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Trip Reports

Find trips reports from 2001 and prior in the Bow & Stern Archive
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2008...

Stoney Brook (VT) Sunday Mar 9, 2008
Mascoma River (Lebanon, NH) Sunday Mar 30, 2008
Upper Mad Wednesday Apr 2, 2008
Lower New Haven Saturday Apr 5, 2008
Lower Lamoille Sunday Apr 6, 2008
Mill Brook (Jericho) Tuesday Apr 8, 2008
Upper Mad River Wednesday Apr 9, 2008
Patterson Brook - padded out. Wednesday Apr 23, 2008
Upper Moose River, Victory, VT Saturday Apr 26, 2008
Warner River Monday May 5, 2008
Swiftwater Rescue Clinic Saturday May 10, 2008
Memorial Weekend in Maine (Dead River) Saturday-Sunday May 24-25, 2008
Trout River Wednesday Jun 11, 2008
Class 2 Clinic Saturday-Sunday Jun 28-29, 2008
Juniper Island Paddle Saturday Jul 12, 2008
Chasing flows around NVT Saturday Jul 19, 2008
White R. to West Hartford Saturday Aug 9, 2008
Paul Stream Sunday Oct 26, 2008

2008...

Stoney Brook (VT)
Sunday Mar 9, 2008
Organizer: JD (Dave) Packie
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium

Stoney Brook is a roadside, but somewhat secluded, stream that flows out of the Northfield Mountains south of town into the Dog. The wife dropped me off below the last Ice bridge that cut off about a half mile of the run that contains at least 1 good drop, and what I thought was prolly the biggest drop of the run. The other drops of note that I could see from the road were class III ledges and one dam that is very runnable and a great, but not easy to get, clean boof off a really nice green tongue, into a deep pool. ( this would make great boof practice). So I slide in off the snowy bank and am enjoying a truly beautiful stream that is a mix of small ledges and boulders, hidden down in a shallow wooded gorge with the occasional slate wall marking a bend here and there. Gradient wasn't steep, but the rapids were continuous and fluid, class II creeky boogie with a III here and there. Fun for a solo run. Then the run crosses under the road and the character changed to some very interesting ledge drops that were III- at a low boatable level, but could be nice class III hole punching with more flow...then the dam rapid, a nice ledge boof, vertical 3-4 feet into a small backwater, then a nice 5 foot vertical boof off the old dam. Then run crosses under a covered bridge and calmed a bit. A few class II ledges and some very scenic quick water and around a bend a horizon line.

''Bonus!'', I thought. A great drop that is about 6 feet high, boof onto a pillow, melt down into deep pool, similar to horseshoe in size, I would call it a 3+ as the right side looked like it had some piton/pin potential, left side went very cleanly. "Sweet", I thought. By this point I was pretty stoked on my little home town micro. So the run out to the dog was just around the corner and then the takeout at Norwich and a quick hike accross the street to the house..."Whoa....eddy." A big horizon line confronted me where the old granite block abutments from a bridge-long-gone behind a house on river left. The last rapid ended up being a 20+ foot multi tiered drop with a few lines, the easiest being down the left the whole way, with a 5 foot boof, followed by a super fun slide with a perfect lip that sends you over the last hole, Which was sizable for a run of this volume. It wen super clean, even though I missed the boof and plugged a bit. Very stoked. Laughed out loud. This last drop puts this run into the "quality" cataogory and i would encourage anyone looking for a creeky class 2-4 experience on the next high water day. NO WOOD, and the ussual put in would be at the end of chamberlain rd, off of stoney brook road, off of 12A south of Northfield. I haven't run the very top yet, and put in at the bridge below chamberlain, but there is at least one more nice drop visable from the road on the upper section. Put in n your list, and call me when you're headed that way.

Bueatiful day with light snow falling on a new creek. Nothing better the exploring a run for the first time, unbelievably no portages and some nice sizable drops. Ryan, you are gonna LOVE this run.

Mascoma River (Lebanon, NH)
Sunday Mar 30, 2008
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low
Author: Tony Shaw

As we loaded the boats for the drive home I had to chuckle when Patrick proudly announced he had finally bagged his first Vermont river. "Yeah", I said, "except for the fact that we're in New Hampshire!!".

It gives me a lot of satisfaction to introduce paddlers to rivers they've not run before. Patrick is a 2008 newcomer to Vermont, and wants to paddle as much as he can before he leaves to lead a lengthy Boundary Waters expedition with Outward Bound in Minnesota this summer. But Bridie, too, had never paddled the Mascoma, and she has lived in this area for a decade.

For my part, I've paddled and innertubed the Mascoma close to a dozen times. The USGS real-time gauge fell victim to budget shortfalls in 2004 and was decommissioned, but we've discovered the NH DES webpage that now publishes Mascoma flows. I've added the link to the Mascoma River Gauge Correlation table. The leaning wooden gauge stick at the put-in on Payne Road on river right no longer correlates with the online gauge. At 400->350 cfs only 2 of the rapids exceeded class II, and the water clarity was the best I have ever seen it. We saw an equal number of anglers and snowmobilers traveling up and down the rail trail that crisscrosses the river for the entire distance (~4 miles). It was a quintessential spring day, calm but brisk (mid-40's) and not-a-single-cloud-in-the-sky sunny. The sap buckets everywhere must have been overflowing...

The below normal temperatures of the previous week kept us from running the planned Ompompanoosuc River in South Strafford (which WOULD have been Patrick's first Vermont river), but it is nice to know that the Mascoma (with its dam-controlled flow from Mascoma Lake just above) can provide a fun alternative when everything in Vermont at the end of March is still just trickling.

There were no unscheduled fish counts, and the sun (and layers) kept everyone toasty.

Upper Mad
Wednesday Apr 2, 2008
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Ryan

Not a bad turnout for an April 2nd evening paddle in sub32 degrees....

We all met at the Lower Mad take out at 5:30 and the decision was quickly made that the Lower Mad was still pumping pretty good for most of us looking to just get on the river to knock some rust off the skills for the start of the season. So we high-tailed it down 100 to Warren to get a late run on the Upper Mad from the lower bridge in Warren through the rapid on Butternut Road.

After a quick email from one of the folks that was to join us stating that he got "stuffed" in the rapid just before the Warren bridge and was not going to join us, we all decided to NOT start off with a bang and put in right below this rapid. The following bit of water is a nice wake up rapid that is short and sweet but splashes that sub 35 degree water on your face..."WAKEUP you are now on the river". The rapid below that is a fun playful hole and is moderately sticky. A few of the fellas played in the hole and one of them thought that this was a prime spot to pull his best AQUAMAN impression. It would be the only swim of the evening and thank goodness he was wearing a dry suit!!!! Below this rapid there are several more class II+ rapids at the level we were on the river at. Another sticky hole had Grayson playing it up and surfing around in it. And the smallish ledges along the way let everyone pick their own lines. Once we passed the Sugarbush Ponds you come up on Punch Bowl. It is an easy class III drop on the left and a IV slide into a very retentive hole on the right. Not to many people make it out of the right side upright and a good number of the ones that flip swim out of that hole. Long story short we all ran the left side of Punchbowl with varying lines, styles and attempts at boofs. The following rapid is a simple ledge that has good outflow and great eddy lines. At this point it was getting dark really fast and no one was game for play with ice starting to form on paddles, skirts and pfds. This was followed by a river wide strainer (the beavers have been very busy along the Upper Mad this early spring) which we could skirt to the right. This brings you to the last rapid of the Upper Mad....Butternut! Butternut is a fun rapid that has two parts to it. The first is a substantial river wide ledge that runs out into a squirrely pool and then the rest of it is a right to left move as the river banks off of a rock wall, over several boulders and small ledges - then squeezes through two large boulders in a space of about 6 feet wide. It makes for a fun and interesting rapid that can be pointed at from a number of different ways but it always plays out right to left. Everyone made it though unscathed and upright.

It was a good run - the levels were decent...A little more flow would have been nice but what we had was sufficient. A turnout of 6 paddlers on a late in the day cold April paddle was admirable. Everyone was happy to be getting the season underway and to be back in their boats. The Upper Mad Valley put on a beautiful showing with blue skies and a pretty sunset behind the Greens. We timed the run just about perfect...as I was sitting in the eddy below Butternut I couldn't make out details on folks faces as they popped through the rapid - so I'd say we eked out every bit if available light for our season opener on the Mad.

It's nice to be back on the water..............

Lower New Haven
Saturday Apr 5, 2008
Organizer: Jamie Dolan
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Jamie Dolan

Though the water was low(ish) the boaters were willing. As usual, the start is an attention getter. The cold water face splashes give better adrenaline than coffee. After boat scouting for wood on the second rapid (there was none) we continued on to where the New Haven meets Baldwin Creek. Just above the first bridge one of the kayakers developed a split on the bottom of his boat. Though an on river repair was effected he ended pulling out. Duct tape really doesn't keep out the water too well. Things continued uneventfully as we all made it under the second iron bridge just above the mill. After road scouting, Anya lead Tony down in the tandem very smoothly. All boaters made it down with a smile. Gwen and Anya were having a great day but got caught up in conversation and found their boat full of water just above the last rapid. They said the water wasn't too cold. After getting their boat back to shore they continued on smiling, if not a bit cooler. All in all, a very good time.

Lower Lamoille
Sunday Apr 6, 2008
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium

The river gods decided to smile on us this day, and everything was just about perfect. The day was sunny, and relatively warm, up into the 50s. The water level was 'just right' for a novice / intermediate trip, at 3100 cfs, right near the average flow for this date. The power company (or someone else) had significantly improved the access on the north side below the Fairfax dam, such that even passenger cars could cruise down to river level. We met at the take out, consolidated cars, and headed to the put-in for a start at 1 PM. We had a nice float through the flatter sections, with no substantial headwind. We had a least one first-time-on-a-river boater, but with Dan Beideck helping him out he did fine. No one swam, which was good, given that the water was extremely cold. At the main rapids, we ran into a couple of other VPC folks, including James Raboin, who paddled a ways down the river with us. After a short stop at the island, a few folks heading down quickly to get in some time on 'Smiley', which had a well-formed hydraulic. We continued down through five chutes, and were off the river about 3:45.

The trip did provide a study in paddling demographics. Without getting into detailed numbers, it is safe to say that the average age of the open boaters was 'substantially greater' than that of the kayakers - very substantially - and that each open boater was probably older than any of the kayakers. As we know, there are indications that the open-boat community is going the way of the dinosaurs!

Mill Brook (Jericho)
Tuesday Apr 8, 2008
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Tony Shaw

This may not have been the first or the last bootleg Mill Brook Jericho trip of the season, but for the sake of everyone else I hope it was the boniest.

With no online gauge it is challenging to forecast the level. The nearest small stream gauge I can think of is Allen Brook in Williston, which (for comparison purposes) crested at 2.9 the night before (65 cfs) and 2.7 (48 cfs) the night of our trip. Another possible gauge correlation might be Lewis Creek; it was running around 350-450 cfs April 8th.

If the streambed where Mill Brook passes under VT 117 isn't filled with water, and the route down through there doesn't look fluid, then the class II+ sections above are all going to be rough and rocky. After a bit of discussion, with full disclosure on the point, we went ahead and paddled Mill Brook anyway.

We put-in off of Tarbox Road, keeping the trip as short as possible, ~1 ½ mile all told. After a meandering put-in, where the sun broke out of the clouds, we had no trouble avoiding the tree on river left in the first 2-tiered drop (the best route is river right, anyway).

S-turn Rapid had thin cover (to borrow a euphemism from the ski industry). Everyone nailed Wide Ledge, easily avoiding some tree branches sticking out from river right at its entrance. From above it was difficult to discern the full-size tree trunk lodged in the Swimming Hole drop - a log that narrowed the slot and the landing options considerably, but Dave P. had no trouble staying well to its left. The rest of us more prudently opted to lift around instead. There was still a foot or more of dense spring snowpack on all the south banks.

The last 3 drops are all high enough, and technical enough, that some of us opted to carry...even in these low water conditions. Tony flipped and swam in the "receiving pool" below Cabin Falls. Dave H. struggled to pull free of the whirlpool on river left below Hydrodam Falls, but then redeemed himself by lining up (and landing) Cabin Falls perfectly. Today's adventure will have him shopping for a creek boat, I predict!

Mercifully the river wide strainer below the hydrodam turbine facility present in 2007 has been breached, and a clear route to the left bypasses the only other river wide obstruction in this rollicking class II+ section (at least until the beavers get back at it again).

Both Dave P. and Tyler found a way to avoid pitoning the final 2-stage drop by landing on the upsloping and thinly covered intermediate rock slab with their bows pointing river right, a move I might be willing to try in the future, once my souvenir from the trip (a 4 inch gash in my canoe's chine) gets repaired.

Upper Mad River
Wednesday Apr 9, 2008
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: novice WW
Level: medium high
Author: Tony Shaw

The flow at Moretown Gorge more than doubled this day, from 1000cfs early to over 2000cfs when it crested around midnight, making for a lively fluid flow on our late day run from Warren to Waitsfield. 8 people showed up for the fun. We spent 2 hours on the water, ending in the waning light of day around 7:45pm, with plenty of time to surf where it was irresistable, and time for a quick scout of the two toughest drops (Punchbowl and Butternut).

A throng of adoring women interrupted their book group (or was it a wine tasting?) to come out on their back deck to encourage us above Butternut, and we LOVE to perform!

Although the afternoon temperature in the valley exceeded 60 degrees for the first time in 2008, this point may have been lost on those who participated in the "swim-fest" from Punchbowl (where everyone ran river left) to the take-out. The "repeat offenders" were chilled by the end, but OK. Thank goodness for neoprene and goretex! Still plenty of snow up there in the woods, yet to melt...

Patterson Brook - padded out.
Wednesday Apr 23, 2008
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium high
Author: Ryan

When its up its up.

The group started 6 strong at the Warren General Store...After 5 creek boats showed up the playboater headed back north to an impromptu Lower Mad trip. Now down to 5 we headed south over Granville Gulf to the headwaters of the White where the confluence of Patterson Brook joins and boaters hop in the creek. The level was probably 4 inches over the gauge rock and rising as everything seems to do this time of year with snow still melting off. This made for a very lubed up run, padding out the standard slalom run through the boulders down the creek. For what it padded out though, it also generated several sticky holes that really needed to be avoided. There are three significant rapids on the creek at lower levels but at this level two of them became more flushy and the other one just got faster. Eddys were abundant to catch your breath.

It was an amazing night to be on the run and another group was also enjoying the higher than ususal flows on the creek. With three swims and and gear retrieval our group got in only one lap, but what a fun lap it was. All ended up safe and sound reunited with gear smiling none the less at the take out.

As I have said before - when there is a chance that Patterson is up and running - go get some of it....What a gem in the heart of the Green Mountains

Upper Moose River, Victory, VT
Saturday Apr 26, 2008
Organizer: Scott Gilbert
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable

So after eying this stretch of river for a while on topos and one summer trip to

check it out and seeing some good looking roadside stuff, I finally had to scratch

the itch.

A two hour drive from Burlington, and I am at Gallup Mills a tiny little cluster of North

East Kingdom residences. Turn to go up radar road...and the road is gated!!

Couldn't believe it, and already knew from an attempt last week that coming up

and over the east haven range is not an option.

So a little bit of driving around trying to figure out an alternate approach and I

resign myself to my two options; drive home or hike up the road with boat and

gear in tow and make my way down.

After some internal debate I decide I've driven this far, and probably am not likely

to be up here again any time soon, so I stuff my gear in my boat and hike up...4.5

miles and an hour and a half later and I am at the confluence of the west & east

branches of the Moose. I gear up and put in here in a beautiful deep amber pool

below the culvert.

About a 1/10 of a mile of class II and there is a clean 5ft waterfall, quick plug into

cold water, and then another 1/10 of a mile and there is another tongue on river

right dropping over a square boulder and into a strong looking hole. Being alone

and the left side of the drop looking rather sketchy, I portage around. From here

there is about a half mile of class II interspersed with several III & IV ledges, with

more water this would be quite a bit of fun. Then another horizon. A big rock

island splits the flow. The left is choked with wood, the right is a 7ft falls that at this

level would require a dry-rock boof and midair sideways turn to prevent a hard

piton. Again I boat on shoulder I walk around. At higher flows the move would not

be very challenging and would be quite fun. From here the river stays II-III and even

mellows to wider and class II with lots of small boulders. More water would

definitely be nice. This continues for about a mile and a half until the river drops

into a very scenic little gorge. Definitely felt like 'the shire' type territory. In the

gorge there are about 5 III - IV- drops, all fun stuff! After this the river mellows

again for about two miles of wide-bed boat scratching (at this level) until the

bridge.

I took out at the bridge but then driving along the road could hear the river gain lots

of volume (the audio kind). Found a pull off and hiked down to find an awesome

rapid dropping through rocky outcroppings, then a nice 4 ft boof a shortways

downstream. Would definitely have geared back up and run this but had to make

it home in time to catch the Habs game, (which they lost to philly...booo) Checking

out google maps it looks like there might even be a little bit more downstream.

the stretch

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=8674060833312725336,44.633807,-71.811329&saddr=Radar+Rd+%4044.633807,+-71.811329&daddr=44.574726,-71.784883&mra=mi&mrsp=1,0&sz=15&sll=44.577018,-71.776471&sspn=0.023141,0.045319&ie=UTF8&ll=44.604646,-71.774025&spn=0.092519,0.181274&t=h&z=13

check the paddle pix section for photos of this trip.

all in all not quite the outcome i was hoping for, but there is no such thing as a bad

day on the river

Warner River
Monday May 5, 2008
Organizer: Dave Packie
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low
Author: Dave Packe

Headed over to the Warner River, Just outside of Warner NH for a sunday afternoon paddle. It hold water really well, and most tings around here were low. I had fond memories of this river, but hadn't run it for a coupla years. I remembered it being about an hour from Montpelier....it ended up being closer to 2. I remembered the run being a 4....it's more of a 3. I remembered the run being long and busy. It's short....but it did have some fun stuff on it. It's a pretty little stream that would be a nice warm up for some of the harder runs in the area. There were no mishaps and we got 2 laps in, on the last lap we ran down to the final rapid that was a fun breeched dam.....about 4 miles downstream from the last significant White Water.....it was alot of flat water, but good company. The run of choice would be From Melvin Mills road down to the first take out, on a dirt road where the flat water obviously starts, prolly a mile and a half. It would be a great first creek for someone, and is close to the Sugar which is a step easier.

Swiftwater Rescue Clinic
Saturday May 10, 2008
Organizer: Mark Lienau
Difficulty: novice WW
Level: too low
Author: Mark Lienau

The course was held at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier. They loaned us the facility, a classroom, a lawn for throwing ropes and a little stretch of the North Branch Winooski...Not as much current as we would have liked, but enough to get the job done.

It was really fun to teach this class to a bunch of knowledgable whitewater enthusiasts, the information and war stories that people shared were really helpful.

The morning session was spent in the classroom for some chalk talk, and then out on the lawn for rope throwing...

We got into the water by 11, wading rescues, and swimming after lunch.

In mid afternoon, we had a tag line set up across the river, and someone noticed a pair of kayaks heading down river towards us.

We immediately pulled the rope out of the water, and watched as they floated on by. The poor guys, floating by a hypercritical group of safety concious expert paddlers and instructors.

They had rec boats with no skirts, jeans and cotton tee shirts, no helmets and one fellow had his PFD unzipped. As he passed, he asked what we were doing, we told him and he said, "I hope we don't need your services!" Famous last words.

Downstream from us there was a strainer, almost river wide, with just a few feet on river right to sneak through. Anyone reading this could get around it no problem, and would also understand the danger that it posed.They didn't.

We were talking on the bank when we heard a loud hollow whump...we all knew the sound and looked down to see one of those guys hanging onto the strainer and being pulled out of his boat.

We sprang into action, running down the bank with ropes ready. Dan was first to get there and recovered the paddle, the paddler was already on shore. Tracey, Paul and Dave went down and performed a newly learned "Live Bait Rescue" to retrieve the boat...Great job, guys!

The excitement over, we finished up with a Zip Line (tieing off to a hawthorn bush, careful not to poke holes in our drysuits!) and a Z-Drag, called it a day and got out of there by 4.

Thanks to all the participants, and especially the North Branch Nature Center for the use of their facility.

Memorial Weekend in Maine (Dead River)
Saturday-Sunday May 24-25, 2008
Organizer: Dave Stanley
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Dan Beideck

GRATEFUL FOR THE DEAD

American Whitewater describes the Dead as follows, "There is simply too many features and rapids to describe." Amen!

The release Saturday was 2400 cfs. It was a bit overcast and the black flies were out in force, but we were soon on the river and happy. Early in the day we were greeted by a bald eagle that seemed to traveling along with us for a stretch. I kept trying to get the camera out to snap a photo, but my best opportunities were either when the camera was away or I was running something that needed my attention. So, no photo to show for it. On we paddled for a total of 16 miles. There are breaks between the rapids, which sometimes are quite lengthy themselves. The in-between stuff was always moving water and it never seemed a burden to get to the next rapid. In fact, I'm not sure there's ever a time until the very end when there's not a rapid within sight. It's mile after mile after mile of river runnin' bliss!

Once off the water, the black flies were back to welcome us. Those of us that forgot our netting, spent $3 for some headgear to keep them at bay. A 6-pack of "black fly beer" also helped us cope. We discovered the Kennebec was (re)releasing from 4-9 pm as we headed back to camp. It was decided to postpone dinner a bit and hike out to take a look at magic falls. Quite nice, but it would have to wait for another trip. The Dead was releasing 5500 cfs on Sunday and everyone was very eager to go again with the additional water.

Ann joined us for Sunday's release and she and Dave 'shredded the Dead'. Frank and I spent another day in our kayaks. The extra water added to the excitement and moved things along at a brisker pace. Dave described the difference as follows. "5500 cfs was a nice intermediate, medium level, a very busy, continuous low 4, have to be able to 'scramble to avoid the pourovers' and the 2400 cfs was technical, not pushy low 3." All I know is that today was even more fun than Saturday!

Dave and Frank headed home after the paddle Sunday. Ann and I found an Inn overlooking the Kennebec just downstream of where the Dead joins it. We enjoyed the sun, view and a peaceful dinner before returning to camp. The next day we did a short hike to see an impressive 80 foot waterfall on the Moxie, a nearby creek run.

We took the scenic route home and seemed to encounter a moose every few miles for one stretch. All in all, a great trip! If you're looking for playboating or creeking, you'll probably find the Dead lacking. But if you like pure river running with lots and lots of rapids, the Dead is a real gem!

Trout River
Wednesday Jun 11, 2008
Organizer: Dave Packie
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: D. Packie

The lost river drainage. "there's no gradient up there!" I've heard. "Nothing worth driving for." was another comment. But after Scott's scouting missions at summertime low flows, and his reports of big bedrock slides and waterfalls, my interest was peeked. So when heavy localized thunderstorms came thru the northern edge of vermont all day Tuesday, I had to take the gamble, even at 4 dollars a gallon. All the way up 14 I was passing creek after creek all bone dry, and was thinking I had to be a fool to drive basically to Canada for what was likely gonn a be a hike. But as I came thru Hazen's notch, I could see the evidence of heavy rain on the dirt roads and the freshettes still had milky water flowing down the steep slopes of burnt Mtn. I crossed Wade brook and it was low, but not by much, and as I came down into Montgomery Center, the stoke was heightened by a nice rapid with plenty of water to paddle. I quickly dropped the Bike at Luts Gas Station and met Bill, a local boater who I had run into on the dryway last year. He said he and his wife had got some land up in Mont-g and wanted to know about the local good...now he was filling me in. He gave me the put in on Amidon road, off of 242 at the Bellfry Restaurant and gave me a heads up on some big drops...off I went. The put in on Jay Brook, the larger of the two tribs that make up the Trout, was LOW. Like not really floating, more like slithering down, but passable. It is continuous 3 with a 4 here and there. Then at the confluence of Jay and Wade Brooks, the run became fluid. A perfect exploratory level. From here you enter a nice long section of continuous car sized boulders. Very nice boat scoutable horizons with the occasional larger ledge drop. Then things gorge up a bit for a nice looking rapid with some great slot moves, then a ledge drop around a 90 degree left. Scout left. A few more rapids and you will see that something big is coming. 4-5 small ledge drops lead to a 20 foot waterfall into a nasty looking runout, with 99 percent of the water landing on bedrock. Be carefull here because the action is continuous for 50 yards above the lip and the small eddies that were there may not be at Med. to High flows. Easy walk river right brings you down into the pool below the falls, and the highlight of the trip, and one of the nicest rapids anywhere in VT. Back to back 8-10 foot vertical drops into a nice recovery pool with a small trib cascading down river right. Magnificant spot. Good action from there to the takeout a shrt way down stream. Very stoked on this run. I walked almost everything big, but the quality of this river is right up there. I call it a solid 4 with a walk. The geology of this river should be noted. At these low flows, a few boulder sieves were easily spotted, 2 of which were right in the main flow, and immediately below a couple drops in the boulder garden section, and alot of the exposed ledge had some pretty major pot hole action. Also, as seen in some of the pics, there are some undercuts in play and I portaged for wood 3 times. Hopfully we can get most of those out this summer, but in the meantime, work the eddies and keep a good eye out, At higher flows the action could be quite continuous. Then I met Scott G and we banged out a Gihon lap at a great medium. It was 80, sunny, and the water was WARM.....don't get many days like that up this way. Missisquoi drainage....the next frontier...see pics.

Class 2 Clinic
Saturday-Sunday Jun 28-29, 2008
Organizer: CJ Carline
Difficulty: novice WW
Level: medium
Author: CJ Carline

I was not quite prepared for the first question out of the participants of the clinic, "What is your motivation for doing this?" I gave a quick novelty answer, but it was an interesting question that I pondered over for the rest of the weekend.

Following on the heels of a very successful Novice Clinic, I already knew this was going to be a great weekend. It started with everyone rolling into camp Friday evening. We stayed at Woodford State Park in Vermont as the parks in Massachusetts near the river were pretty solidly booked. This turned out to be a great thing as the sites are twice as large, the sites aren't right on top of each other, the grounds are cleaner, the staff is much friendlier, and there aren't so many ridiculous rules. For $6.50/night at 3 people per site, you just can't beat it.

Saturday morning we headed to the usual paddler put-in on Fife Brook. Two of Zoar Outdoor's buses completely blocked access to the put-in road much to the dismay of a lot of private boaters, but they moved about 10 minutes later. Good thing, there were a lot of angry canoeists impatiently waiting behind us in line! Thanks to Dawn, we were able to drive all the vehicles to the take-out. The first rapid, Hangover Helper, really worked our fledgling crew over. Most of them swam at least once; some of them appeared to be there for swimming lessons as much as paddling! To their credit they worked very hard and really pushed themselves. If I had one word to describe this crew is would be "determined". That first rapid's current and eddies are very tricky for new paddlers. Yet, they kept going back for more.

We proceeded downstream through Carbis Bend and Upper Railroad without incident and quite a bit of surfing. Then along comes Lower Railroad which served up more entertainment. Some found out what a seam is the hard way (they were warned at the top). Others discovered what exactly a hole is and how quickly it can flip you when you jump in there.

Then came Pinball and everyone really enjoyed the maze of eddies, waves, and small holes. There were a few upsets, but already you could begin seeing improvement in their paddling. Attitudes were positive through the whole thing. The evening before we had discussed the pros and cons of learning to roll too soon, and I really emphasized that swimming is very much a part of paddling and learning. The next day Kristy and Paul would help reinforce that idea.

We arrived at the Gap and I explained to all that the Class 2 Clinic ended above the Gap. We walked up to take a look at it and noticed the water was dropping fast. There was probably only 400-500 cfs in there. A couple of the novices went with the other instructors. I stayed behind with the others and set safety with a rope. I was really looking forward to a little practice but everyone made it through upright.

Exhausted from a long day we headed back to camp. A few people went into town for food while the rest stayed at camp to cook. Once we gathered back together, the excitement of the day spilled forth over the campfire.

Sunday morning the other instructors, Jim, Kristy, and Paul, headed to the Dryway for a quick run. I took the class down to Dragon's Tooth to watch. This provided a great lesson to learn! The river was mostly empty when we got there, and I was able to warn them the river was going to rise several feet. Sure enough, once the bubble arrived it took less than a minute or two for the river to pulse to full strength. Besides learning about rising rivers, they got to watch rocks form eddies, the eddies become holes, and some of the holes become waves.

Our Dryway heroes arrived and scouted from the opposite shore. After a lot of whooping and hollering back and forth off they went. This was Kristy's first Dryway attempt and I have to say she styled it. She did swim at the bottom of Dragon's Tooth and washed into the top of Labyrinth. Her would be savior, Paul, also cooled off with a short swim in Labyrinth. She was reunited with her boat and cleaned the rest of Labyrinth.

Off to Fife Brook we went again. This time, Hangover Helper had met its match! There was an immediate improvement noticeable in the way the class was paddling. Not that there weren't a couple swims, but they proved they belonged there. We didn't stay long and blasted through the rest of the rapids with hopes of making it to Pinball with lots of time to play. Unfortunately, Zoar Outdoor was running a river rescue class blocking a good 2/3 of the river in the top portion of Pinball. It was a good chance to revisit river signals as one of the Zoar instructors was signaling people to go right.

I wasn't feeling well Sunday, but by the time we got to the rapid above the Gap I started feeling better. While I would say Shane is a playboating superstar to be, Alex is going to be a creeking maniac. Alex was boofing rocks in that last rapid left and right, one time completely clearing the water. Intentional? Maybe not but he made it look that way!

So here comes the Gap and everyone decides to ante up and go for it. While bouncing down through the Gap was the highlight of their day, I think they probably overlooked the most important thing they did over the weekend. They caught the eddy right above the Gap. No one missed it! Then they all peeled out without incident. Those two things alone is a testament to how far they have come.

Jim looked graceful as ever. Kristy popped off a couple rolls on her way down. Alex, Shane, and John all repeated their runs from the day before. Paul set a great line for Debbie and Brian to follow. Debbie went off line slightly, making it all the way to the bottom hole and went deep before swimming. Having half as much experience as her classmates and considering this her first time through the Gap, it was an amazing accomplishment. Brian, who just a few months ago thought paddlers must be nuts, made it through with some fancy bracing. Me? Well, I was running sweep and was a little too entertained by the happenings downstream. I completely missed my line and hit the first hole at an odd angle. Nailed my very first Class 3 combat roll though!

"What is your motivation for doing this?" I had all the answer I needed back at the take-out. The grinning ear to ear, the laughs, the commotion, and the stares from other people wondering what the fuss was all about makes it so worth while. There is definitely something lost as we gain experience and move on to bigger and greater things. Helping new paddlers get into the sport has a very addictive quality to it and renews the experience. If you haven't tried it I highly recommend it. I hope down the line a few of these graduates from our clinics will come out to volunteer to pay it forward.

I would really enjoy receiving any feedback anyone has. I recently achieved ACA Instructor Certification and one doesn't do strive for it if they can't handle criticism. So let me have it! While we all had a great time we should strive to make it better next time. I already know we need more canoes out there! Allan was alone paddling OC-1. It would have been much more enjoyable for him if he had company.

I would really like to thank Jim, Paul, and Kristy for coming out to help with the trip. Our success can largely be credited to you. It is great for new paddlers to see different styles and get different opinions. I would like to thank Dawn for all her efforts with shuttling logistics. Last but not least, I would like to thank the participants for making it such an enjoyable weekend. Your enthusiasm made it that much better for us instructors.

Juniper Island Paddle
Saturday Jul 12, 2008
Organizer: David Hathaway
Difficulty: flatwater
Level: medium

After a last minute cancellation from a third prospective participant, Roger and David met at the Shelburne Bay boat launch a little before 10:30 AM. David was paddling his Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 kayak and Roger was paddling his home made (from kit) wooden / fiberglass kayak. The day was sunny, warm, and the water was extremely calm, with virtually no waves except for the occasional power boat wake. We went up Shelburne Bay, around Shelburne Point, and reached the west end of Juniper Island after about 1.5 hour. We then continued around the island and paddled back. After getting back to the boat launch, we wandered up the La Platte River a ways (very weedy), then went back to the boat launch and ended the trip at about 2 PM. This trip was actually a GMC (Green Mountain Club) trip cross-posted to the VPC.

Chasing flows around NVT
Saturday Jul 19, 2008
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Ryan

After heavy rains through out an area from Northfield north on Friday there was a flury of activity among the few that were frothing to get on the water. To no avail, nothing close enough had popped for Friday night so the plans were laid to get north for Saturday. Scott was up and at it early and hell bent on a scouting mission - finding several new micros in the wilds of the Kindom for a later day he missed out on the actual paddling. Dave and I were on our way to meet him when it seemed every river we drove over had a decent flow once we got north of the Lamoille River.

After a few road side scouts of our own Dave and I finally said "uncle" and decided to put on the NBL above the slide at Back Road. There was a tree at the top of the slide that you could limbo under, but looks ready to drop sooner than later (take note). We then proceded through the flatwater section enjoying the pleasant setting and noticed there were several bathers along this stretch - one of particular note making a joke of how he didn't have any electric so he was getting his daily bath in the river. Makes sense - you should have seen the amount of damage that Waterville sustained from the storms on Friday.

Once through the mellow float and into the gorge the pace picked up and it became a very fluid bop down the river. Taking turns through drops and picking various lines one is reminded why this is one of the best runs around. Very plesant, unthreatening, and FUN! At one point we came across a group of boaters poking their way through the gorge in playboats all grinning ear to ear. Not much was said - but not much had to be said. It was a great day to be on the NBL.

Arriving at the standard take out for the gorge section, Dave said we ought to poke down the Ledges/Slides section. I had never been down this steep stretch of river but had looked at it a number of times at high water thinking it would be a romp at a sensible level. It proved to be exactly that with a new horizon line every 50 or so yards either sloping down a slide or droping off into a pool. What a great stretch of water in its self!!!! Even better the bottom of the stretch ends at a fellow boaters abode, so we snagged him to head over to another drainage that was on the flow....The Gihon!

Now with Marshall entow we were a group of 3 and on a speed run to beat sun-set. Over we headed to Johnson for a speedy put on at the first drop of the upper Gihon gorge. Gotta luv starting off a run on a 35 foot Dam drop. So all drops in the upper gorge went well even Mustag for Dave and Marshall (Mind you Dave has paddled the Gihon more than all other boaters together that have been on this river)....I walked Mustang, of course, and seal launched into the gorge below the drop only to slam into the wall on the other side at about.......MACH 7 - UGH! Anyways the flatwater between the two gorges went fast. Good conversation helps. Droping into the next section of the river on Bed Head gets you back on it quickly. Not to get into details we all finished the bottom section relatively unscathed and with about 20 minutes of day light left. A serious speed run on the Gihon.

It had been about 3 months since I had been on any substantial creek run and today was a great opportunity to get reaquainted with my trusty creeker. The progression of difficulty from the NBL gorge through the Ledges and then bopping over to the Gihon made for one of the better afternoons of summer boating I have had in a long long time.

Looking out the window right now, I think we might have another few days of flow with the stady rain that is hitting us....HOPE SO!

Better Days, Later waves........

Micro-Phun in the Dark and a trip to the Rustic
Thursday Jul 24, 2008
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium high
Author: Ryan

How could you not want to run this brook everytime there is water in it. ~5 miles of the most fun you can find on the east slopes of the Northfield Mountains (I can say that because I haven't run any of the other ones draining into the Dog yet - waiting for Cox Brook Dam to come down). I digress..

Anyways - epic rains had everything up near flood stage and most stuff was pumping higher than spring time flows....By the time I got off work my time frame was pretty tight to get in a good run before dark. Dave Gurtman was in the same boat (no pun intended). He beat-feet over to the capitol reigon and we boogied down through Northfield with one eye on the road and another on the Dog River. Man, nothing like a river in flood to get your heart pumping...does a number on the japanese knot weed too. Any of that crap that was within reach of the angry river got riped out and washed away.

So we get to the take out for Stony Brook and who comes bopping down the road with only his playboat strapped to his rack but Mr Weed. I'd get into the multiple excuses he provided for not having the proper gear to paddle Stony - but there has already been enough eye rolling over this.

Up we head to the put in making mental notes of spots where it looks like there could be wood in the creek - at least from the road. One quick stop to look if there was anything stuck in the dam drop and then another stop at the Mill at Stony Brook to see if it was choked up with deadfall. Good to go.

Quick gear up and some stretch strokes for the photographer (yes Chris decided to ride up to the put-in with us and run beside the creek to snap pix. Make sure to ask Chris why there aren't any new pictures posted along with this TR. We enter the Mini-gorge at the top of the run and it is at a great level with plenty of flow to bop down through the mile or so of ledge drops and twisty-turny nature of this stretch. About the time the mini-gorge sputters out the grade picks up and you know you are approaching the Mill drop. The lead in to the Mill is pretty chaotic with lots of holes and reactionary waves working pretty hard to flip you before you actually reach the drop. River left ducking under what remains of the old dam at the top of the drop is the preferred line. Both Dave and I aced it. Following the Mill Drop there is a mile or so of swift water with some holes and ledges here and there. Once you pass under Stony Brook Road for the first time get on your game because this is the only boulder rapid on the river coming up....It collects wood and there is a great last chance eddy on river right that you can hop out of your boat and scout the rapid from. This night there was a small log in the left side of the main drop that really wasn't in play but at the bottom of the rapid (note for future runs) a hemlock had fallen across the entire width of the river. It looked like you could ramp up and over it but the potential outcome of missing the move was enough that Dave and I both carried on river right.

SCORE..... Back in April (April 20th to be exact) I had a hand full of friends from PA up for a weekend of spring flow high water creeking. We happened to hit Stony after a full day of it on a couple of other rivers. One of the guys swam this rapid and lost his gear - boat and paddle. I chased the boat down and got it. The paddle was never recovered........Three months later running this creek and portagaing the exact same rapid that this guy swam through we come across the paddle no more than 5 yards down river on the opposite side of the creek. I have looked all over Stoney Brook for the lat 3 months for this paddle and never found it. Thursday night it was just bobbing in an eddy that we were dragging through....like I said SCORE - was in the same shape as when it was lost 3 months earlier!

So through the Boulder drop it was starting to get pretty dark...good thing white water is WHITE! Dave and I went into race mode wanting to complete the river before we had to walk off. There is a log/dam drop below the Boulder drop that you need to boof or be sucked in the backwash. Bingo-bongo...both over and cranking on to the next drop. A large ledge drop of about 8 feet. I went right and rode out a couple of slots and Dave banged over the drop on the left boofing off a pillow at the bottom.

Next up was another 8 foot ledge backed up by a 10 foot dam (at this level anyways). We poked down the right side of the ledge on a jig-jig move and were into the backwater of the dam. Run just right of center with a late boof to have some angle and away you go soft as a baby's bottom. Big safe pool at the bottom.

Now we were headed for the last of the ledge drops before "Junior's House" This ledge is trashy on the right and off-vert on the left. I have run the right every time I have been down the river and it has neer been clean. Next time I'll be going for the off-vert line to the left. We both banged down this one.

Wow it is getting dark and there is only one more rapid left and the biggest one on the river. We are paddling pretty hard and fast at this point to get there for a quick scout for wood. There is a huge strainer above the drop that has to be portaged but the drop is clean and then you have to paddle like hell not to get sucked into the log jam at the bottom where the flow is flushing. So we look at the drop, see the moves (remember to not flip), and head back to the boats. In and shoved off Dave gives me about 15 yards and follows. I clean the waves and holes of the run in and hit my standard line and grind out the left side of the main drop and miss the nice plop into the only deep hole...Oh well gotta regroup and line up for the next drop quickly to get in an eddy to miss the log jam. Made it - look back to see Dave ace the drop to the right of the hole and then FLIP....uh oh. get the roll!!!! no roll!!!! Dave runs the last of the drop over a ledge up side down and swims...Manages to get out before the log jam and gathers his stuff and dumps his boat. One more 5 foot ledge and out to the cars.

Lucky for us the KILLER PIT BULL DOGS are not anywhere to be seen...Yea a class III/IV run with a class V+ take out. Be very weary of this. So getting gear loaded up in Gillespie's Fuels (take out) Chris comes thumping down the road. I am willing to bet he never forgets his creek boat again!

The evening doesn't end after the run...A mandatory stop at "The Rustic" in Northfield Falls takes place to recount the run and imbibe in some refreshing beverage. A good way to end a great post work run on a gem of a brook! Don't miss it next time it is up!

Better waves

Joe's Brook - Why Wipe that Grin off Your Face?
Sunday Aug 3, 2008
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium high
Author: Tony

I should probably let Tyler or Dave write today's trip report, since it was their first time ever running Joe's. For the most part their ear-to-ear grins summed up the outing. What a great introduction for them to a spectacularly long and continuous stretch of Vermont whitewater!

It took us a little longer than usual to get on the water, but it WAS Sunday morning and equipment DID need to be bleached (didymo abatement) before leaving home. We set a car 10 miles downstream from West Danville at the Brook Hill Rd. takeout and were on the water at noon.

The stick at the pond dam read 5.3 and the bladder was fully deflated and spilling a good deal of WARM Joes' pond water. Add in the 124cfs from the turbines and the sidestream runoff from Saturday's soaking rains and throw in some unforecasted sunshine and you have a rollicking good time...if you can handle it!

Dave and I both got back-surfed then side-surfed by the big munchy hole half-way down the first long rapid below the powerhouse (Corkscrew), and were upside down momentarily. Of course I knew what lay ahead, but for Dave this was a wake-up call that he was going to need to put his game face on and paddle aggressively...which from that point on he did.

The funny thing for me in that first rapid was that I let go of my paddle and watched it float rapidly on downstream, never to be seen again. Or so I thought. For the next 8 miles I paddled with my spare paddle through S-turn (no trees for once), Alka-Seltzer ("plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is"), Pinball, carried the Big Slide and the Covered Bridge drops with Dave and Ty (on account of lethal strainers in both locations), ran and/or swam the covered bridge section (excluding the Falls Drop) with all of its continuous boogie water, meaty slides, and the occasional worrisome strainer, and ran grinning ear-to-ear almost all the way to the final gorge drop below Morse's Mill before my white paddle came floating past my boat, out of the blue. Hell, it almost jumped right back into my canoe all by itself!

It didn't seem to matter to Ty or Dave that they were paddling playboats, though a creekboat would surely have come in handy where the holes got longer, deeper, and/or wider. On several occasions my open canoe filled basically right up to the gunwales in the first hole or two of a long rapid, and I'd just have to keep on paddling with a "boatful" of water (from whence my email address ;o)

We pulled off the water at 5pm, and were greeted by a friendly state trooper as we loaded our boats. After hearing about our trip, said he lived nearby, and told us he had been thinking about venturing down Joe's Brook sometime in a big truck innertube he owns. We advised against it!

I suppose there must be some way that this could have been a better day of paddling. But right now, I can't think of anything about it that I would change...

PS: As far as levels go, Dave noted back in May that the concrete shelf on the covered bridge abutment (river right) had a little water spilling up onto it. On that day we opted NOT to paddle Joe's due to the high/cold water combo. Today the water was just below that same concrete ledge beneath the covered bridge - and NOT spilling onto it. Maybe we should paint a gauge there...visible from river left?

White R. to West Hartford
Saturday Aug 9, 2008
Organizer: Tony and Emily Shaw
Difficulty: novice WW
Level: medium high
Author: Tony Shaw

On account of Thursday's devastating flash floods in the upper reaches of the White and Middlebury Rivers near Hancock, the White through Sharon and West Hartford remained at a record high level (for the date), when we met Saturday to paddle it under a warm sunny sky. It dropped from 4400 cfs to 3600 cfs as the day progressed, but the change was barely noticeable, as all the short class II rapids had numerous routes to choose from and there were multiple easy surfing waves at each of the river-wide ledges that become more numerous as you near the take-out. The canoe took on a little water in a few of the bigger waves, but Emily in the stern managed to keep us square enough to stay upright.

It took 2 1/2 hours to do the 7 mile trip, with a short lunch stop below the breached dam in Sharon (and with the help of a gentle tailwind).

Midnight Safari on Little Averill Lake
Thursday Sep 25, 2008
Organizer: Mark Lienau
Difficulty: flatwater
Level: medium low
Author: Mark LIenau

Wildlife Adventure on Little Averill Lake

Last night I took my boat for a ride up on Little Averill Lake in the Northeast Kingdom. I live about three miles from the boat launch, in fact, my house is the closest year round residence to it. I paddle up there 3-4 times a week, usually in the evening...Last night I got there around 8:00.

The surface was glass as I set out, and as I paddled across the Milky Way was my only light source, shining brightly against the velvet sky. Brousseau Mountain rose to the west, and as I approached the other side, Sable Mountain blotted out some stars to the east.

My circuit around this lake is almost always the same. I paddle straight out across the lake from the boat launch to a small bay on the south side with a rock that looks like Jabba the Hutt. Behind the rock is a small marsh. We call this "Hutt Cove," and from there I paddle counter clockwise to the southeast corner, then along the shore to my favorite swimming hole, "Pyramid Rock." From there, I shoot out to "Pete's Point," and then back to the boat launch.

I paddled hard and fast across the lake, and I coasted into Hutt Cove quietly, leaning into a skid in front of Jabba Rock. I was about to open a beverage that I had brought, when I heard a grunt at the edge of the woods on the other side of the marsh. The grunt was followed by a loud splashing, and I knew immediately it was a moose splashing around.

Luckily, I had not popped open my container! This is the rut, a time when the bulls act unpredictably. One definitely wants to keep one's distance this time of year.

It was when I remembered this that I heard him charging me.

I turned my boat and pulled hard for deep water. I know he can swim faster than me, but at least in deep water only his head would be above water!

I stopped about fifty feet out and I turned to listen. He was still in the marsh, I could hear him grunting and stomping and splashing...Then I realized that I was hearing two of them! Battling it out for the cows that I soon heard bleating over to my left. The titans pushed and shook each other for ten minutes or so, back and forth until one scrambled into the woods.

That was when I rememebered that I had a flashlight with me.

I pulled it out, but they were gone, one chasing the other up the hill and into the woods. I never even saw them.

Shaken, but not stirred, I continued on my way around the southeast corner of the lake. As I approached Pyramid Rock, I heard a loon across the lake. It was answered by another about a hundred yards in front of me. And that one was answered by about 25 geese (I thought) sitting in a mob between me and Pyramid Rock. They drifted out as they honked, effectively blocking me into the little bay.

I slowly and quietly paddled along, they continued to honk, then they stopped. I stopped paddling and the only sound I made was breathing. But I was drifting closer into the mob, and then, after about two minutes of silence, they broke.

There had to be a hundred of them, I whipped out my light again to keep them from flying into me...I never saw them but I sure did hear them, wings flapping, water splashing and frantic honks.

They flew across the lake, over past Pete's Point, and they split into two groups, one landing over by the Nature Conservency Land, the other flying into the outlet and circling, gaining altitude for their departure.

Five minutes later, depart they did leaving me looking up (with my mouth closed), still listening to the racket made by their cohorts left behind.

As I headed to the boat launch, I could hear the flock getting smaller as they left by groups of a few up to a dozen or more.

And then the owls started.

That was one of the coolest time I've ever had not seeing any wildlife.

Paul Stream
Sunday Oct 26, 2008
Organizer: Mike Baseler
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium high
Author: A.J. Seibel

All week long we had been eyeing the forecast for some good rainfall potential, somewhere in the 0.5" to 1" range. It started raining steadily around 6:00pm in East Burke, and picked up as the night went on. At 6am I checked the rain gauge, and was shocked to see 1.8" smiling back at me. We loaded up and headed on over to Paul Stream, accessing from the Maidstone side, and arrived just shy of 10am. Upon arrival we realized that the lower section (normally III-IV, one at V) was running far too high for our tastes and decided to check out the upper section which we were informed was normally a III-III+ run. On the way up we road scouted, and saw no signs of strainers or any other significant hazards, so decided that we would head to the footbridge at the end of the bog to put in.

The smell of the bog filled the air, as well as anticipation of what lay in wait downstream. We set off and had just under a half mile of warmup, dropping over a beaver dam and through some class II before the first horizon line showed itself. Scott was in the lead and dropped in, the rest of us following the probe. Well, it turned out that horizon line was the only one. The entire run from there out descended at a steady rate of (my guess) around 150 feet per mile. The run was fast and relentless. I was most often in the back, following the leaders, dodging this way and that to navigate my way through a non-stop course of waves and holes - some strong, some not. I think in the first mile there were 2 eddies, which we all caught to catch a quick breath. After that, eddies were scarce unless you beached your boat. The gradient remained fairly consistent, sometimes becoming steeper for short stretches where the river constricted. All was going well, and we even had the opportunity to have some children cheer us on from a hunting camp perched just above the river. Cruising along at breakneck speeds we suddenly see and hear what we don't want to see or hear. SWIMMER! Bobbing along about 25 yeards upstream is Travis, ten toes and his nose well exposed, clutching his boat and crashing down the steep, shallow river bed. He gets to shore a short distance later and his boat continues without him with Scott and Mike in pursuit. I pull to shore near Travis and get out, not wanting to run solo to catch the boat-chasers and ditch my boat in the woods to walk down to the take out with him, which is just under half a mile at this point. From what I'm told, Travis and I missed the best section (it got better!?) through a constriced area with some nice horizons and a few beefy holes with some fun moves to boot, and judging by the topo, the steepest section of this very continuous river. In Travis's defense, he didn't pull the trigger for his swim, his Skirt imploded after getting windowshaded in a hole and rolling up - suddenly realizing that his boat had become a bathtub he had no choice but to dive in and get a face level perspective of the river. Fortunately, other than some bruises and scrapes on his hand he pulled through all right.

Mike and Scott continued chase and finally the boat to shore at the takeout, where Granby Stream enters the Paul Stream - probably at least a half mile chase, more likely it was longer than that. By far the longest chase I've seen. At this level, it was agreed that this was a class IV run due to its continuous nature, and was likened to Ball Mtn. Brook, but more continuous. And, by that I mean that you've got a solid 2 miles of rapids, no pools, few eddies, and plenty of action. Certainly a river that I would love to have the chance to run again, maybe at a lower level to enjoy the scenery a little more... If you do paddle it, expect fast action with split second decisions and a super fun run.

The day was capped off with a short scout and photo shoot at the last gorge drop on the Upper Moose in Victory, a nice III/IV section for about 100 yards with 2 1-2' drops in a tight riverbed finishing with a 4' slide with an auto boof at the bottom into a bubbly amber pool. So far as we know, first descents by Scott and Mike. Maybe a good name will come soon...

All in all, Highly reccomended. A great day on rivers that see little or no boater traffic. And, thanks to Ryan Moore for the beta on Paul Stream - hopefully he'll be able to join us next time.

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