on the beach.

"The first trip out of the box for the new paddle season is always the toughest. Do I have all my stuff....?"

- Fritz Senftleber

What a way to start off the season! The first creek of 2005 and all I need are shorts and a drytop. As we descended the half mile put in trail through the hot air, I sweated though I had not yet put on a shirt of any kind.

"It was such a lovely sun-drenched day and the water was sparklingly clear and I was in the company of low-key friends...what more could you ask for?"

- Tony Shaw

I had never descended a creek with another c-1er before. But this time I had one of the South's most prolific with me -- one who paddles on the same side (right) as I, and who even has the very same boat that I do! Not to mention his many runs of the Green. Talk about a perfect guide.

The Green is the most fun river I have ever done. I have never run a river that was so clean and had so many good boofs. I have never so wanted to interupt the passage of my life and continue returning to the put in of a river indefinitely. All of the rapids were incredibly clean and distinct and wonderful as real people. The constant image that I saw in the drops was Will's blue C-1 leaping off some boof into the air, bow high above the stern in a wheelie.

The Green was the perfect level of challenge. After all, this was the first creek of the year for me. We both portaged the two hardest rapids, Gorilla and Sunshine, which are both as difficult as Tunnel Vision in Vermont. Will had run Gorilla many times, but chose to walk today. It was by far the most impressive waterfall I have ever seen. I'll be back.

"He was like a man who stands upon a hill above the town he has left, yet does not say 'The town is near,' but turns his eyes upon the distant soaring ranges."

- (Asheville native) Thomas Wolfe

The Green's final waterfall is a scary, ominous constriction - reminding one of Rebirth on the Middlebury Gorge. This waterfall on the Green, dubbed "Hammer Factor," was a fitting last test -- not only of one's balance in a canoe, but also of one's mind. If one can feel the same sense of joy (blind to the fact that he has portaged, and blind to the "distant soaring ranges") that he imagined would be in his heart, when, the year before, he stumbled upstream on the trail in daze of pleasure and first beheld this secret waterfall, then he has done as well as a spring day.

At the end, I paddled the final "bonus rapid" (a rocky, emerald class II rapid) and down to the main beach, instead of using the normal kayaker take out just upstream. I did this because I had so long imagined myself one day descending this rapid and climbing out on the sand like Odysseus. Life occasionally works out exactly as one expected. The Green is magic.

NB Lamoile
Saturday Apr 9, 2005
Organizer: Various
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

After a series of postings canceling the NB Lamoille I was a little disappointed but understood James's reasons. After a few late e-mails and quiet discussions, an unofficial trip transpired.

At 10 am Saturday morning a group of well balanced paddlers decided to help James redeem himself on the river.

We started off on the upper section and all most everyone ran the first drop. We then hit the small surf wave below the bridge and paddled off.

I was surprised at how fun the river was turning out although I expected all the drops to be ledgy like the first few drops. But has we continued down stream in to the section known as the "gorge"...more dense tree lined in, in my opinion, than the walled in gorge I expected. But the formation of the river surprised me and it tuned out to be a lovely continuous technical class 3+. As we ventured down James warned us of the "event area from the week before" and that a couple of us should scout. We hopped out and I somehow missed everyone that was left in the water run it. I looked at the line but was a little hesitant, but decided I could make it. I got Simon to run it directly in front me just in case I messed up I made the perfect line...But to everyone's delight James redeemed himself and made it through uneventful...Blame the Java James...It is always the boats fault!!

We continued down stream and suddenly we were at the take out or put in for the lower section...But nobody took off...I think it was just too perfect of a day, Blue sky's sunshine and a great group of paddlers.

We scouted mill drop and Simon and I decided to run it first..We perfectly landed the lines...But I missed the must make eddy and caught the micro eddy above the next drop...unfortunately I missed the ferry to the right hand slot and slowly flipped and went down in to the left hand slot...taking the biggest hole beating (I actually swam before the hole) but it doesn't matter what ever way I would have landed the hole I would have "had my ass handed to me" as my friend D likes to say. Everyone else made it through totally unawares of my swim...I should have kept my mouth shut!!

I carefully scouted the next set of ledges with everyone else and decided with Luke to just check out the bottom drop...The advance paddlers of our group were making it look easy and tempting...but I was unsure. Luke decided to run and unfortunately took the second hole beating of the day...but without him his boat decided to run it anyway!!

This made this decision to portage around easy. So I joined everyone at the bottom drop, Luke was reunited with his boat and we all ran the bottom drop..what a perfect ending to a perfect day. The whole group was inspirational, new friends were made, redemptions were earned and sandwiches & MM's shared. Fantastic!!

Big Branch
Friday Apr 15, 2005
Organizer: Alden bird
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Alden Bird

Was lucky enough to show my Washington DC friends down several Vermont creeks on this day. In the morning we ran the Middlebury Gorge. I had forgotten . . . Soon after we departed for Rutland, bound for the Big Branch.

Suffice to say that it was a "zone experience." Nobody missed a move the whole way down. We didn't get out of our boats once. It was intense. I just remember constant boofing, bashing, dropping through chutes and around boulders amid all those steep-as-hell fields of rocks. Long stretches of not eddying out, heaving the bow of my C-1 out into the air off vertical drop after vertical drop.

The one highlight that sticks in my head is from the hardest rapid, Mushroom. In the eddy above, I sketched out the dangers to avoid on the left side of the rapid. I descended the tight staircase first, out of sight of the others. As I hit the famous "sky-boof" on the right, it occured to me that I had not mentioned this. I pulled into an eddy and waited for Joe and Steve. Seconds later I saw it! Joe came flying around the corner in perfect position to make the move. Did he see the big boof? Yes, he did! Would he try to jump off it? Would he be comfortable enough with my directions and with this creek to try something I had not mentioned? Yes, he would! He hit the boof and his bow flung up into the air and his stern followed. He hung in the air, totally out of the water, for a full second, and then landed about two feet away from me, touching down on his stern and sizzling into the eddy. On his face was a look of wonder, surprise -- and silly laughter.

When we got to the bottom (the final rapid is impressive to anyone) Steve claimed that this was his new favorite creek and Joe proclaimed it "harder than the Upper Blackwater or the Green Narrows." It was a pleasure to show them down my favorite river. Now I understand the look in the eye of all those locals, eager to please me with their rivers, whom I followed while exploring rivers for my guidebook last year.

I really wish I had a picture of Joe in that rapid. I remember conferring with him briefly, right afterwards, then peeling out into the next rapid and letting my own bow take to the air off another 5-footer. The Big Branch is the river that makes the bows want to fly.

White River
Saturday Apr 16, 2005
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low

We had a week without rain leading up to the trip, so the water was low, but still seemed doable based on the available gauges. So, we put in at the Tweed River access, paddled the short distance to the White, and went to the Route 107 access about 3 miles beyond Gaysville.

We had reports of strainers in the river at and below the old abutments where Stony Brook enters the White, so we approached these areas cautiously. There was no major problem right at the abutments, but about 100 yards beyond the abutments all the available water went to a left-side channel that did have a tree fully across the flow - and a good current to push boats into it. A couple of boats were able to bounce and scrape down a right-side channel, but for the most part we landed on the center rock-island and lined boats down. There were no problems in the trip. We did have a swimmer from playing in the holes at the lunch rock, but it was no big deal.

In spite of the low water, it was a good day, with nice weather and a good group of paddlers.

Guerilla Ammo
Sunday Apr 17, 2005
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium

The club trip on the Moose was cancelled due to lack of water. I moved the official trip to the Ammonoosuc, hoping for the best. Nobody called (!?) so that got canclelled too. Eventually, two paddlers decided to go and see what it was like.

the level was 2.75, just enough water to be fun but not stressful. Two boats was not really enough for a trip, but what the heck, it was a warm sunny day, the river was mellow and we are adults, capable of assessing and assuming our own risks.

The water was clear and sparkling, a beautiful New Hampshire mountain river with colorful rocks. Song sparrows sang from the bank. We saw mergansers at the height of their plumage. From the highway, 200 yds away, came the spring thunder of Harley Davidson engines. It was perfect.

We ran only the upper section from the big pine tree to Pierce Bridge, deciding that the harder rapids below needed three boats at least. As the ribald song goes, "it felt so nice, I did it twice". The only other people we saw were a couple in recreational kayaks taking out where we put in. They had skied Cannon mtn in the morning, were finishing a paddle trip, and planned to do a bike ride before dinner. They called it a perfect Sunday. We agreed.

Our sympathy to all those boaters who did not paddle the Ammo with us.

Lower Lamoille
Sunday Apr 17, 2005
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium high

The trip planned for April 16 was moved to the 17th, because the river was at 9000 cfs on the 16th. The 9000 cfs level is runnable for open boats, but the potential swims can be long, so we waited a day for the level to drop. We put in just below the Fairfax dam (which is an impressive sight at 4000 cfs) and paddled to the takeout between the bridges below Five Chutes. We ran into Weed and Zilic in Two-Island Rapid, and our group paddled down with them. No drama, no swimmers, just a good float down the river.

Moose River
Sunday Apr 24, 2005
Organizer: Michael Fullerton
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium

The 'official' Moose trip for April 23 was canceled because of rain, and reborn as an 'unofficial' trip on April 24. We met in North Concord, and put in where the river drops out of Victory Bog. We ran down to the takeout about 3/8 mile below the bridge, on the dirt road on the river-right shore. The river level was very good. At the 750-800 cfs level, the steep drops by the old and current gauging stations are class 2+, maybe 3-, with pretty continuous class 2 much of the rest of the way until the left turn at the start of the bridge rapids. From here, and then 300 yards to the bridge and 200 yards beyond, is a hard class 3 at this level. No one had any major problems, although there was a short swim going around the right turn below the bridge.

We were 'blessed' on the trip with leaden skies, and moderate fog, but at least it did not rain - and the paddling level was excellent.

Black River
Thursday Apr 28, 2005
Organizer: Allan Berggren
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium

Bill Ryan, Mike Ward, Rick Covill and I spent a delightful evening in Downers.

Water level was 2', rising to 2.5' at Downers, downstream gauge at North Springfield was 4.5', rising to 5'.

At this level, one finds brisk drops through the gorge, lovely waterfalls along the banks, a surfeit of surfing waves and holes, and no unpleasant drag from those round projections from the bottom.

This was my first experience paddling with Mike, who has major sea kayak experience and a nice roll, and eagerly ate up any guidance given, so he was turning in tight eddy turns in midstream and surfing credibly. You will find him worthy company for rapid progression through III and IV waters.

Levels will certainly hold through the weekend, and possibly into midweek next.

Ammonusuc River
Sunday May 1, 2005
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium

This trip needed help from the weather gods. The river was low as of Saturday AM, at 3.1', but rain was expected Saturday PM and overnight. But, of course, we could not take too much rain. By Sunday AM, the river was at 3.9', an excellent level, but someone forgot to turn off the rain. A cold, misty rain continued all day until 3PM, and the air temperature stayed at 45 degrees most of the time. So, we had excellent flowing water, but miserable atmospheric water! One planned paddler chose not to paddle because of the rain, so we had the advantage of a 'transportation specialist' who would meet us at each road crossing. We planned to go from the big pine tree at the new parking lot west of Twin Mountain, down to the railroad beyond Alder Brook. As it turned out, we all got out after a cold 4 hours on the river. The trip we had was great, but enough was enough.

The remnants of the flood of the previous Sunday, where the river jumped from 5' to 10' in about 6 hours, provided intereting aspects to the trip. There was debris in all the alder branches 5 and 6 feet above stream level. And, the spillway at the dam was plugged by mangled trees, sending the water over the top rather than through the spillway.

At a 3.9' level, the river is really good 3+ / 4- water. Boat Breaker, Powerhouse, and a couple of other steep drops are impressive, but still quite doable in an open canoe.

Since this was the trip organizers birthday, a post-trip treat of brownies was provided by Sheri Larsen.

Hudson Gorge
Saturday May 7, 2005
Organizer: Rod Wentworth
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium

We enjoyed a very nice day, sunny and about 50 degrees, which was a bit of a surprise since the weather forecast prior to the weekend was not too good. We arrived at the put-in somewhat after 10 am, so that the release from Indian Pond had already started. Simon carried up to run the otter slide before we all headed down river. This was the weekend when slalom races were also being held in the section of the Hudson downstream from the gorge take-out and along the road. I don't know if that was the reason, but there were few kayaks on the river. There were rafts but not extreme numbers. The water was still cool but not arctic, and the cool spring weather had kept the black flies in check. There were a few around but they weren't yet ready to bite. The "bubble" from the Indian Pond release resulted in a peak on the Hudson River of 4.8 feet at the North Creek gage. By the time we got to Harris, we were behind the bubble and there were quite a few rocks showing. Everyone had a good time and there were no swimmers.

Lower Hudson
Sunday May 22, 2005
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: too low

As of 6PM the night before, there were 8 people signed up for the trip - but, one by one, most came to their senses and backed out, so only three boats actually went on the water. The day was cold, around 50 degrees, and the rain was steady for the time while driving over to New York, although it did stop for most of the on-water time. And, there was no water to speak of in the river, only 3.1' at North Creek. We shortened the trip to be just Riparius to the Glen Bridge, to keep down the abuse to the boats. At this level, most of the trip was just trying to avoid hitting too many rocks on the river bottom, not really whitewater. At the major 'rapids', the goal became to follow the main channel of water as it twisted among the boulders. I think you need to have a level of at least 3.5 - 4.0 feet to have a decent trip.

At the end of the trip, we got an extra surprise, in that the usual takeout on the right (west) shore just below the Glen Bridge was posted and blockaded. We were able to take out about a hundred yards above the bridge on the east shore, where there is a big parking area.

Weekend in Fantasy land Maine
Friday-Sunday May 27-29, 2005
Organizer: Cheryl Robinson
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: very high
Author: Cheryl

Early Friday we set off from a very dry Vermont, Excited about the weekends paddling ahead of us. As we headed in to Maine...a very different picture appeared, everything was going off Huge...Massive. We hoped it was just isolated but as we headed nearer and nearer the forks every dam we saw was just spilling more and more.

We arrived at the campsite and peered at the Dead, if we got any more rain it would flood the campsite. We talked to the owners who advised nobody would be running the Dead or the Kennebec gorge and we should opt to run the lower Kennebec...to say the least I was a little disappointed. We agreed to reassess the situation in the morning.

We rose to a clear but cloudy day, but the levels on the river hadn't dropped. We discussed living in a fantasy world were everything would be perfect, clear skies runnable rivers...at this moment it was a fantasy..it clearly looked non of us were prepared to run the rivers this high.

We found a couple of other paddlers who advised the dead was running at 23,000 CFS. We discussed options and parted our ways still unsure of what we were going to paddle. The strangest thing then happened a guy walked past with the group we had just spoken to. Jim instantly recognized him. It turned out he was in Chile with Jim 7 years ago, they were on a river together when Jim had a near death experience...they hadn't seen each other since. Within 5 minutes we had a plan for paddling, Enchantment brook which would run off into the Dead. I was a little apprehensive I only had my playboat I didn't quite fancy running a steep creek in it, I think John felt the same way.

Excitedly on the way to the put in I expressed that to see a Moose and some sunshine would make the perfect weekend...Jim laughed and said I was living in Fantasy land again. But as we turned the corner a Baby Moose appeared...I grabbed the camera and we laughed at how strange the weekend was turning out to be.

Enchantment Brook, Didn't look much from the put in and didn't look to high, Joe (Jim's friend) advised it was on the way down and we would have to hurry. Just before putting on I asked him to confirm the river class...he replied "Three / four with one waterfall which you will run and possibly one portage".

As we began down the river uneasy that me and Jim were in playboats, I began to sense I was being lulled into a false sense of security...I was right the first few rapids were grade 2/3 with nice pools between. As we headed round a bend I saw a horizon line, Joe had us eddy out and we watched him run the waterfall blind on the left, another guy run the drop right. Joe waved at us to head left...I looked worriedly at John and Jim and expressed I was concerned to run a waterfall blind. Jim said he would go first and I could follow, I watched his line intently and waited for my signal to go and slowly paddled to the edge to scout as much as I could before committing to a line, as I peered over it turned out to be more a small slide than a waterfall with a funny curler at the bottom. Which I found to be a rock, my boat hit it squarely and I winced in pain at the shock through my ankles...I wished I had my creek boat.

The river continued into continuous steep class 3 rapids, when all of a sudden Joe eddied out, we obediently followed...after all he was the only one to have paddled this before.

We looked down river to see a huge horizon line with just a mass of whitewater below..."Oh MY GOD"...Joe then explained we needed to catch the eddy right on the lip of the drop...I seriously questioned this and my ability to make the eddy, but it seemed I had little choice if I wanted to scout or portage. The worst thing was...we couldn't see the eddy. We watch as Joe went first and disappeared behind a tree, it didn't look easy. Jim went next and I tried to memorize his line. I set off and tried to go hard left, but has I did I noticed there were awkward ledges above the eddy, I paddled hard around them and give the biggest sweep into the eddy, has I crossed the line Joe and Jim quickly brought me a shore. John followed I watched him make the eddy but then slowly slip back out...for a few seconds I stood dumfounded and shocked...he couldn't possible go down. In a mad rush three of us grabbed his kayak and dragged it into the eddy, it was a close call...a bit too close.

One look at the drop and I knew in my playboat it would be almost suicide to run it. It was ledge steep and holey...it needed precision lines and no mess ups. Out of seven only Joe ran it the rest portaged.

The rest of the river became steeper and more continuous. I was enjoying the run and kept smiling at Jim and John who just had huge grins back at me. At one point it was almost a down river race with people vying for the same lines.

We came up another Horizon line, Joe eddied out with Jim and I sailed on by, I was quite proud that I managed to boat scout and pick a good line I plopped into the eddy below and watched up stream. It was at that point I though looking at the ledges I probably made a stupid decision to run it alone...but what the hell I ran it well.

I watched as the rest of the group came down running different lines but in group formation. I noticed Jim eddy out above me and watch as John braced high, but then become unbalanced he was over. I prayed he would roll as rescue would be difficult and we were on a blind corner who knows what was ahead. He tried rolling but then I watched him bob into the water. I looked at Jim and we both knew, for us we wouldn't be able to rescue him in our playboats...I felt selfish, but knew that it could be disastrous if we tried. We watched as Joe pushed and manipulated him into the eddy. I give a big sigh of relief and put my thumbs up to see if he was okay...The response wasn't good a shaking head and thumbs down. I watched as Jim and Joe looked at John, he was holding his shoulder. They looked at me and asked me to ferry across, which was directly on the other side...I wondered if I could make. I am not the confident on my ferry glides let alone to make another eddy horizontally across. I paddled as far up my eddy as I could, edged my boat and paddled as hard as I could...I made it.

It turned out John's shoulder had popped out and back in. I had the first aid kit so we give him some painkillers while we discussed options for continuing on. It was either Hiking out from here or paddling at least to the dead then reviewing there. John seemed confident he could make it to the bottom of the Enchantment..so we continued, John following Joe and Troy following him behind (because he had a creek boat).

The water had dropped and the last few ledges and rapids were scrapey and boney, but fun. At the bottom we sat in the eddy and watched the Dead flow by at an incredible speed.

This looked like it was going to be fun, we took a breather and then headed out. The first rapid was huge wave train, we whooped and screamed at the waves and each other. Our smiles were glowing.

I managed to get in front significantly and was mortified when I heard a whistle being blown...Joe was actually getting my attention, in the roar of the water I hadn't noticed everyone behind me eddy out. I looked for an eddy but everything was in the tree's. I came to a ledge and noticed a small safe eddy. I waited and waited, I couldn't see up stream. I was getting worried but held out, I noticed Joe come down, I came out of hiding and joined the group...mid stream I noticed we were missing John.

It turned out he had flipped in the first rapid and his shoulder had gone again, making it impossible for him to roll...thankfully Troy had give him the hand of God back up. After much deliberation in their eddy they decided it was too dangerous from him to carry on and he should hike off leaving his boat on the river bank. For a minute I felt bad for him, but we knew as a group we had made the right decision.

The Dead continued to be a huge rapid, with huge waves and relentless. My arms shook and abs ached and my smile was huge...My fantasy world hit again, when for all of 10 minutes the sun shined.

We came to a break in the rapids and Jim shouted for a break we managed to pull into a camp, The people looked at us as though we were crazy. We discussed how much more was to come and to our surprise we were finished and the rest was just a float down stream to the campsite.

As we took off our grins now a permanent fixture to our faces we hugged and congratulated each other for the first paddlers to run the Dead at this level 20,000 CFS.

BEERS all around, we had run 8 miles on the dead in 40 minutes.

They guys ran shuttle and we watched the time, Joe had advised it would take at least four hours for John to Hike out. Just as Jim and I agreed every half hour we'd drive up the trail to check, he walked in holding his shoulder. We tried to hide our enthusiasm for the river but it didn't work, he could see we had a great time...John didn't seem too disappointed he had enjoyed what he had done.

Saturday night we partied, drank beers and margaritas. Built a huge campfire, had great food...expertly cooked by chef Jim.

We chatted about how the weekend had turned perfect, besides the one issue of John. The combination of a creek and big water was perfect and almost unreal, how many times do people get to do this.

We awoke Sunday morning and discussed boat recover options, we opt for everyone hiking in with my boat and Jim would paddle John's kayak out. The river had dropped significantly we suspect to around 10,000 cfs.

We had arranged to meet some other kayakers, but they soon dropped us when they heard about our expedition.

We began the hike in, I was hooked up using my PFD to my kayak so I could pull it along. I think we were all thinking it was going to be along hike in. It actually didn't turn out that bad, we got down to the river level preying that no Raft company had picked up the kayak...we couldn't see it. Were we to low or to high??

I got down to the river level and looked up stream, I noticed a rocky ledge that resembled the eddy I had caught.

We decided I would stay put and put on from my position. Jim and John hiked up river. I was pleased to see 10 minutes later Jim floating by in a pink boat.

As we went through the first rapid we notice the river had significantly changed due to the lower water. There were more holes, each rapid required technical moves. It was hard going, but much more fun than the day before.

We kept looking for the Popular rapid knowing it was going to be hard and full of holes, we thought we had paddled it until we saw the P rock, Our stomachs knotted if the previous rapid was hard what was popular going to be like...it didn't disappoint a huge raging mass of white water with what felt and looked like dangerous and vicious waves on the left hand side, we still had technical moves to make. We eddied out below, our hands and arms shaking from then intense paddling. We looked at each other huge grins and hugged, and said "fantastic paddling".

The adrenaline was on a high even as we floated out, we were met by John at the takeout and I think he knew it was good we were both talking at 100mph and grins that brought sunshine to the dull cloudy day.

It took a few hours before the adrenaline subsided, even as we drove home our smiles still fixed to our faces...The last strange event of the weekend a second sighting of a moose and a patch of blue sky that followed us all the way home even when it rained hard...we kept thinking we would wake up from fantasy land and think it was a dream...it wasn't it was fantastic.

E.Branch Pemi
Friday May 27, 2005
Organizer: Luke Helrich
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: James Raboin

The choices for this Friday trip were E.B.Pemi or the Contootook, with New Hampshire getting the river pleasing rain that we were missing. Luke was pumped for the Pemi, and it was closer, so we hoped the gauge coorelation was right and headed east. The book description was right on, it looked a little low when we got there, but there was plenty of water for paddling.

We put in right at the footbridge at the parking lot for hiking, not wanting to walk up river. Right away the action started, boulder dodging and keeping with the main flow. There were lots of eddies, and plenty of nice whitewater down to the Loon Mountain Bridge. At that level it was nice class lll, with no scouting required. A few play waves are there to play on in that section, mine and Lukes mindset that day was river running, so we did not play much, to the dislike of Will, who rightfully said we should have surfed more.

At Loon Mountain Rapid, there is a horizon line, and we scouted, and ran the conservative line on the left side, there was just enough water on the end of it to get back right to the main flow. No incidents, expect my bruised ego later when thinking a few years ago I would have wanted to run the right side, now I find myself content to run the easier lines. Sucks getting old!

Below that, there is some awesome class lll whitewater, lots of fun maneuvering around rocks and holes. We did portage the old dam area, it looked a bit scetchy with rebar and logs in the river, and big holes if you missed those. Below a split island and under the bridge before the I93 bridge there was one beautiful wave we all tried surfing on, it is tall, steep, and fast.

We took out just below the confluence with the main Pemi, on river left. Good parking and a nice beach to pull up on. A great run to experience, we were all impressed by White Mountain whitewater and want to hit the Swift sometime!

Big Splash river festival flotilla
Saturday Jun 4, 2005
Organizer: Connecticut RiverFest
Difficulty: flatwater
Level: medium
Author: Bonna Wieler

Join the Saturday, June 4 Big Splash river festival flotilla for all, about 3 miles from Norwich Landing at 11am, to Wilder Picnic Area, site of the festival. Shuttle available from Wilder Picnic Area at 9:30, 10, 10:30am Saturday June 4.

50 exhibitors, international music, activities, boat builder, arts, alternative fuel and energy discussions, children activities all day 10:30-6:30.

Rt 5 to Gillette St by the church with the purple clock, to the river.

Geurilla Lower New Haven
Saturday Jun 18, 2005
Organizer: Dave
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low
Author: Dave

Finally we got some rain, and with Central VT getting the bulk of it, Bob and I were looking to expand our horizons and run something down that way. The lower New Haven seemed to be at a low Medium level, and that sounded perfect for a coupla first timers. I traded messages with Ryan and it turns out he turned up at the white church right on time. Bob and I hooked up with he and Matt, set the shuttle rig, so we hit it.

There were river wide strainers just at the corner below the Rt 117 bridge, so we carried just below them out of the back corner of the lot and put on. After snapping a few rolls in the eddy, because it's been a while, we rolled on down stream. It was a fun, bolder filled river that reminded me of the NBL. A little less tech., with some great surf on the fly. Matt was surfing his blunt like it was made for it, and led the rest of the group down thru for most of the run. The rest of us ran it in smaller boats and had no issues.

There was some more wood of note, a tree just below the surface that disguised itself as small ledge or horizon. After Matt bounced over it, the rest of the crew regonized it for what it was and were able to get around the root end on river left, but if the water was lower it might block the entire channel. It is located about half way thru the run, in the left channel of the river where it splits around what I think was the first Island. The right channel was just a trickle, so again, at lower levels this may not seem to be a fork at all.

At the most difficult rapid, a SHORT class III- at this level, bob and matt ran the meat, and ryan and I sneaked a river right line. From there it was II+ continuous to the take out under the next bridge.

Good trip to get my feet wet again, a river worth doing once, and at slightly higher levels worth doing again.

On a side note, we then watched Matt and his partner mac the Ledges. So THAT's what the Blunt is for. Nice boof Matt! I want a creeker!

Wild Br. of Lamoille
Saturday Jun 18, 2005
Organizer: E. Bishop
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low
Author: E. Bishop

I've wanted to paddle the Wild Br. for many years and Saturday I drove up assuming it would have enough water to paddle, and it did. Because the level had to be falling I just drove up the Craftsbury Rd. about 7 miles and put in on a side road bridge. Decided to gamble on the hitch hike shuttle after the run instead of before. For the first mile it was a narrow flat trout stream but once it passed under the Craftsbury ( or N. Wolcott) Rd. it dropped virtually continually for the next 4 or 5 miles. Low water and several nasty river wide strainers made this too difficult for beginners, in my opinoin. I was testing Molly's new PFD, and her ability to sit quietly in a solo open boat. She boated the slow parts and swam/ran most of the whitewater. The hitch hike shuttle was a total disaster. I walked almost 7 miles back to the car, while at least 100 cars drove by - a very large percent of the vehicles being pick-ups driven by a solitary male. If this isn't the sign of a culture in decline, I don't know what is. I also lost a very expensive paddle and have no clue where or now.

Independence Paddle Party
Friday-Monday Jul 1-4, 2005
Organizer: Cheryl Robinson
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

The weekend began Friday with various parties hitting Holebrothers Watertown NY at different points in the day. Simon and I arrived around 5:30 pm and spent a few hours enjoying the pool party atmosphere created by the local raft guides, surfing pool toys and drinking beer.

We arrived at RiverRun a little around 1am closely followed by other people in the party. I wasn't happy we had only packed basic summer gear and the Temp outside was 54c ...bloody cold. I prayed that this weather wasn't here for the whole weekend...I only had a shortie drytop.

We awoke Saturday morning to blazing sunshine and many eager paddlers only too willing to face the wrath of Phil's hole.

Day 1 Morning paddle...quick breakdown...a few people miss threading the needle line hit Phil's and take either a small or large beating...result some swimmers...me I hit the line, then lost total focus and swam into the next large hole Horseshoe...which left me with a nasty and thankfully the only injury of the weekend. (I missed two paddles because of that damn swim!).

The rest of the Main channel goes pretty uneventfully, large big fluffy bath water and we were all the little ducks happily playing around...does the saying "too much fun" exist?

Exhausted and hungry some of us resign to the fact we will only get to paddle once and enjoy the rest of the day drinking wine and relaxing...it's a hard life!!

Day 1 Afternoon paddle...oops we get back to camp rather late from the first paddle and discover Eric and Steph have arrived, given up all hope of us returning, and got on the river by themselves...Oh dear...the Ottawa has many channels, will they get the right channel?

The guys head out to catch them up and luckily catch them at the first rapid...They have a few surfs at the beautiful Baby face wave and head of down the main channel for another exciting but uneventful paddle.

Party Time. Saturday night was perfect. We had a huge cook out, lots of wine, Strawberry margaritas and beer. John and Eric entertained the crowd with their guitars and singing while Jim beat his African drum. It was great, fun and possible couldn't get any better except for a fly shelter...but we won't get in to that.

Day 2 Morning Paddle The crowd heads out minus a Cheryl (I had a nice lazy day with Ashley, the only none paddler of the group. We headed to the beach, nap chat, nap chat nap.). Two trips were made, one down the middle, a fairly easy but fun trip...nowhere near the excitement and thrill of the Main. The main group stopped at a rapid called Brain douche...a swirling eddy line full of whirlpools...the game who can get the biggest down time was formed, not in boats though swimming. Yes you heard right they were purposely swimming.

Day 2 Afternoon paddle. We all headed out again. including me and hit the river again. Some of us stay at baby face for park and play, (beating the queues that form during the day). While the rest head down for yet another paddle down the main.

The sunsets on yet another perfect day. Tired and exhausted there isn't much of a party scene tonight, but we did get a little campfire going and toasted our Marshmallows.

Interesting fact, did you know that if you throw a melted citronella candle on to the fire it is like throwing fuel on it...mmm where did all those little citronella candles go and why did my marshmallows taste like lemon??

Day 3 Three days of paddling had started to show on people. Some headed off home early others decided for a park and play at Baby face. Some of us decided to run the river again...some decided to take another beating in Phil's for the third day running..? (Not me, I was too scared to run it and took the sneak zoom chute).

The last paddle of the weekend was nice and relaxing, few incidents, lots of surfing and huge amounts of down time at brain douche....did anyone see Matt and Ann come up again??

The paddle ended with playtime at Farmer blacks...a trashy hole on one side and a wave on the other. Most of us played on the wave...while the hard core few took beatings in the hole...as we paddled off down stream we heard a cry of "get my paddle". We turned to see a paddler (who will remain anon), boat and paddle floating down stream,. Did we try to help...well not much, we laughed, giggled and pointed, telling him to pick himself up " how could he have let himself down and swam on the last surf"

On return to the campground the group dissipated and headed home...except for a small group who sat around enjoying a BBQ, the sun and taking it easy!! PERFECT.

Taureau
Saturday Jul 9, 2005
Organizer: Alden Bird
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Alden Bird

This past weekend we ran the Neilsen and Taureau rivers in Quebec. Both were very long and hard, and in the middle of nowhere - especially the Taureau. I think the Taureau has well over 100 rapids. It was absolutely remarkable. I got redemption this year - having for a year imagined the corrections that I would make in each painfully memorable rapid. This year I vowed things would be different - and they were. In the whole 8-hour day, I failed to flip over even once! For me, this was a great accomplishment.

The most memorable rapid was Logjam. We made a marathon scout along the right bank, swimming out to rocks to scout and assuaging the curiosity that had been nagging me for a year. Bobby and I dropped into the rapid together and solved the problem of the pillow move at the bottom. As we shook off the spray from the big waves and descended into the correct chute (which last year had been denied to me) I experienced a wonderful feeling - of teamwork, and of - peace.

Yet at the same time, this trip converted me into a Taureau expert and burned into my memory with clarity scores of rapids which had hitherto been merely haunting sketches - like when there is a great song that you can barely remember, yet which is that much more intriguing for each note you cannot recapture. The Taureau is less of a myth now and less fascinating, but it has already lifted me to great heights and thrown me for great losses. Maybe it is more intriguing now as a place to journey to every now and then to get what I want, again and again. Now that I know what is there, I can pass through with an eye towards pure enjoyment, rather than with fear and obsession.

On the paddle out (through long class III and IV rapids that seemed suspiciously now like rests) we saw two moose in the river. The Laurentians Mountains are the most spectacular when viewed from within, preferably while in a mellow, afternoon mood at the end of an 8-hour epic whose riddle one has solved, and while watching the mist rise above the high peaks that clump into formations above as if just for this, your victory lap at the end.

The next day we returned to Vermont and ran the New Haven and Middlebury rivers, with great crowds of sunbathing people at Toaster Falls. It was a far cry from the deep, tense isolation and the same two other faces I saw in the Taureau, but it was wonderful. The Middlebury in particular was at a juicy level and was indeed impressive to my out-of-town friends.

All in all, it was a enchanted time.

Pemigewasset
Saturday Jul 9, 2005
Organizer: Craig Carline
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium

Eve and I were to meet John at 10:00 AM but I was of course late to pick up Eve, and consequently late to meet John. John, being the good guy he is, said he had a huge cup of coffee and was quite content. We arrived at the take-out and there was no one there. I was quite shocked because when I ran the Pemi last year there were a lot of people there. We loaded up everything on my car and headed to the put-in. There we came across three other paddlers, one being Jimmy Maneksha who showed us down the Black River earlier this year. We introduced ourselves and then jumped on the river.

The metal gauge read about 1250 cfs. As we proceeded down we found this level to offer a lot of small surfing waves and we caught every single one we could find. There were many eddies as well to give you repeat service. We scouted the first big drop and decided to run it on the right. We could see a couple rooster tails and a couple holes that would need to be dodged on the left. That's one very wide and sticky looking hole at the top!

Shortly after this drop is another drop with a nice wave train. I saw people surfing here last year but the level didn't seem right to provide a good surf. We took turns peeling out into the wave train and riding it down and back to the eddy. We then proceeded downstream where there were more light Class II rapids and small waves/holes to surf. Eventually we wound up at the final rapid which is known as the local playspot. The river makes a sweeping turn to the right and goes over a couple ledges in the process, ending finally in a long big wave train. This was a very entertaining roller-coaster ride.

Geoff met us at the take-out as planned and John couldn't make another run so we again had three on our second run. The metal gauge this time read about 1600 cfs. The river definitely changed face with this extra water. All of our little surfing waves and eddies were gone. The first big drop looked friendlier with more water in it and the big hole at the top was becoming a wave. We decided not to scout and later regretted not running the left side of the drop. It was probably one of the few chances to try with a swim being not so bad.

The rest of the rapids went by very fast since there were few eddies or waves. The last drop's wave train was even bigger than before. Very fun! Geoff is one of those guys that can talk you into doing anything and an all around great guy to be on the river with. Geoff decided Eve needed to try his boat (Big Wheel) and they carried up to run the last rapid again, with Geoff taking her boat. I am waiting in the pool below for them to come through when I see a swimmer and then see Eve's boat in a mega-squirt through the whole rapid. Then Eve came down easily bouncing down the waves in the Big Wheel. It was a really funny sight! It's good to see Class IV boaters swim Class II rapids!

It was a great day on a great river with great friends. It wasn't a challenge for any of us but was a lot of fun nonetheless. With the river to ourselves and all the time in the world, we just goofed off and had fun. It was one of the days you just don't want to end. Add in a few osprey and heron fly-bys to the mix in a little nature and you have a great trip. Afterwards we hit the President's Grille for food. I think we'd all suggest it if you're in the area. The waitress said she knew we were paddlers by the look of us. Whatever could she mean?

The Pemi is a Class II river with some Class III lines if you want them. They are easily avoided if you don't. If you've paddled Class II at least 5-6 times I'd say the Pemi would be a good run for you. The rocks are somewhat sharp and the river is shallow in many areas so swimming isn't recommended. The next release is in August, I believe the 20th and 21st.

Boquet to Split-Rock Falls
Sunday Jul 10, 2005
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Tony Shaw

The AuSable feasibility study planned for today was a wash-out, or at least that would be my interpretation given the gauge reading at 7 am over 3400 CFS. This left Eric, Ryan, and myself looking for something saner to paddle.

The Adirondacks were an obvious choice, given how heavily it rained here all day Saturday, but we needed to be looking in a higher, smaller drainage. Enter the Boquet. Going only on Jamieson's text, which calls the North Fork Boquet "unrunnable" and the next 2.4 miles to Split Rock Falls "class III-VI", it seemed like a good bet for two aging open boaters and a kayaker we'd never paddled with before. LOL.

I don't want to bore you with the details. Suffice it to say the river flows with incredible clarity from one boulder seive to the next. Saturday's torrential rains here did nothing to affect the water clarity, remarkably. Given a gradient of 100 feet/mile and the amount of boulder congestion wherever it got steep, the only saving grace was that we didn't get to the put-in until almost noon, and the level was starting to fall into bonydom - maybe 150 cfs. By the time we reached the take-out it had fallen even more, and bonydom was the unanymous opinion. In between, we nailed a bunch of very narrow/steep drops ranging in height from 4-6 feet, and we picked our way laboriously through several wide/shallow segments.

I wouldn't recommend the upper Boquet to ANYONE lacking expert whitewater skills if the stretch along Rt. 73 near its junction with Rt. 9 is bank full, nor would ordinary paddlers think it much fun at 150 cfs. But WE did.

AuSable
Sunday Jul 24, 2005
Organizer: Simon Wiles
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Cheryl

The AuSable is a beautiful Chasm that is rated between class 3 through 5. The river has previously been closed to kayakers and other watercrafts except for the Ausable raft company which only run the short class 3 section.

Si took part in the 1st study and advised that we should sign up for the next one. I was a bit apprehensive as I knew nothing was portageable, river scouting was limited and to top it one of the rapids would be full of I beams.

The great thing was that I would be able to scout all the rapids from the Chasm company's grounds. If I decided not to run it I could do so before I even got in my boat...Once your on your on..you can't take off.

We met up with Tony Shaw and another paddler called Marcus and agreed this would be our group for the river.

I am going to skip most of the part where we spent a good 2 hours talking, filling in forms and scouting the rapids.

Tony and I walked along the chasm and eagerly eyed up every rapid and discussed the lines, and where we would need to take out to scout. I think Tony had already decided to run it; I scouted the last one and knew I wanted to be a part of the river.

We were the 2nd group to put on, and it is quite intimidating having the organizers watching and filming your every move, heightened by the fact hundreds of tourist are eagerly watching at the little duck (us) 100ft below shouting and cheering at us...

The first drop (4) which can be seen from the road was a beautiful two stage drop then straight down through a series of three holes. Very fun and the group in front took advantage of running it a few times before we got there.

The next drop (4) and probably the hardest were made even more difficult by the fact no sneak chute existed at this low level. By the time we had scouted, the other groups were catching up. We watched intently has a few paddlers opted for the gnarly line and survived...me I ran the top section, quickly eddied out and did a grade 5 portage round enabling me to run the bottom of the rapid (4) a fun steep set of ledges forming various holes with a run out that conveniently smashes in to a wall. This was actually easier to avoid than it looked.

Then final rapid (4) came up probably a little too quickly. On this one I was glad I scouted from above. Scouting at river level wasn't too easy; we opted to scout from our boats.

The difficulty of this rapid is heightened by two nicely I beams that have washed into it.

The first stops you making a nice easy ferry to the right, the second and larger one comes in if you miss that ferry because the water pushes you right towards it.

I personally had a bit of a panic at the top of this not only because I knew I had to nail the line, but the last part of it is a really nasty hole that pushes water into a slight undercut.

I was glad but sad the hardest part was over.

Paddling through the reminder of the chasm was beautiful; it felt such an honor to be part of a minority being able to run the river.

After a man made chute that the AuSable chasm has created to entertain rafter and Tubers (they put in below the last rapid), the river pretty much goes flat. We were concerned that as the river widened the water flowing would not be enough to get out...it was bare minimum and we managed to scrape out.

The day was perfect and I was pleased to discover Tony was the first canoeist and I was the first female to run the chasm.

FANTASTIC, if you have the chance to run this go, play a part in the study and have fun...watch out the organizers insist you scout before you run. The scouting costs $11 because you have to go in to the AuSable Chasm trails.

Deerfield River Fest/Fife Brook Group
Friday-Sunday Jul 29-31, 2005
Organizer: Cheryl/Eve
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium high
Author: Eve

We all got an early start Friday morning. Too early, in fact, so we had coffee while we waited for water. Friday proved to be a great day; the water level was about 700CFS, but there were few people there. We had the river to ourselves for most of the day. Kim had an especially productive morning and decided she would run Zoar Gap with us. Unfortunately, she followed me...right over a rock. She had her first successful Gap swim - a right of passage for any novice boater! Norm also banged himself up pretty good, but we all got through with smiles intact.

Saturday, we had the "Chica Paddle" before the official ladies paddle. More water, more people. Kim had a pretty nasty swim in pinball, driving home both the necessity for swiftwater rescue knowledge and the need for a good helment. She shook it off though, got back in her boat and finished the run! (Much to our admiration!) To our delight, she took photos of all of us running Zoar Gap. Kristie had a great Gap run that day. Her first clean run!

Sunday was the official Ladies' Paddle. The day started off cold, rainy and ominous. Kim, Deb and I met Emily and Carissa (friends of Cheryl's) and Matt for the day. It was a great day, even if our girl party was crashed by a boy! The last day was a day of firsts - Deb showed off her offside ferry, Kim showed her conservative side (and was "One Swim Kim" for the day), and I nailed a roll in the Gap and didn't swim!

All in all - a good time indeed!

Malbaie/Penobscot
Thursday-Tuesday Aug 11-16, 2005
Organizer: Alden Bird
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Alden Bird

"If it hadn't been for that, this would have been all too routine," I kept thinking. Our trip began with the long drive to Maine, followed by a quick run down the Kennebec, which was notable for Preston's surfing every single wave but one, and for our mutual failed attempts to attain a decent surf from Big Momma.

That night we met up with a friend and were treated to a huge dinner by her family and a party that carried well on into a night that became gradually more intoxicated and less memorable (in the sense of an inability to recall it) for all its participants.

Next day we made our way to the Penobscot and ran into some creeking friends from CT. We then ran the Rip Gorge/Cribworks section twice in its entirety, including about four runs each of the Cribworks itself. Indeed the river was at a nice, full level of 3,300 cfs which made for big water much like our home river, the Potomac.

That night we drove to Quebec, passing several moose on the way, learning French from pairing it to familiar things, and meeting up with Cooley at 1 am. From there we drove down an "endless" (in Cooley's words) dirt road into the deep wilderness and finally made camp at 2am "right on schedule" (in my words).

The next day we got completely lost trying to find the shuttle road and had to enlist the in-broken-English help of local man Girard (in all truth we didn't learn his name, but we fashioned one for him from the rags of familiar Quebec ones). Either way, we found our way down the terrifying take out road, left a car, and made the difficult 45 minute hike into the river. After running several good rapids, we came to the 30-foot waterfall. "Alden, you have just redeemed yourself!" was spoken at least several times, and also, "I no longer hate you as much, dude." We all fired it up and took multiple runs and got some good video. From there we ran the rest of this splendid river, and even managed to find the take out, though it caused me untold worry which I will describe at a later date to all who are backed into a corner when I approach.

We made camp and the next day ran the river again, though only the top 3.5 miles. It was a beautiful day in this faraway place deep in the Laurentians. The warm breeze blew down the canyon and dried us each time we rose from our boats and got out on the red slabs to scout or take photos. At the end of the day I was happy to find myself in the back seat of Rick's car, white cheddar cheese-its in hand, headed to camp.

After that, I ran out of gas just as we got back on the paved roads (there had been much worry of this previously . . . ) We tried to siphon gas with a homemade technique, and it nearly worked. Unfortunately all that happened was that Preston and I sucked in a lot of gasoline fumes through our hose and nothing else. Rick and I sped down 55 km to civilization, got some gas, and returned an hour later to fill up the tank.

From there we parted with Cooley and returned to Maine, where we made more runs down the Penobscot, fell asleep in public several times at the restaurant due to advanced fatigue, had a moose saunter through our camp, and even managed to eat fresh moose burgers (actually that was while in Quebec, and is also another story . . . ) After that, we retreated to Connecticut, and then finally back to the reailty of Bethesda, MD and Arlington, VA for Alden and Preston, respectively. I hope the pictures can tell the tale better than I.

Ottawa Paddle Party No 2
Friday-Sunday Aug 12-14, 2005
Organizer: Jim P
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low
Author: Cheryl

What do you get when you have 40 bottles of beer, 1 bottle of wine, 3 bottles of Mudslide and half a litre of Vodka?

Eight very sickly looking paddlers...and that was only one night. For more information read on.

The weekend began with a race up the I40...who would get there first? We arrived at the put in a little after 7pm and headed straight to baby face. We met by the rest of the crew who until an hour ago had the wave to themselves...We surfed until the light faded and a chill in the air meant the water temperature was warmer than the air.

We set up camp in a rather orderly fashion and commenced drinking...it wasn't late but our raucous laughing was rudely interrupted by a women wearing pink pajamas. Nice and politely reminding us that our voices were carrying quite far and did we understand?

We understood perfectly fine...but it didn't stop us ,we just took our party to the Bar ..All I can say is what happens in the bar stay's in the bar...it did involve lots of drinking, a pool table and Kayak porn...what more does anyone want.

Saturday at 6.30am a hardcore crew of five left the campsite leaving the remainder crew sleeping soundly.

We put on to a deserted river the sun just rising and the mist floating just above the water..it was serene...not for long. We ripped it up on Baby face for a few hours until our bodies began to feel hunger pangs and muscles ached from the repetitive hard paddling.

Back at camp we ate a hearty breakfast a short nap then returned to the river with a full crew.

This time we did a full run, we played at every spot possible. It was perfect, a great crew, a great river and fantastic weather.

We won't mention the silly swimmer at Baby face...In his shame we left him to rescue himself and he bore the brunt when John G dedicated a whole song to the swim.

Simon decide to break his paddle half way down, and amazingly paddled out with half a paddle still cart wheeling and bow stalling every where. Don't you just hate people like that...

Saturday night...party night 40 bottles of beer, 1 bottle of wine, 3 bottles of Mudslide and not forgetting the vodka. We had a beautiful campfire, egged on with the new pyrotechnics of citronella candles....who could get the best flames...we all did when we did a co-ordinated effort...it is a good job they don't let us loose with fireworks.

John G provided us with the Johnny G-spot renditions, classic time less and bloody good. Jim chirped up with some hilarious pig poems...don't ask!! Just think pigs and poop.

Then as the night wore on and the numbers dwindled four of us found ourselves at the bar again...this time in the hot tub, with beers a plenty things got wet...very wet. As said previously what happens at the bar stays at the bar.

Sunday rose with a headache, shakes and fevers. The campsite was littered with reminders of the night before (picture to be provided). At 7.30 am a crew hit the two park and play spots...the rest of us tried to recover in vain. What happened at one of the playspots is unknown, but it involved a lady and John G, some great river side manner (as the letter she left him said) some body realigning and a kiss. He returned later that date with a letter and a tart left for him by her...Johnny G-spot isn't his name for no reason!!

We all managed to drag our selves out for the final paddle of the weekend....It turned out to be the best run yet, I had my best surf at baby face which included my first ever blunt, I then wowed the crowd at Garb with my first ever surf . I flipped immediately rolled up on the wave back surfing, flat spun around and surfed the wave like a pro...the crowed loved it ...my first ever cheers and whoops!!

We all had so much fun, it seemed sad that the weekend was ending. The muscles were aching, the eyes were sleepy and I was still shaking from the after affects of the alcohol.

The drive home seemed to take for ever.

Beaverfest
Thursday-Monday Sep 1-5, 2005
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Alden Bird

At least to get all this paddling, briefly, down on paper. Let's see, the first day I did Fish Creek in NY. Actually, the river was very high and the folks I met at the take out bridge opted to run a side creek instead. Somewhat disappointing.

Next day Jake and Rick and I hiked 3 miles up the trail and ran John's Brook in Keene Valley. 5 miles of Big Branch style boulder gardens. Jake fired up the usually-portaged drop and impressed me deeply by acing it.

After that, we drove over and took a fast, sweet run down the Middlebury Gorge and then some runs off Otter Creek Falls.

Next morning we woke and Rick and I took a quick run down the Middlebury again and I experienced one of the most rewarding moments in my short boating career.

For years I have been making due with a right stroke while going off the waterfall (Fallopian) in the heart of the Middlebury. It never works. Since I am a right-handed canoeist, it is very difficult for to me make the hard move to the right off the waterfall. Consequently I often end up in the dangerous river-left "room" that is hard to escape.

But on this day, I broke through. I finally gathered the courage to try a cross-bow boof off the 15-foot Fallopian. I let Rick go first, so he would be ready to pick up the pieces if necessary. I caught the eddy just above the lip (not frickin easy - I almost fell out backwards!) and looked over my shoulder. Since we were in the depths of the unportageable section of the gorge, nobody could have watched me visibly psyching myself up. Years ago I climbed in to scout the waterfall and it took almost 30 minutes of dicey rock-climbing moves to get to the edge of the cliff above. So as I held onto the cliff while bobbing in the eddy on this day, it was just me up in there and I was a little on edge to say the least.

My mind was not exactly made up when I peeled out. At times like this, I think of a former kayaking friend who used to say, "I'll make a game-time decision." Yet when I got to the edge, it felt right. I went for it.

The water was low. I was worried about landing upside down - so little balance does the crossbow offer in turbulent water. Still, I knew that Rick was down there and that made me feel safe.

I came around the corner. No speed. I twisted my body into a pretzel - cross bow. I grabbed the lip with my paddle as I started to fall and swung as much leverage into the blade as I could, my whole frame propped over the edge with no brace, 15 feet off the deck for a split second. I flung out from the falls seemingly the same as always and landed and braced for the inevitable explosion of white tonage on my stern and the inevitable combat roll that would be demanded of me.

It never came. I landed clear of the falls - miraculous! - safe in the coveted river right eddy - right next to Rick. I shrugged. I couldn't believe it had worked. It didn't feel that different. It reminded me of when someone gives you gapingly common-sensical advice, like, "Maybe if you just talk to her," and then you wave your hand, "No, that would never work!" But then, miraculously - it does.

We had to do another run! Rick didn't want to. But then Scott and another guy showed up and we just HAD to join them.

We did not catch a single eddy in the whole first mile through the upper gorge until we were above the waterfall. I was last in line. I watched everyone disappear down the hole-in-the-wall slot that leads to the long, flip-you rapid that pours through the notch-in-the-cliff that is Fallopian Falls. At the lip I took one cross bow stroke to correct my angle -- and then another on a "delayed boof" as I tilted downward. Again, I landed flat -- this time indisputably far (even for my own instincts) away from the white, falling water.

After that, the rest of the run was glorious. There is nothing that compares to a familiar, magnificent river in the company of (low-key) old friends who are just as blissfully lost on their own adventures as they are keeping an eye on you from 10 feet away while bombing the rapids and sliding off boof rocks like skiers off jumps.

After that we met up with everyone else and headed over to NY and ran many more rivers: the Boquet, Ausable, Oswegatchie, the Moshier, Eagle and Taylorville sections of the Beaver, and the Raquette.

The trip ended with a ferry ride across Lake Champlain at Essex at sunset on Monday. Nice way to relax and unwind after a great deal of whitewater.

See you on the river.

Beaver Fest Part 2
Friday-Monday Sep 2-5, 2005
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

My stomach churns, my hands are sweaty...I am thinking about running a huge technical drop...I am actually day dreaming. The sickening feeling is my car sickness taking a hold. The miles and miles of dirt road are starting to take its toll.

"Where the hell are we?" I impatiently shout at Simon "nearly there" he replies.

An hour later we arrive at the SoftMaple campground.

I am excited we have three days of solid boating ahead and it all begins here..

Taylorville

Si "advised a nice easy grade3" lulling me into false sense of security. I learnt early on in paddling not to read guide book descriptions. They are just there to scare you into not running anything other than grade2.

Our first run wasn't pretty. We were the first on the river and somehow three of us ended up in the same hole at the same time. One swimmer, mangled bloody knuckles and a good trashing wasn't a good start to the day!!

I think we even managed to scare some of the kayakers watching, who wisely decided to put in below the first drop.

The next drop...The slide..wow 30ft of pure pleasure only to be thrown right into a hole at the bottom...we survived this one unscathed and upright.

The next rapid ate me for dinner and spat me out with a black eye. It obviously didn't like the taste of an English chick.

The rest of the run we had a swimmer here and there. The whole run was fantastic drop, pool slide pool drop pool drop pool...play spot the perfect river.

We did a second run and revenged it big time, and we even ran the slot chute a couple of times for fun.

Afterwards I read the guidebook Dennis's description perfectly describes it.

While most of us headed back to Camp to lick our wounds and cleanse them from the inside with Alcohol. Si and a few others headed out to the Oswagatchie.

Day 2 Moshier

You know it is going to be a good river when your paddling with the likes of Freddie Corriel, Justin Beckwith and Alden Bird!!

Freddie wowed everyone with his grace and finesse by running a supposedly unrunnable nasty first slide, clean and uneventful.

First was a nice clean 12ft waterfall, which was great to practice the boof stroke and get the muscles warmed up.

The second a waterfall followed by two nasty holes...scary so I portaged!!

After a couple of grade 3+ rapids the Encore arrived a long grade 5 rapid...but where was the water?? Oops it looks like we got ahead of ourselves.

When the water arrived the drop was run over and over again...I watched from the bank...The lines looked fairly clean, I was tempted...okay maybe next year.

On the second run the water was higher and the last hole had kayakers for Lunch breakfast and dinner and even two at time...serious carnage!!

Eagle...

Well I didn't even bother kitting up for this. I watched in amazement as paddler after paddler like a line of lemmings run through this narrow grade 5 run....it looked fun, and scary.

It is a steep, rocky, narrow, ledgy run all in one, it is a steep creek lovers dream.

The carnage was minimal, but when it did happen the unfortunate kayaker got cheered and clapped from the huge crowd that had come to watch "those crazy people".

The final day had arrived and I was thankfully that a group consensus enabled us to paddle at Taylorville one last time...That is definitely one of my favorite rivers now. With my boofing perfected I nailed my lines like a dream. The highlight was running the 30ft slide a couple of times.

We then moved on to Raquette. Alden hadn't run it before, and I felt kinda sorry for him when the group decided he wouldn't be allowed to scout anything...on that note I volunteered to be the groups shuttle bunny...I have run the Raquette before, but I am not confident enough not to scout. So I sat in the sun, borrowed a Dog and stuffed myself on cookies and beer...it's a hard life.

The guys on the other hand raced down the river two times...I think they almost ran out of water on the second run.

They came armed with tales of fist fights in eddies and broken boats from badly run waterfalls (none of them were our group).

Huge smiles, beers and new friendships ooh and cookies seemed to be the perfect ending to the weekend!!

WARNING the English are taking over!!! I was surprised at the amount of English paddlers I met over the weekend...

Gauley Fest "Back of the Hand"
Wednesday-Monday Sep 21-26, 2005
Organizer: Jon
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

The anticipation grew with every hour of driving...that's a lot when it's 14hours worth.

The van bulging with kayak gear and essentials...like beer, mudslides and wine (we decided it was safer to leave the Vodka at home). No tents, camping gear or food we spent the weekend in Luxury, hotels and restaurants. (Totally out of character for us kayakers). Do you know how good it feels to sleep on a real bed after a hard days kayaking??

7 kayakers set out on weekend that was about to become one the best paddling experiences each of us had ever had....I sit here a week later saddened by the fact I am here writing about it and not still in West Virginia paddling 

The last few times the crew has gotten together I have seriously influenced them with my Team America sayings "J.T.F.C" and "B.F.L" but this weekend was different we needed something new...and so I introduced an old favorite "The back of the Hand" said with the chosen hand slightly raised and flat with the back pointing at the person receiving it.

"The back of the hand" would be given to anyone who was cheeky, disobedient, not listening, taking bad lines or hole beatings, bad driving and not drinking enough. So you guessed it, it was used frequently...we even got Lisa a pacifist to raise the hand...yeehaa!!

A plan was hatched. Friday Lower Gauley, Saturday Upper Gualey for Jim & Jon, The rest Lower Gauley. Sun Upper Gauley and the New....perfect.

Saturday Morning. We awoke early to a bag of nerves. My stomach churned my hands were sweating and I hadn't even left the hotel room...where Lisa sat nervously quiet refusing to leave the bed.

To get to the put in wasn't exactly easy...but we opted on recommendation by locals for an easy route. We watched as our boats catapulted at 100 MPH through the trees knocking Jim down in the process and somersaulted on the road below (Jon honest that dent in the end of your new boat wasn't from this, it was already there (sweet smile))...I just hoped my boat would forgive me on the river.

I had read a basic description of the river; I knew the first and major last rapid would be the hardest.

We stood on shore and looked downstream at the first rapid...we couldn't see it, we could see the huge rock that we already knew was DANGEROUS and UNDERCUT (like every other huge rock on the Gauley). We watched as the little duckies and lemmings of kayakers followed one by one into the unknown.

No Matter how much we tried, the hour long shuttle, the huge walk to the put in, taking our time putting our gear on...we could no longer hold off putting on the river. It was TIME.

Only Jim and Jon showed any signs of being relaxed...but then Jim is always relaxed and laid back. I am glad he knew the river and was leading us down, he also was the only one in a creek boat. He didn't need to worry about anything.

We approached the first rapid and I watched how everybody headed right towards the big rock...I didn't fancy any of that side and picked my own route down the center. I caught the eddy at the bottom and realized the crew was on the other side. I thought for a minute, if this was one of the hardest rapids it was going to be a fun day. I joined the line for the play hole and unsuccessfully made two attempts to get in...I gave up embarrassed at my defeat...But I did make up for it on the second play spot.

The rest of the river was made up of a variety of rapids ranging from ledgey slot drops to long rapids full of big wave trains. The odd rapid was made excited by catching eddies on the fly...Okay guys yes I really did mean to catch that eddy below the slot drop...Honest!! or going down the "unusual lines" as discovered later we had taken some unconventional lines down some of the rapids.

Remember this PSH...standing for Pure Screaming Hell...the single most dangerous rapid on the lower Gauley...remember this has you will be tested later...or at least a couple of people were!!

Jim navigated us through this difficult rapid like it was a class 2 (shame I couldn't remember that line the next day).

The paddle ended with lots and lots of flat and a huge disappointment when we discovered we were at the wrong take out and would have to paddle a further mile down stream. At the days we were pleased with our paddle and celebrated in our usual style with copious amounts of alcohol.

Day 2 "bye Jim, Jon hope you have a great day on the upper!!"

The rest of us hit the lower again. No nerves today, we knew what expect, we knew each rapid...so it should have been easy. Well it was for most of us...poor Kendall, poor Kendall.

The first rapid has a beautiful 5 boat play hole at the bottom. The day before I had failed to get in. Today I took one attempt and quickly retreated. The water was lower making it humongously stickier. I watched amazed when Kendall surfed out in to the pit and began to rip it up like a pro....what a cool boater chick she looked. The guys whooped and cheered...until a look of terror came across her face, her cry for "I can't get out". Was met with lots of helpful half laughing hints of "surf to the left"...she just couldn't bring it round...1 minute passes..she still surfing and window shading, 2 minutes pass a hero tries to bump her out flipping them both she loses her paddle...but she is still side surfing hands thrown in the air in disbelief...the hero washes down stream. 3 minutes pass and she window shades for the last time pulling her deck and flushing down stream....You rocked Kendall.

Lisa and I take turns to lead the river. Everything is going perfect, Sun is shining, the water is warm and except for Kendall's one incident (which doesn't count because she was playing) every one was having a great run. Ian and I even opted to run the infamous Cliff drop...a narrow chute that curls and pillows next to another undercut rock forming a huge hole. The kayakers were making it look easy. Catch the eddy on the left, surf back out on the reactionary turning down stream to miss the hole....easy...yep it was that easy. We both cleaned it...except my one little roll at the end.

This day was proving to be better then the first we hoped Jon and Jim were having just as much fun.

PSH test time...do you remember?? Well I didn't and I was leading. I remembered the two holes...but couldn't remember the line from the day before. I decided to run and read. I opted to skim the right side of the top hole use the corner of it to spin me to face upstream which would allow me to use the slack water behind to paddle hard and ferry above PSHH (pure screaming hell hole...which for the record is not only HUGE, but next to an undercut rock" the guide book states here a swim could be fatal) and in to the big eddy on the left. I made it...I didn't think it was difficult. But I watched in horror how quickly things can go wrong and how timing is critical. Kendall was following closely behind, behind her was Rowan. Kendall followed my line but went slightly left taking her straight in to the top hole causing her to immediately violently window shade continuously. Rowan followed; but the change in the hole caused by Kendall in there allowed him to get straight through unscathed. I rummaged through my pockets quickly pulling my whistle out. I blew hard to warn paddlers and rafters to stop...they kept coming and coming. Over the roar apparently they didn't hear me.

Kendall swam and thank the River Gods she made it safely in to the left eddy avoiding the PSHH. After some (lots of) coaching and asking everyone in kayaks to leave the eddy to give us some space. We managed to get her safely down the rest of rapid by PSHH. I felt immensely guilty at the situation. I had many after thoughts I should have done this and that. There was a safer easier left line which would have completely avoided the holes...I should of taken it being the leader...but I saw the hero line and wanted it with no regards for the paddlers following me.

With another hole beating, Kendall had certainly been our offering to the river gods that day. Shaken, but thankfully unhurt, a bootie short and boat minus outfitting. Kendall amazingly put back on the river to finish it...Wow you go girl.

I did get about five "back of the hands" from Kendall for that.

We arrive back at the hotel and we waited patiently for Jim and Jon to tell us their adventures. I was so eager to paddle the upper on Sunday so much that I couldn't bear it if they had a bad day.

Jim walked through the door smiling..."I swam honey and walked" "excuse me rewind say again" It turned out many offerings had been given to the Rivers Gods on the upper gauley.

Jim repeated "I swam on the second rapid, flipped a bunch so decided to get off"

I replied "stop joking Jim, tell the truth"

Jim: "that is the truth, I just wasn't feeling it so walked".

Our jaws dropped, if Jim walked or should I say climbed and dragged himself out, it wasn't good. The plans for the upper were shelved ...or at least till next time.

Jon however despite a few incidents (offerings), managed to tag along with some strangers. Who oblivious to him were two world class play boaters. Who had run the river many times...They took an unawares Jon down all the difficult lines...boofing this boofing that. Poor guy no wonder he was so tired (or is that an ageing thing??)

Festival Night...no beer unless you scrounged it from the stands...but about 8000 paddlers had gathered. I had never seen a festival like it. Any gear you wanted you could get there...we walked out empty handed (they had sold out of the Gauley shirts we wanted) and returned to the hotel looking for more alcohol to numb and ease our aching bodies.

Sunday, the plan was to get up early run the New, then for those who had energy left paddle the lower Gauley again (why was it only me that wanted this and why did I get the back of the hand every time I mentioned it). It was funny how conveniently long it took us to put on the New....was there a conspiracy going on behind my back??

The New was extremely low and the drops were more creeky than the Gauley although much easier. We decided I would run most of the drops first so I could take pictures of everyone else.

At the second drop I cautiously paddled out to where I thought I could see enough of the drop. I had watched the kayakers in front run it hard left, but I saw a clear chute down the centre. I paddled hard, dropped of the ledge through a small hole then to my surprise I was hurtling (sliding) across a flat rock at top speed them plopped elegantly of it. To the surprise of about 20 kayakers in the eddy wondering where the hell I had come from. I quickly reviewed the rapid and decide the left line would be the best for everyone else. I set up camera and snapped away...still to the amazement of the kayakers still staring at me. One asked if I had run this before. I replied "nope this is my first time on the river" he shook his head in disbelief and started laughing "did I usually run things like this?", I laughed back and said " not usually, but today I am the probe"

The New river was beautiful and the perfect last paddle for the weekend (although if had my way we would have done the lower, I am not being resentful at all... "back of the hand" to the rest of the crew for that)

Sunday evening we had the best meal all weekend if you ever down there go to Fayetteville and go to Sonoma grill...fantastic food. Our bellies full our eyes sleepy, we headed back to the hotel...pretty much ready for bed. But that would have been too easy and boring, nope we decided to finish the beers (so we didn't have to carry them back) and read stories...yes it was like children's reading time, each of us taking turns to read stories, ranging from Pig Shit, Raft shit and best of all Paddle shit.

Regardless of the noise, laughter and jumping, sleeping beauty slept through it all...but then she slept pretty much anywhere at anytime.

West Virginia, the place where kayakers can live the dream...yeah right, if only we didn't have to work to pay for the toys and trips.

Mill Brook, Jericho
Saturday Oct 8, 2005
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Tony Shaw

I get my hopes up for a Mill Brook trip with every soaking summer rain that's forecast, but most of these fail to bring sufficient rain to raise Mill Brook to a fun level, or they bring it up overnight and by the next morning it is too low to enjoy. Small creeks in small drainages are like that.

Although it can still be bony in the class II boulder gardens in the lower reaches, and there will always be a handful of impenetrable logjams that must be lifted around, Mill Brook is otherwise a micro-creeker's dream - tiny, lovely, away from the road, and with a slew of scoutable/runnable ledges over its 5 mile course. For the first time we chose a put-in alongside Nashville Rd. about a mile above the usual Field Lane put-in. The slog through an alder thicket to river's edge was a challenge, but our first descent of the high ledge drop just downstream made it worthwhile. This day also marked the first time we all attempted to run the hydro-project ledge, and only one of us got turned the wrong way (if you know what I mean). When it is not riffling along as class I or rock-dodging class II, Mill Brook is decidedly pool-drop in character. One "got worked" and needed to swim out of the hole at the base of the falls just above the Tarbox Rd. bridge, which is usually not that sticky.

I have been paddling Mill Brook since the late '80's. The first time was in a tandem canoe no less, and we carried everything. Today, for the first time, I can say that I have run ALL of the drops on Mill Brook without a swim (though never all on the same outing)!

My personal caranage
Saturday Oct 15, 2005
Organizer: Cheryl
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

The day began out superb, albeit cloudy. I was about to paddle with my favorite buddies and a few extra bringing the group total up to 16.

We were putting on the lower Moose. I was excited because last year I had done it really low. This year there was water and lots of it, but I knew I wasn't going to be pushing my limits.

We played around near the put in. I was pleased that I managed to surf my creek boat, I felt the day was going to be good. I confidently ran the next drop picked the perfect line and carefully sat in the eddy and watched everyone else come down like a line of lemmings.

We came to Tannery, which is one of the more substantial rapids on the Lower Moose. We took off to scout. While scouting I watched as a couple of kayakers including some of our own group chose a line towards the center which dropped you in to an eddy. The line looked worse than it actually was.

I chatted with the group and we eyed up a sneak on the hard right and at the same time I noticed a sweet tongue through the holes. The holes were munching and but were not tremendously huge but definitely on the sticky side.

We scouted the rest of the rapid and noted the next major ledge could only be run down the centre tongue to avoid any carnage with the river wide hole.

As we walked back I began to scout the line between the top two holes. I ran it over and over in my head I picked key points knowing if I decided to run it there was no margin for error.

Nobody else seemed keen on my line so we agreed Lisa would run the center line, Jim the sneak and I would follow warning everybody I may decided to change from Jim's line and commit to my own.

I followed about 2 ft behind Jim, I looked below and the line looked too tempting to pass up the opportunity. I knew I could make it. In my head I knew I had to come down the tongue with my bow facing slightly right, brace on to the kicker, which would in all accounts kick me right, just behind the hole. Allowing me to use the slack water behind to set up for my next maneuver.

I watched Jim go right and I knew once I was left of my key rock I was committed! I committed. I paddled down the tongue my bow slightly right braced off the kicker and then all hell broke loose! Had I miss judged the slack water? Had I not hit the kicker right?

I was now in the hole in my kayak. I wasn't too concerned I rolled the boat up and began to side surf. However the violence of the hole had literally forced me to side surf lying on my back deck. My skirt stretched at max as the bow went down the force of water began to peel the skirt off around the rim'S!%t ... s!%t! No problem the hole wasn't huge so I thought it would just release me! Things went from bad to really f*!^ing bad!

I tried to move in the hole but every time I tried either to surf or dive I would be violently flipped. This wasn't good ... everything I had been taught was not working. I tried to hold my head above the surface so I could see what was happening around me ... Jim was out of his boat.

For some stupid reason I began to scream 'Help' even though my brain was telling me to calm down and be rationale and save my breath.

The next few moments seem to take for ever. I was continuously being bashed and beaten around in the hole ... towards the end I began to think every breath would be last! My vision was starting to blur, my breaths were short and felt like fire. My body felt like it had begun to shut down - I tried to relax in the hope if I relaxed the water would some how force me out.

I looked at the surface only to see the throw line down stream!

I irrationally screamed 'help' I was annoyed at myself for wasting my possibly last breath.

From the bank. Jim and Martha had witnessed my entrance it to the hole and assumed as I had that it would quickly release me. They scrambled from their boats when they realized I was in a bad situation. Jim became frustrated that when he threw the rope at me I would disappear under water and resurface behind the hole.

They watched helplessly as despite the fact it looked like slack water, the hole would take me for my next down time.

I knew they were throwing me a line so every time I went down I tried to keep my hands above the surface so they could see I was still trying to catch the line.

The thoughts running through my head ranged from 'God if this is my time to go, please don't make it any more painful I want it to be quick'

Oh f!%^ what must be going through my friends' heads watching me struggle in here, f!%^ why should they have to witness this?

This is it - this is my last breath - it hurts so much ...

My relaxation or something must have worked - I flushed out.

They reckon I was in the Hole for over a minute. They had time to throw one throw line twice!

After coming out of the hole I wasn't out of danger - I was still at the top of the rapid. John B tried to get me on his stern - my lack of breath/energy and the strength of the water just ripped me away and carried me down stream.

As I was carried down stream I gasped for every little bit of air I could get, terrified that I may end up in the next hole! Thankfully I was cleanly swept down stream, I don't remember if I hit anything. My body whole system felt like it was on shut-down, it was totally unresponsive to any actions I asked it.

I hit the pool at the bottom where John immediately let me grab his bow then stern. He was too tired to paddle me in so between him and another boater I rested until a raft that had witnessed it all dragged me on board and took me to shore. (they had also rescued my kayak).

My lungs felt like they were on fire, I could barely breath still.

In my dazed state on shore too weak to cry I was grateful to be alive and for the quick thinking of people around me.

In a good rationale decision I decided to take off. Two days later I am still hurting - but I am so thankful for everyone who helped in the rescue - even for the Hugs and Tears at the end.

Unfortunately for the rest of the crew the day continued in the same manner .. carnage after carnage, the lower Moose Gods were certainly at large.

Joe's Brook (Massacre)
Sunday Oct 16, 2005
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium high
Author: Tony Shaw

It seems whenever we've run Joe's Brook in the past we are left saying: "It would be nice with 6 more inches of water". Well...this day was an occasion to experience those extra 6 inches of water...and then some!

For Dan and Dave, recent emmigrants from Philly and Portland, OR., respectively, this was their first Joe's Brook trip. I can only imagine their horror when their fearless open-boat leader (me) and his trusty open-boat sidekick (Eric) accelerated cockily over the first faint horizon line without scouting and proceeded to both ~simultaneously flip and swim! I am no mathemetician, but it seems to me the length of a rapid most certainly varies with how high up in it you SWIM! All I remember is glancing over to my right now and then to be sure Eric was doing OK, and then finding the adreneline rush I needed to self-rescue not one canoe...but two (a first for me)!

The rest of the ride to the Greenbanks Hollow covered bridge was uneventful, though Dan in particular voiced his unease over the brook's tendency to pick up speed around every blind corner and how this has deposited several strainers in hard-to-avoid places along the way.

It was too juicy a level to consider running the steep Covered Bridge section or the gorge section below Morses Mills, in my opinion, at least for open boats. So we loaded up the gear, scouted the tail end of the gorge section on foot, and then shuttled down to "Bottom Joe's" - the seldom run last 2 miles to the Passumpsic. Even this section (considered tamer than those above), gave the open boaters some difficulty. After one short swim here, I had a chance to see how well my canoe can side-surf holes ALL BY ITSELF. I know now this can go on for 5 or 10 minutes, at least, before the randomness of churning waters eventually nudges it onward!

In the future when GMP says the Joe's Pond dam bladder is all the way down I will take heed, and stay off Joe's Brook in my open boat, though the decked boaters in our group seemed eager for their next juicy Joe's adventure...

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