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Trip Reports

Find trips reports from 2001 and prior in the Bow & Stern Archive
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2010...

Upper Mad season opener Sunday Mar 21, 2010
Upper Mad (again) Wednesday Mar 31, 2010
How Low Can You Go...NBW Friday Apr 2, 2010
North Branch Lamoille Saturday Apr 3, 2010
Easter on Patterson... Sunday Apr 4, 2010
A pushy Lower Mad Wednesday Apr 7, 2010
New England Creeker Weekend Thursday-Sunday Apr 8-11, 2010
Lower Lamoille Saturday Apr 10, 2010
(Not) Joe's Brook Sunday Apr 11, 2010
Board Meeting floatilla...Lower Mad Thursday Apr 15, 2010
Lookin' for the Flow Saturday Apr 17, 2010
A Cold Moose Saturday Apr 17, 2010
West and East Ausable Rivers, NY Sunday Apr 18, 2010
NH Race 2010 Monday Apr 19, 2010
All alone in the NEK Wednesday Apr 21, 2010
Browns River to the Lower Lamoille Saturday Apr 24, 2010
Huntington River Saturday May 1, 2010
More NEK action Saturday May 1, 2010
Mad after work.... Wednesday May 5, 2010
Sun, Rain & Waterfalls... Thursday May 6, 2010
Full day in the Greens Saturday May 8, 2010
South Hero to Valcour Island Saturday May 15, 2010
Plan B, Wells River Sunday May 16, 2010
Green River Reservoir Sunday May 23, 2010
Maquam Shore - Champlain Wednesday Jun 23, 2010
Green River Reservoir Monday Jun 28, 2010
Lake Carmi Sunday Jul 4, 2010
Missisquoi River Sheldon Wednesday Jul 7, 2010
White from Royalton to West Hartford Saturday Jul 24, 2010
Rapid River Sunday Jul 25, 2010
First week of August Floods Tuesday Aug 3, 2010
Ottawa River Saturday Sep 4, 2010
Upper Browns River - Underhill Friday Oct 1, 2010
The Upper Moose Saturday Oct 2, 2010
New Haven and Middlebury Monday Oct 4, 2010
Upper/Lower Mad Saturday Oct 9, 2010
Hudson River Gorge Sunday Oct 10, 2010
Upper White Stockbridge to Gaysville Saturday Oct 16, 2010
West Br. Ompompanoosuc Saturday Oct 16, 2010
Lower Mad Call in Sick run Tuesday Oct 26, 2010
Poultney Saturday Oct 30, 2010
Lower Paul Stream - Episiode III Saturday Nov 6, 2010
Brown Paddle Saturday Nov 13, 2010
Wood Removal Saturday Nov 27, 2010

2010...

Upper Mad season opener
Sunday Mar 21, 2010
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

It seems fitting for the season opener to be the 2nd day of spring and it snowing in the Mad River Valley...Pretty typical conditions for a typical opener considering we were in sunshine and high 60s both the two days prior.

We put in at the lower bridge in Warren. Gerard, Jim and Paul ran the class 3+ rapid above the bridge while the rest of us did the class 5 scamper down the bedrock to the river below the bridge. From there it was a pretty and pretty uneventful paddle with lots of smiles and eddy hopping and some surfing. Once we got to punch bowl everyone was either warmed up or freezing...or both. Jamie, Gerard and Jim had done the run the day before so they ran the left with out hesitation and the Gerard went back up to hit the right side. He punched the swim ticket for the day and we were on our way...That right side at punch bowl is a sticky bugger - no doubt. Another ledge and then we were to punch bowl. Everyone ran it flawlessly with one lightning quick roll at the bottom.

It was a great way to start the season. Lets hope for lots more water and great days on the water...

Upper Mad (again)
Wednesday Mar 31, 2010
Organizer: Gerard Ganey
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium high
Author: Gerard

We put on the river about 5:30. I ran first drop under the Warren Bridge. Francis took a swim in the first rapid below the bridge. That was the extent of the unintentional swimming.

We lived a life of glee. We stopped only a few times to play in the waves. Eventually we reached the Punch Bowl. Some of us stopped and scouted, others just went for it. Everyone ran the left side cleanly, Eric did it twice. I went back up and ran the right side cleanly.

Francis, Woody, and Brock decided it was dark enough not to run the Butternut Rapid. I went first, and Eric followed with a roll to end the day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlsli8Nh62o

Enjoy the video... Sorry if you only have dial-up you could always use your iPhone!

How Low Can You Go...NBW
Friday Apr 2, 2010
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

Whew - I have a lot of runs on the NBW but this may have been the lowest yet. The three bags ones were about as sketchy as they get for low flows and the lesser drops offered up multiple piton potential as well.

That being said the group bucked up and we pointed our boats down into one of the true gems of Vermont. After a handful of warm up ledges ranging in height from 3-6 feet we came to the first real drop. Broken Drop was showing it's fangs Friday with a very narrow landing zone between two pieces of broken ledge. The whole group ran it cleanly right down the green finger of water and though to the pool below....No problem. The next major drop which is more or less the first of the big'uns was really bony with the right line looking like the only line...at least to me. Jamie however took the path less traveled and worked a right to left move down the face of this drop and made it look very clean. The mank mank in-between this drop and Big Bouncy was almost too damn shallow to run but we banged our way down it with some of us portaging a small segment. We all walked Big Bouncy paddled down through the pipe and then took a look at the 8 footer that is wicked shallow. Some of us ran it with more success than others with only on really ugly piton at the bottom. Next was the sliding board....Stay WAY LEFT on this one. Jamie was kissing the left wall the entire way down. Francis very much the same except for a slight variation at the end and I ran the same line as Francis. We all walked Double drop (WAY TOO LOW). The next drop was Cave Drop - again the nice slide into the mini gorge was out of play as no water was punching over it. We actually had to seal launch in on a thin lubed up slide with some assistance. Our only swim of the day occurred at Cave. A short paddle to the slack water of the Final Drop and we all pulled here.

It was a really long paddle on the NBW at close to 4 hours. No one got hurt. Everyone came away with a big smile. It was a beautiful day to be in a beautiful river valley in Vermont. I was glad to be of the river by the time we pulled up the bank and the ice cold PBR in my truck couldn't have been calling my name any louder.

A great day on a great river....

Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqa8BWFUF9Q&feature=channel

North Branch Lamoille
Saturday Apr 3, 2010
Organizer: Geurilla
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Dave Packie

When the Mill Brook proved too low, Tony and Gerard joined Jay and I on the NBL on a sunny 80-degree April afternoon. We put in above the slide on back road...the left channel was clean for the first time since I've been boating and looks nice. We all ran right with no consequence, and paddled on down thru the next few ledges. Into the gorge past the school we found the level to be really nice. Padded yet technical. Sunny. Warm and friendly. Just above the crux of the Gorge section there is a nasty tree that extends from the right bank essentially across the entire main flow. At higher flows, some folks snuck over on the right, and you could sneak a slot of far left. The far left move required catching an eddy about a boat length above the wood in the heart of the rapid, so we lifted over on the right and were on our way. Beware sneaking over this on the right. There is a lot of room for water to go under this tree and if for some reason you ground out trying to go over, it could be a nasty situation.

We all ran Smash-your-face cleanly and I have to comment on how capable Gerard's pack raft is. At 7 pounds, it is a very capable class 3+ white water tool that could easily be packed long distances. Judging by Gerry's delight as things steepened down in Waterville, he really needs to be in a real creek boat. The Waterville ledges were at a real nice level too. Makes me feel like 2.5-3 on the painted gauge is really ideal for this run. The gorge is fun and fluid, and the ledges are on the verge of getting meaty w/o becoming one big rapid, making the whole stretch manageable and fun for a class 3+, 4 boater. Much above 3 the ledges start to look like one big class 5. Much lower and the gorge starts to lose some of its continuousity.

We scouted the ledges extensively and had a good safety plan. Jay and I ran down thru the first two ledges to the eddy with only a little trouble getting spun making the sneak move at the second ledge, avoiding the ugly hole. Gerry also managed to steer clear of the hazard and was stoked on this section of the river. Tony capsized at the first ledge and snapped a very nice looking roll. From there on river left near the old mill foundation he missed a ferry and was out of shape for the sneak move. The result was him being committed to run the meat w/o much headway. The Hole consumed him and his boat. I had moved from the first ledge down to the second ledge when I saw he was not going to make the ferry and got there just in time to see the action. The hole kicks hard right, and took him into a side surf. His canoe was being chewed on hard. He was upright and I was looking for some eye contact...but quickly realized he needed a rope quick. I threw out in front of him at the far side of the pour-over, making sure the line would find him in the pile. No sooner did I make the toss than his boat window shaded and he was under. He resurfaced and recirculated once very quickly...I wasn't sure he had the rope yet and started to take in line for a re-throw when the line got tight...I backed quickly up the ledge and Tony floated out into the eddy. The hole kept his boat just long enough for us to get him on land then released it to the same eddy. All persons and gear accounted for. For such a nasty hole ride, carnage was minimal.

The rest of the run went down with no worries. There is a tree out in the main channel in the rapid below the big slide. The eddy out move on river left is still there, but the ferry out is in front of some wood that will get worse at 3. Jay and Gerard's personal first descents on the NBL. Cheers. Good to get on the water with those two, and always a pleasure to boat with a legend like Tone!

Here's to a rainy summer with lots of complaining by the land-lubbers! Now how bout some pics Tony!

Easter on Patterson...
Sunday Apr 4, 2010
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Ryan

There really isn't anything I can cay here that I haven't said in the past. The headwaters of the White River that start in the Breadloaf Wilderness on the east side of the Green Mountains may be the best continuous stretch of III+/IV- in the state.

This was Paul, Gerard and Eric's first run on this gem and they all came out the other side grinning. Paul found that a couple of the holes are stickier than they look, Gerard came out of his packraft once, Eric stood his Y on end, and Dave did a good job of showing everyone which holes not to enter sideways. I scared the crap out of myself in my new micro creeker/play boat wierd thing spending a good portion of the run squirting down it on my stern.

Sean lives on the river and knows it better than anyone so it was nice to have him along showing the newbies down the river....also a great resource to tap into to find out when it is running.

A great day on Patterson for sure...Go get some folks - the spring melt is about through!

Happy Easter

A pushy Lower Mad
Wednesday Apr 7, 2010
Organizer: Gerard Ganey
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: high
Author: Gerard Ganey

Well... A 4:00 thunderstorm turned a falling Mad into a rising Mad. The Mad peaked at 1350 cfs at 10:00 p.m. last night, we took off the river a little before 8. It was an evening full of swims and portages. I apologize if the details are skewed and I will correct them.

Everyone ran the put in rapid cleanly. At these levels double drop had a troublesome curling wave at the bottom. Woody hit the curling wave and swam. John paddled right into the hole on the first drop and swam the second drop.

A few of us scouted the drop below the bridge on river right. Then ferried back to river left. John got up close and personal with the main pillar on the bridge and swam. Class 2 brought us to the calm before Horseshoe Falls.

Everyone portaged the falls, which resembled a hydraulic death trap. Ryan and Francis opted to bounce down the low flow slide on river left. Chris, Ryan, Dan, Woody and I all ran the Washing Machine cleanly.

John had his final swim for the day in the rapid below the beaten down Lovers Lane Bridge. There were no swims on the final drop. We spent a good amount of time surfing the bottom wave which is awesome at these levels. Packraft had the best surf of the day.

Overall a day where the river handed out many lessons.

New England Creeker Weekend
Thursday-Sunday Apr 8-11, 2010
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium low
Author: Ryan

This past weekend was the scheduled annual pilgrimage from PeeYea for a handful of my creek boating buds.

This year Jason, Dan and Brenton headed up on a Wednesday night from Harrisburg to the Glen Falls, NY area. They broke camp early and got on the Mettawee and Furnace Brook to get the weekend started right. The Mettawee was at a good medium flow and there was enough water in Furnace to make a run out of it. From their report when I saw them Friday morning there was a Dead deer in the second tier of Calfee falls.

Friday Jason awoke to a stomach flu and it dogged him the rest of the weekend...We also picked up two other boaters from PA and Simone (Fastest boat on the NH Ledges). Off we went to the Lamoille drainage only to find the NBL too low to bang down....bummer!!! We did get in a decent run on the Gihon though. All drops were styled including two partial runs of the Mustang. The Dam owners are sending mixed signals as the lady came out and gave us hell and a talk with her husband later was in complete contrast saying he enjoyed watching the boats go down and though anyone to portage the dam was nuts. Looks like some diplomatic outreach to the owners to clear up the situation would be a good thing. FERC would definitely side with the owners if they decided to get serious about cutting off access there. Anyways the run went well with only one swim in Spinach at the Carpet Factory by the group's esteemed squirt boater.

The next day we all met at the Famous Wayside Diner and beat feet over to NH for a run on the White Mountain Classic...."The Upper Pemi". We ran it from the Basin down though several quality rapids including the parts of the North Pole, Wham Bam, Sentinel, and more or less a couple more miles of quality class 4 read and run in an amazing gorge. The run started in the 20s and a blizzard under the watchful eyes of Cannon and Lafayette and finished with bluebird sunny skies. Once we were off the river we beat feet over to the Wells and got in a speedy dusk run on the regularly run section. Everyone liked the action on one of the VT classics.

Sunday the group broke and Simone took Art and Wayne to Texas Falls and Middlebury Gorge....I took Dan and Brenton to the NH Ledges for a lap. We were a ways behind Tony's group and no one was behind us so we had the river to really take our time and pick down different lines. I was trying out a new creek boat (think I am going to be getting a Bliss Stick Mystic) so was not feeling overly chargy any ways...It was a nice mellow end to a pretty action packed weekend......

Oh if I didn't mention this...if you are feeling your oats and can handle never ending class 4+ water read and run with a couple of really stout class 5 drops. Go see this river. It is AMAZING!!!!!

Here is a video from 4/10's runs... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6Yqb7vYLgU

Enjoy

Lower Lamoille
Saturday Apr 10, 2010
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low

We delayed the put-in until early afternnon, and that worked out very well. The morning had been cold, but the sun came out around 11 AM, and by 1 PM the sky was totally clear. Of course, when the sky clears this quickly, it means that a front is moving through, and that usually means wind - which is always an upstream wind on the Lower Lamoille.

The water was low for mid-April - 1800 cfs versus a normal of 3000 cfs, but this is well above the minimum boatable of about 1000 cfs.

This was also the first day of trout season, so the two main problems on the river were 1) fighting through the wind and 2) not running into fishing lines. The rapids themselves were reasonably mellow.

We had two canoes and two kayaks. We met just below the dam at Fairfax Falls, unloaded all the gear, and drove to the take-out at 12:30 PM to leave a few cars. We were able to start down the river just after 1 PM. As planned, the trip down to the top of Arrowhead Mountain Lake took 3 hours. We didn't play much, because the canoes were delayed so much by the wind. At the upstream end of long flat sections there were whitecaps and waves rolling upstream, and sometimes the canoes could make reasonable progress only by paddling right along the shore, where the overhanging tree limbs reduced the wind.

We rested our old knees by getting out of the boats at an island below the first rapids, and were surprised to see a weasel-critter playing along the opposite bank, swimming into the river and getting snacks. We debated among river otter, weasel, or mink, and settled on weasel - but looking at the Vermont Critters website it probably was a mink. There was another one down near the takeout. The only other notable wildlife was the usual collection of merganzers.

(Not) Joe's Brook
Sunday Apr 11, 2010
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Tony

A.J. traveled down Rt. 5 from East Burke to East Barnet early Sunday morning to get a visual on Joe's Brook, which was "just a trickle". Plan B options included the Mettawee, the Poultney, and the New Haven Ledges. None of these appealed to A.J., but we agreed we'd run Joe's together - one way or the other - before the end of April. Moving on, I made the call on the message board to meet up in Bristol at 11 am to run the ever-popular NH Ledges.

After gearing up at the take-out, we pulled over on the way up to the put-in to examine the best route around the "pin rock" above Play Pen. It was good timing, for us, as another group of boaters was in the middle of a real-life rescue of a kayaker vertically pinned in that exact spot. Noone was hurt, but I wish I had taken a couple of pictures to make others aware of this hazard at low water.

The water was sparkling in the sunshine, and the level held steady at ~375 CFS all day - low and technical but definitely boatable. It got above 50 degrees, tempered by a strong/chilly west wind once you were all wet. There were swims at Lost Legs and the Play Pen, but in each case a rope was tossed to keep the swims short. I impressed a father/son spectating at Toaster by attempting it in an open canoe, and moreover hitting the boof/tongue perfectly and landing upright (and virtually dry) in the pile at the bottom - my first completely clean and upright run of Toaster!

I will post a few Paddle Pix for the day.

As kayakers go, Jim, Jamie, Eric, and Pete are good eggs. I'd paddle again with them...any time ;o)

Board Meeting floatilla...Lower Mad
Thursday Apr 15, 2010
Organizer: Paul Carlile
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

About as mellow as you get for a post work run....

We all joined the club because we like to boat...Being on the board was a choice because we like what the club does and promotes but when there is water flowing the choice is easy - boat or meet? Paddling wins! So why not a float and then meet afterwards????

Anyways - the Lower Mad was at about as low as you want it for a fluid run - the upper rapid has tons of eddys and the lines are a little more narrow. BRock found this out by drifting into the only rock on the first rapid sideways. He broached and pinned losing his paddle and swimming down to the landing below the first rapid (is this thing still called elevator shaft?). Anyways Brock lost his paddle and had to walk out.

The rest of the run AJ, Paul and I eddy hopped and boogied down through the remaining rapids in the upper section and then plopped down over Horseshoe and then more of the same eddy hopping down through the lower gorge. After the last rapid we surfed up the speedy wave a few times and then headed to the take out to meet Brock, upon which we loaded up and headed to the Reservoir for some Brews, Dinner and the board meeting...Rich Larsen met us there unwilling to huck any meat....

In retrospect Paul, AJ and myself weren't paying attention and were goofing off up stream surfing and eddy hopping. Knowing Brock is a gritty bugger and has a lot of time in the boat this season we were much too lackasdasical about him drifting into the first rapid on his own ahead of us. The situation ended ok with a lost paddle and his OC1 a little over flexed (no gunnal damage). But it could have been a mess if Brock had been pinned between his boat and the rock. As a relatively new paddler it is the responsibility of the stronger more seasoned boaters in the group to pay much closer attention to the rest of the group - even if you aren't the trip leader. I know for one, won't be taking for granted a participant's ability to successfully navigate a river. I have been burnt twice this season.....

Pix posted....

Lookin' for the Flow
Saturday Apr 17, 2010
Organizer: Dave Packie
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

Lots of precip...mixed up high going into the weekend...

The Mad was up around 1k and the NH was bumping up into the 800cfs so why wouldn't Patterson be at a good level???

So off we went Dave and I met at the Moretown General Store, we met Dan, Ben and Hal in Granville at the take out. HOLY SMOKES it was close to 5 inches low on the gauge rock. Awe what the heck....there was still a channel down through and the major drops were constricted enough to be kind of fun. Well....everything else we'll bang off of rocks. So when we put on I think everyone was freezing. About 200 yards into the run we were all complaining about how hot we were from the constant maneuvering we doing.

We all took turns leading and then getting hung up. The couple of times I was out in front and got hung up - looking back up stream at the beautiful valley we were descending and then each of the friends in our group it sunk in why I boat. All of the guys, even though conditions were less than ideal, were smiling ear to ear. That may have been a grimace on occasion from a good shot to a rock, but for the most part I think everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves. Patterson has a way of doing that to you though. I've said this before and will probably say it again and again in my reports - This stretch of water transcends a lot of boater ability at a lot of different levels. I have many other favorite rivers that I enjoy boating in VT some that I will drop everything to go run...Patterson isn't one of them, but once I am down in there and really look around at it - I can really immerse myself in the heart of the Greens! It is a magical place, a beautiful place.

We got to the bottom of the run in about 40 minutes and had the rest of the day to go hit up something else. We were already down that way so why not check out Bingo....It can't be any lower than Patterson. I had never been on Bingo as well as 3 others in the group. Off we went south through Hancock and Rochester down to Brandon Gap. Oh boy it was looking low on the drive up Bingo's watershed. Awe what the heck...off we went.

Bingo seems to run very closely to Patterson, Both are of similar size, and steepness. Where they differ is Bingo is loaded with much bigger ledges and slides and has some pretty seriously sculpted geology where Patterson has some bedrock features there is also a good deal of boulder action.

I really enjoyed my first run on Bingo. It could have used about 5 more inches of water but it was fun. The river valley is really pretty but fairly wide open and has much more development than Patterson. It was also ravaged during the 2008 summer floods putting wood in the river in places. Because of the nature of the bedrock some of the lines come into undercut angled fins. I think the group had a good time because they were all smiling on this run as well. It felt like a much longer run and it may have been. We all paid homage to the plastic gods in the Bingo drainage and owe our boats some luv for the abuse they took between the two low water runs.

After Bingo Dan headed home to parental and marital duties. Dave, Ben Hal and I grabbed a bite at one of the best General Stores in VT (Warren) and then went our ways...Ben and Hal back to B-town and Dave and I got in a really nice lap on the Moretown Gorges. It was up around 900cfs...so really pushy compared to what we just spent the afternoon boating.

I have boated the upper gorge years ago but never ventured into the lower and especially at a level approaching 1k cfs. All I can say is what a fun ride. Never hit a single rock, ledge or anything solid! The eddy hopping was fantastic and the larger more powerful nature of the river in there was a thrill. Dave is right - a great place to do laps and really work on your boat control, crossing pushy eddy lines, and there is some pretty nice surf in there too. I'll be back for more!!!!!!

All in all a good Saturday on the water - wish I had snapped some pix.

A Cold Moose
Saturday Apr 17, 2010
Organizer: AJ Seibel
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: low boatable
Author: AJ Seibel

4 Degrees above freezing really makes the hardiest boaters come out. Questionable rain and flows threatened to cancel the trip, but Old Man Winter somehow let out just enough snowmelt from the previous few days of accumulation to bring the Victory stretch of the up to a low 5.4' runnable level.

The trip this day was mostly class 2, and of course it began to rain after we put on. We played and surfed our way down the river, taking in the scenery and noting an unfortunate broken canoe on the way down during a quick rest and stretch. The low water caused mystery rocks to appear form nowhere, flipping an unsuspecting OC-1 in unusually calm waters. Had to have been a rock. Or one of those darn kayaks darting in and out of his way.

We all had a great time in the cold drizzle of the NEK, adding another river to the list for Brock and Jim. A cold long trail ale closed the day on the backroads of a great lesser paddled run.

Til next time!

West and East Ausable Rivers, NY
Sunday Apr 18, 2010
Organizer: Eric Carpenter
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low

After deciding that the Boreas definitely did not have enough water and the Hudson would be a long, cold day, we decided to head over to the high peaks to take a look at the East Branch and West Branch of the Ausable. We were treated to gorgeous views of the High Peaks shrouded in mist and snow covered. The weather was generally in the low 40's and cloudy/misty/rainy/interspersed with sun.

After hiking a section between High Falls Gorge and The Flume of the West Branch we put on and ran the hardest drop of this stretch, directly under the bridge at Whiteface- a solid Class IV which led into a short class III section before petering out class II the rest of the way to the takeout, above the Class V+/VI Flume under Rt. 86.

On the East Branch we ran from Hulls Falls, on Hulls Falls Road in Keene, down to route 9N-(2.5 miles). Everyone elected to put in below Hulls Falls. Rounding the corner, we were surprised with a class III+/IV- rapid which provided some interesting lines, but no real trouble. The next mile or so was an exercise in finding the deep water as the river opened up before constricting again at a short class III guarding Champagne Falls- class V. With 2 successful runs and 1 walk of Champagne Falls, we all ran the class IV mini gorge that followed which ended with a sweet boof move (or kiss the left rock wall move, we won't name any names!). The last mile or so was smooth sailing class II+ to the nice warm takeout vehicle. Another successful VPC outing!

Gauge info:

There is a gauge on the East Branch, just upstream of the confluence with the West Branch in Ausable Forks- this gives a gauge height reading in feet. The AW site lists a minimum of 3 feet for running the East Branch- we all felt there was plenty of water for all the drops, between Hulls Falls and Champange Falls though, you could only go a little bit lower (Maybe 2.5?).The other gauge is after the confluence just downstream of Ausable Forks- this measures the flow in CFS.

NH Race 2010
Monday Apr 19, 2010
Organizer: VPC and UVM Kayak Club
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Dave Packie

New Haven Race recap...

Results

Finals: 1st Place - Scott Gilbert (King of the Ledges)

2nd Place - Will

3rd Place - Colby

4th Place - Dan Burke

Fastest Qualifiers:

1) Simone Orlandi 8:10

2) Damon Bungard 8:30

3) Hugh Pritchard 8:33

4) Scott Gibert 8:53

Long Boat Champion- Hugh Pritchard

Golden Goldfish (best/worst swim) - Sherm

Iron Man (Long Boat/Short Boat 5 race laps) - Ben Schott

Day Tripper(Longest Drive): Doug P.

Narrative...

Level proved tricky to predict again this year, and after much planning, we found ourselves on the fence Thursday night about what to do. Thanks to a nice little shot of rain overnight Thursday, and to spite temps dropping to single digits Friday night we found the river to be absolutely bare bones minimum boatable and a chilling 14 degrees Saturday morning at 7:15. We called our first audible and moved the start for all the races to down below the boulder-garden put-on rapid. I got registration set up while the Club Kids dressed out the course with safety and timing appartus. We quickly registered 20 boaters, most of the mugs I recognized, but some out of townwers were present. A kelty rep showed up from NH and got some tents out, had other various gear to be used for us to create the illusion of organization and professionalism. By about 9:30 folks were feeling the rays of the sun as it crawled over Mt. Abe and boats were lifted to shoulders, helmets were slapped down one last time, and the brace of early spring water on bare skin was felt. The field heated up slowly. The predominant conversation on the walk back up after the first lap was how much gloves sucked and how glad most folks were that they didn't swim or capsize, but some did. In fact I didn't hear many folks really bragging about their first lap at all. Lots of people "got hung up" and in truth, there was alot of terra firma involved in even the cleanest lines that morning, but collective virtue was working for us, and so was solar gain. Fortunately the sun came thru enough to hold the ledges and even bumped them back up almost 100 cfs for the afternoon head to head action. Fastest qualifing times were put down by experienced ledges paddlers....and Hugh who? The guy that never paddled the ledges before? In the piroette? Interesting.

edit: [ Click here for link... ]

Hugh was chatting with me about race lines on one of his walks back up...one of only 2 long boaters unfortunately, but we really wanted to have a long boat final. The only other long boater there was Ben, and he was competing in both classes. Way to go Ben. We were stoked when Ben said he was into a long boat head to head final. It was nice to get Hugh a final heat and some head to head action. Hugh won the long boat final by a big margin and looking back at the raw footage, was one of the smoothest boaters on the course that day period. Congrats Hugh, I hope Ryan got you the Sleeping Bag, that at almost 9 feet long, is still shorter then your Piroette.

Hugh was wise to study the race lines because lots of boaters were figuring these low water lines and smoothing the course out on their second qualifiers. With the start being where it was, the Ledges were pretty much the make or break rapid from what I saw. The Second lap finished, lunch consumed (hope there was enough) ready for the head to head. We would move the start down stream a bit more. Originally we anticipated the first few hundred feet of river would space out the racers before Secret Compartment, but with the start where it was, we were nervous they would still be bunched at the major constriction there. We moved the start line to just below S.C. meaning that after a couple small drops and some quick water, the ledges were the first rapid the racers hit, and it was still close there for almost every Final. Which, IMO was an awesome thing. There are pretty much 3 ways to run every section of that rapid so as the preferred lines inevitably got taken by the leader, the following boaters would peel off to alternate lines, that weren't their regular line. I felt like right all the way was the best line, but it was obvious that if you flubbed it, you would get passed, maybe even by a couple folks...

Scott Gilbert. Perfect example. In his first final goes from third to first at the ledges by running center left, wins and advances to the final where he makes the final pass again at that rapid when Colby momentarily broached after getting the hole shot, and goes on to win. The same Scott Gilbert whose name could often be heard in the parking lot of the church spoken in low tones. The time he put on the ledges alone, at 3000, in an Ace, got his ass kicked and swam for his life, only to find his boat, days later, so broken someone just threw it in the dump. Scott Gilbert who "Discovered" the sieve 2 springs ago and decided to try and fill it with his CFS. Actually fit perfect. Scott Gilbert. King of Lincoln in 2010. Nice Gilbert!

Below the ledges the order rarely changed. At these levels a couple optional lines were not available and it was hard to pick up time. The buoy you had to touch to finish was in the pool, 40 yards from toaster so if you flipped on the waterfall you could get passed in the flat water sprint to the buoy. Scott did go a bit deep there in the race, but stayed cool, and paddled strong to the finish.

As I mentioned before, Ben was the only guy to race long and short boat. Makes for a busy day Ben...propers to you for manning up.

Damon Bungard/Jackson Kayaks and Dan Burke/Kelty showed up. Damon had some great ideas on next year's race and they were both in it to win it from the start. Dan was the ONLY C-1...and made it look really fun BTW. Pale Morning Media of Waitsfield was awesome. They got us some really nice Sierra Design and Kelty camping gear and dry bags, various soft goods etc. Doug Piatte (butchered your name Doug, sorry) drove out from Boston for the race, then he was on his way home to southern NE. 8 hours of driving for our little race. He got himself a tent from Sierra Design for his troubles; next year he can get a campsite up at Maple Hill and make a weekend out of it. My Bro Ken carved the trophies again this year(Spotteddogwf.com). A relief of a boater hucking toaster for first place...and a fat gold fish gulping for air like a carp....that baby went to the one and only Sherm, who in 2 laps managed to swim out of toaster, get pinned in the sieve in playpen (nice self rescue) then swim All American Boof....in 2 laps. Hands down winner, best swim(s) 2010. Although there were others....you know who you are.....who decided attempting to swim on the mostly-ankle-deep-water would be fun...we have some of you on tape...IR you gonna....which brings me to Immersion research. Simone got a nice shortie for fastest qualifying lap...they hooked us up with some board shorts and poggies too...Clay I hope you got your stuff...and the Bristol Bakery showed up and hung out all day despite not making any money because they "thought the idea of a kayak race was cool". Thanks, make sure you frequent that awesome little bakery right up in Bristol when you go to the ledges..

Thanks to everyone who came out. Turned into a gorgeous day....folks were having fun...and there were some good races. Props to all you who competed. Until next year..

All alone in the NEK
Wednesday Apr 21, 2010
Organizer: AJ Seibel
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: AJ Seibel

Finally got on lower Paul Stream! This run holds water pretty well as everything else in the area was dropping out, but we had a plenty fluid run on a sunny April wednesday. On our way oer we learned that our third boater and shuttle driver, wasn't going to make it. So, we headed up, stashed our boats in the woods, drove to the takeout and walked back to the put in, just shy of 3 miles. The morning sun made it a pleasant walk, though we had hoped for a passing car to pick us up. No such luck!

The drops on this run are fantastic. The first is a slide/falls into a diagonal hole with a fast runout. Being only two we opted to pass on the first payment to the river. The river flows as nice class 2 for about 200 yards before dropping over 3 back to back ledges, all fun and boat scoutable. The last endered Charly (Travis' river persona) and made for some rolling practice in a turbulent boil, but that proved to be the only mishap. The river bounced along playful class II rapids for a while before pitching downstream in a continuous class III section culminating in a class IV three stage drop. The continous section was a blast, pillow boofs abound, and lots of little 2-3 foot drops were sprinkled in to keep us entertained. The last drop (the class IV) had one heck of a horizon line, so we scouted river left. Next time, we'll scount river right, its a lot friendlier... What we found was a fun lead in drop with some optional harder slots, followed by a manky rock garden with a clean slide down the right, and a fun pillow move at the end in the runout. I nearly explored the whole rock garden in reverse, but a quick correction off a rock on my way down spun my boat in the proper direction just as I began to charge down the slide.

After this adrenaline booster the river once again mellowed out, winding through boreal flats and multiple channels before rounding the bend at the take out on VT-102.

If you don't boat the NEK, you're missing out. Its just you and whoever you bring, and rapids and unexplored creeks everywhere. Come boat the last frontier!

Copy and paste the link below for photos of the run.

http://www.vtpaddlers.net/talk/upload/index.php?directive=show&showVolume=rivers&showAlbum=Paul+Stream&dirAlbum=Paul%20Stream&showEvent=Lower_4_21_10&eventLabel=Lower%2C+4%2F21%2F10&datestamp=2010-04-21%2000:00:00&index=0&date_test=%3C%3D%272010-12-31%27#slideshow

Browns River to the Lower Lamoille
Saturday Apr 24, 2010
Organizer: Brock Richardson
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: low boatable

The Browns was at a low runnable level. The Lower Lamoille was at 1500 cfs.

Frank Wells stopped by to say Hi and introduce himself. Although he couldn't do the run he offered his service as shuttle driver, which was great. Thanks a lot Frank!

The Upper section of the Browns seemed promising. We stopped to scout the dam in Westford. Chris and Mary Kate ran the dam river left and I ran it river center. Everyone else elected to portage. Everyone ran the Big Ledge Drop down the center - right of the big rock. Everyone ran it clean. The levels were low but OK until after the last major drop down the left hand turn. After that it became really scrapey and not that fun.

It was a long slog to the Lamoille. Luckily it was a beautiful day so the only whining I heard came from me. The Lamoille was an uneventful run with one quick swim. Everyone left tired and a little disappointed there wasn't more water.The consensus was: 1st third fun, second third awful, final third fun.

Chris , John Atherton, and I ran the Browns a week earlier with the Lamoille at 4000cfs and it was a fairly challenging run - maybe III-. Its a really fun run at that level.

Huntington River
Saturday May 1, 2010
Organizer: Jim F
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low

The new put in should always be at my place.

Okay..... We put on at my place and took out just before the gorge.

The level was lower then I have ever run it and I thought it was quite fun for the last bit before the take out. We had one swim. One tip over, stand up, and start over again that I thought was done with great grace.

We sat and had happy hour on the deck after the run. A good time was had by all.

More NEK action
Saturday May 1, 2010
Organizer: AJ
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: Ryan

So I think our minds were made up long before we ever left in the morning...

Paul and Gerard and I chatted in the morning and made the decision to head to the NEK to meet up with AJ and sample some of his goods in the Kingdom. They received a good bit of snow up that way and it held on for a few days longer than around the Montpelier area so - what the heck - off we went.

On our way up we saw a boat laden car at the parking area next to Joe's Pond. Chris from CT was waiting for a crew of boaters to meet up with him. They were dumping a ton of H2O from the Joe's Pond dam but not enough to get the river up and running...Think flood stage for Joe's to go!

So Chris joined our group and we were off to meet up with AJ and head up to Paul Stream.....

Lets just start that this stream is not just a long drive but like on a different planet! It was another hour north of St. J. By the time we got there though the sun came out and it was looking like we had a decent day of flow.

Right off the start is a class 4 bang (read AJ's TR from last week). We all ran it sans AJ (smart man). All that ran it went deep. Out of all that ran it I swam out of the bottom of it. Fun rapid...fast and flushy! I need a better roll.

The rest of the river went w/o incident - lots of fun. We got to the crux of the run and there was a log in the middle of the entry rapid. An hour or so of work and we had it open for business. Totally worth it to get the feel in for that stretch! (See Gerard's Video). There was some more read and run to the take out. At the take out was a father/daughter combo with a sweet rainbow trout on a stick. If you're an angler it looks like Paul Stream is a nice place to work your cold water fishery skills.

Off we went to get in another river down in St J. The Moose. What a fun action packed stretch of ledges. Definitely a big water feel and some holes to be avoided.

All in all I think the group had a great day on the river.

Mad after work....
Wednesday May 5, 2010
Organizer: Shayne Jaquith
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low
Author: Ryan

Your run of the mill night on the Mad. Frigging spectacular evening to be on the water.

The group played out the river pretty hard. The first rapid everyone caught as many eddys as possible - It may have taken 30 minutes to get through elevator shaft. Everything else was fun down to Z-rapid where a few hit multiple eddys on both sides of the rapid and in both steps. John even caught a great mid rapid eddy! The 100b surf wave was surfed up and then it was off to Horseshoe. Everyone who ran it ran it cleanly and all wend down the center avoiding the munch right side.

Washing machine caused some minor problems but most folks eddy hopped their way down it.

THe lower gorge was clean and the last rapid I think every one hiked up for a second shot at it.

Most folks left tired with grins on their faces. Dave, Gerard, Paul and myself stuck around for a speed lap (only catching the "fun eddys") We pulled out in the dark after our race lap and were off for home.

What a great evening to be on water!!!!!!!

pix posted

Sun, Rain & Waterfalls...
Thursday May 6, 2010
Organizer: AJ
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: AJ Seibel

Sunshine makes it nice, Rain makes it better...

We met up at the fish and game parking area to find a log in the sweetness. I swear, I'm done cleaning rivers. 2 logs in 1 week, each taking at least an hour to get out!! Anyway, we sawed, pushed, swam, dragged and cursed, and the log was finally free.

With shuttle set, we fired it up. The flow was low, but felt nice and fluid. We both nailed Brett's Mom (haha) down the left center line. On to the Sweetness Gerard had a moment of pause just below the drop, and I finally got the mid-air turn on the first try that has been eluding me for sooo long as you come off the drop in to the channel flowing left towards the runout. Excellent! Labyrinth went smoothly, finding some new lines towards the bottom on the left proved to be fun as well! Gerard took the slide on the next rapid, I went for the small boof falls on the left, but went WAY too far left and took another slide. I noted my mistakes for correction on the next lap. El Salto went really nice today, nice and soft, and surprisingly fluid considering the lower levels the gauge was reporting. Down and out, we both styled Tantra. I took the right chute, Gerard charged the O-Face hole from the river left slide.

On to round two, Gerard deflated the packraft and hopped in to his (new to him) Salto to test his skills. And skills he has!! Great roll, confidence, and ability to just go for it. He cleaned the whole lap with no issues and even managed to demonstrate his low brace on the first drop, and find the spiteful swirling eddy on the second drop after getting pushed left out of the hole at the top. Oh, and piton the small falls, spin off of el salto, and still come out smiling... Once this man learns to boof a hard boat he'll be a force to reckon with!!

All in all, a great morning of sun, rain and fun! Good times...

Full day in the Greens
Saturday May 8, 2010
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Ryan

Lots of Rain in isolated locations got a crew of us out and about on the river...

For some it was a virgin go of it on Patterson. We found it at a lowish level but relatively fluid considering. First run was fun and we boogied it out in about 36 minutes (at least that is what my head cam said). Second run we hooked up with a few locals and worked it in about the same time frame. Both Paul and I swam with various resulevels of bodily harm, but still alive and ready to paddle out.

After Patterson a crew of us headed to the Moretown Gorge for a lap. At a fun pushy level those that paddled were treated to the only sunshine of the day. It was nice to get some thermal radiation.

Dave and I not ready to call it quits yet made a race run on the Lower Mad. It was at a fairly meaty level with lots of fun waves and some pushy eddy lines. Horseshoe was munch and Dave tested the squirtability of his Creekboat in the entry hole. All ended well with a good boof of the right side of the lip. Never see his eyes that big though!

A finish through washing machine and the final bits of the bottom gorge and we were out and on our way to a couple of quality DogFishAles...

A good full day on the water!

South Hero to Valcour Island
Saturday May 15, 2010
Organizer: David Hathaway
Difficulty: flatwater
Level: medium

I got no takers for the scheduled trip, so I went solo. Started around 11 AM, and met one other kayaker (Phelps Holloway) around the south end of Providence Island and chatted briefly. Waves were 2 to 3 feet and somewhat disorganized in the open lake on the way over, but came down a bit and got a little more uniform (from NW) on the way back. This link shows the route and pictures of my kayak on the beach at Smuggler's Cove on Valcour Island. Got back to the launch point around 3:30.

Plan B, Wells River
Sunday May 16, 2010
Organizer: AJ Seibel
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: AJ Seibel

The EB Pemi just couldn't deliver, but the short section of the Wells certainly did. Rain showers raised the river and held it steady through the day at a low but boatable 185cfs. Everyone in the group was getting their first taste of the Wells, leaving me as the tour guide for the day. The first run took just over an hour, boat scouting most of the drops and getting out to take a quick look at El Salto and Tantra. All boaters did an exceptional job, no incidents, no mishaps. Tanner styled the center line on El Salto on each of the group's 4 laps, everyone else bounced down the right side and had a great time doing so.

Many lines were explored in each of the drops, and nearly everything goes on this run! If you haven't paddled it, or know someone who is looking to dabble in the creek boating scene, this is certainly a fine introduction.

Hopefully the river will continue to give some water for a few more weeks for some more early summer hucking fun!

Green River Reservoir
Sunday May 23, 2010
Organizer: David Hathaway
Difficulty: flatwater
Level: medium

We had a last minute cancel due to flu, but a last minute addition as well. We met at the boat launch a little after 10 AM, and were on the water by about 10:30. There were many other boaters out on the lake, but it's big enough with enough islands and coves to keep it from feeling crowded. It was a sunny warm day, with almost enough wind and clouds to keep from getting hot, but water a little too cold to encourage voluntary rolling to cool off (Marilyn didn't have a sprayskirt, so that wasn't really an option for her anyway). We meandered more or less counterclockwise around the reservoir, seeing loons, several beaver lodges (but no beavers) and an otter. We had lunch at the bridge at the entrance to the closed nesting area, then continued to the beaver dam at the north end of the lake, and got back to the boat launch around 3:30 PM. The trip track link is: http://www.spotadventures.com/trip/view?trip_id=200829, and pictures will be attached to that page once I get them uploaded.

Maquam Shore - Champlain
Wednesday Jun 23, 2010
Organizer: Terry
Difficulty: flatwater
Level: medium

6/23 - We put-in at the boat access in swanton on rte 36. The water was mostly calm but there was some chop due to breezy conditions. I kind of like this place. For Lake Champlain it was pretty quiet. We enjoyed a good 4hr paddle along the marsh, around Tabor's point, and then back. Boat traffic was virtually non-existent and we encountered a fair amount of wildlife along the way (Osprey, Heron, Duck's, song birds). I enjoyed paddling through the marsh grasses and saw a number of fish including a rather large northern. This paddle proved to be a good close to home option for a mid-week evening on the water.

Green River Reservoir
Monday Jun 28, 2010
Organizer: Sherry
Difficulty: flatwater
Level: medium
Author: Terry

6/28 - Wow, this was my first trip here, what a place! quiet and remote, the green river reservoir is likely the premier quiet paddling location in northern vermont. It's a huge body of water with nearly 20 miles of shore line. While there are roughly 20 or so campsites around the reservoir there are no motors or camps on the lake. Thus, it's easy to find quiet which makes this place pleasant to the ears. Sherry and I paddled around most of the reservoir skipping just those inlets that are off-limits to paddlers due to Loon nesting. We stopped a couple of times for a snack, lunch, and a short rest. The scenary here is easy on the eyes and the water was smooth. We were able to see a couple of loon's as the sun started to settle and bumped into a few duck's and ducklings along the way. The weather was nearly perfect until the very end of the day when a few sprinkles kicked up. But, after 6 hours of paddling, we were ready for a beer and a burger at Hoagie's in Morrisville anyway. All the best - Tlove

Lake Carmi
Sunday Jul 4, 2010
Organizer: Sherry
Difficulty: flatwater
Level: medium

7/4 - We took and evening paddle on Lake Carmi on Independence Day. It proved to be the perfect time. Boat and jet ski traffic had all but subsided and the water was tranquil. We enjoyed a good 3 hour paddle along the State Park area of the lake (south end) that included close-up views of a Bald Eagle, an Osprey, numerous ducks, a raccoon, a beaver, and a dozen or so blue heron. The sunset was dramatic and peaceful. One of those that just leaves you shaking your head in amazement. All the best - Tlove

Missisquoi River Sheldon
Wednesday Jul 7, 2010
Organizer: Terry
Difficulty: novice WW
Level: medium low

Hi, last evening, Sherry and I had an amazingly tranquil paddle on the glass like water of the Missisquoi. We put-in just above the Dam at the Sheldon Paper Mill and headed up the river toward the rapids behind the Abbey. The water was calm and the air was hot (90+). We hit the water at 4:30pm and paddled for a full 4 hours. The first stretch of water (2-3 miles) is very calm and shallow. You have some nice views of farm fields, the bridge on 105 in sheldon jct and a couple of old railroad bridges. One of which is now used as a recreation trail and is great for walking or biking. We stopped at the base of the rapids for a short rest and a snack and then played around in the mild rapids for a bit before heading back into the quiet water. Just below the old St. J and LC railroad bridge we took a left and headed up Black Creek toward Sheldon Creek. Although the water was a bit murky in spots, we enjoyed a very nice and quiet paddle. The trees are very close to the water and overhang in many places. The shade provided a nice break from the heat and we were treated to numerous wildlife encounters. It's likely that these critters don't see too many humans and we seemed to peak their curiosity. We saw King Fishers, Wood ducks, Muskrat's, Turtles, and various song birds. We hit a patch of rocks just below the bridge at Sheldon Creek and turned around to head back to the river. We had a nice paddle back down the river and spotted many other types of wildlife along the way as the sun was starting to set. We enjoyed the beauty of blue heron stalking their prey on the river banks, Two osprey circling above the river searching for an evening meal, and a couple of angry beaver who seemed real annoyed to have us invade their intimate river home. All in all it was a great evening of paddling and one that I would highly recommend for those of you who like quiet water paddling.

All the best - Tlove

White from Royalton to West Hartford
Saturday Jul 24, 2010
Organizer: Peg
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: low boatable

Nice warm day and we all had fun taking our turns at getting wet either by rolls or swims. Either way it was nice to cool off. Very nice fun drops and rapids on this stretch but long flat paddles between the fun stuff. By the time we got to the end we were tired enough just to play a little in the surf wave at the bridge. It was also great to see so many other people on the river either swimming, boating or fishing. We were going to meet up with CJ and others( Laura finally swam I here) but we did not see them until we were on the road going back. It was a good day and we were done before the rain came.

Rapid River
Sunday Jul 25, 2010
Organizer: AJ Seibel
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: AJ Seibel

A Great day on a remote Maine river...

The adventure began with a 1 hour and 45 minute wait while Travis and Brandon set shuttle, got lost, got lost, got lost, took a wrong turn, and eventually found their way back to the put-in. It continued with some class II flatwater across the 1.5 miles of Pond in the River, with whitecaps and a strong headwind.

Finally, the current began and things started to look more like a river. Some fun surfing was had in the warm-up class II rapids and then it was game on. First, Second, and Third pitch are big rapids at the 1800cfs level, and all had a great time eddy hopping, ferrying and surfing the big waves in the first few rapids.

Next up: Smooth Ledge. If you like surfing or playboating at all, you NEED to get to this playspot. It started out as a nice 2-3 foot wave with a retentive foam pile, but a non-retentive green tongue between the two holes. As the levels dropped, the hole became more of a hole, and we were all able to get a little play time in, a few spins, and lots of rolls. Spectating was as fun as the play this day as there were a good number of talented boaters at the playspot throwing down, and cheering everyone else on. The place has a magical summer vibe to it!

After that we headed on down through S-turn, finding it to be surpisingly easier in practice than most guidebooks would lead you to believe. Then came some great play in Devil's Hopyard with some great waves and holes to play in, and generally easy and fun class III followed by the darned flatwater. Another half to three-quarters of a mile out brought us to the hidden take-out on Lake Umbagog. To top off the day, you get to go back through all the logging roads to fetch your car and tempt the tire-flattening gods one last time before the commute home...

All in all, a pretty freakin' excellent day on the river!

First week of August Floods
Tuesday Aug 3, 2010
Organizer: Mother Nature
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium high
Author: DPackie

Most Summers it happens. The Jet Stream puts us in the slot for everything coming east to train over the Green Mtns for some period of time. Reminicent of the summer of 2006, multiple smaller systems pushed thru this last week and rail-roaded northern VT's higher terrain. Rain totals from Waterbury North were impressive. 2-3 day totals near 6 inches in spots with widespread areas getting over 2 inches of rain resulted in some huge levels, but the stability of the jet kept things tight and most of Vermont stayed dryish. "Head North!" my labor-stricken commrads e mailed...and working outdoors this summer, I was rained out for Tuesday. Jamie's teaching gig lets him out to play on summer days. Tanner is visiting from Utah, getting married next week and has been working on the family farm so his schedual is open as well. AJ is just a slacker and bailed in his life obligations to come boat, and I got to show 3 newbies down the Gihon at the perfect level. When I got out to scout the dam, the bank was only a few inches above the water level. A thick green slab bent over the weir boards, but the hole looked manageable. I slid back in to the tepid water and led the three lemmings over the lip blind, for their first dam run, as is Gihon tradition. One capsize with a quick roll found us all grinning in our repective eddies. We rambled down to the boof above Balls to the wall. A well-lube hummock of rock practiaclly auto-boofed all 4 of us with little effort and much joy. The sound of pancake-flat landing boomed above the din of "Balls" just down stream. Feeling the group would follow me off niagra at this point, and for the sake of the rythem of the run, we ran Balls with no scout. AJ showed off his side stoke in the eddy below, and one other checked for trout in the runout but decided to stay with the plan and paddle into the eddy. We ran the next 2 ledges left, avoiding bad wood in the right slot just above the scout for Mustang. The level was really great for this big 5. The first sneak was somewhat fluid, the slide was easy to get to and the hole at the bottom was surging and churning, but pushing thru hard. I decided to give it a go. Tanner is so solid, I knew he was in and with 2 more for a live bait set up above the crux, I was feeling well prepared for this rapid that I haven't run in a coupla few years. It went without consequence...I don't think Tanner got his head wet. After the flat water I showed everyone the line at Bed Head, which had some punch at this level, unfortunately I showed everyone the wrong line. 2 feet too far right. Squirted right after the first boof, into the corner, off the pillow, out via a quick side-surf in the bottom hole put Tanner and I in the bottom eddy. Jamie was not so lucky. A quick beatdown in the top hole, a timely roll just above the second drop, and another out of the bottom hole found him in the eddy. AJ watched all this and carried right, the more difficult line for sure. There is bad wood in the left side of the next rapid which makes this sequence pretty legit. We ran down the rest of the run to Powerhouse at a great level. At Powerhouse, Jamie decided to see why the runout is called "cheese grater" and demonstrated amazing patience while boating inverted and donated some flesh for his efforts. Great run at what I think is the perfect level. At the takeout, everyone who actually has real jobs showed up and as we left, they made haste towrads NBL which was at 2.5. They got poured on during that run and the area got hammered again overnight. Both rivers flooded the next morning, but by the time we got over there at 5, they had dropped to runnable levels. We did a NBL gorge run, scouted the ledges and found them gnarly. Attempting to hook up with Scott who went to Joe's without telling anyone except Gerard left us without shuttle, a theme for VT boaters that night. After hitching the shuttle we got to the lower gihon and it was still on the high side of medium. After the portage of the Bed Head/El Dorado sequence, we ran the rest of the lower in the dark. Even a better level for these rapids then the day before. At the top of the chute for Powerhouse the toung was black as oil and the pillow popped in the light coming out the covered bridge window. Stellar moment I won't soon forget. Reports from Joe's were a medium level, with wood still in the big slide. Most of the boating up there was done in the dark and the short shuttle back to Green Banks Hollow was also done on foot....making for a very late night for the local jonsers. Summer boating rules.....Great runs on great rivers at great levels in great temps with great crews...only 1 swim, and light carnage. Until next time.

DVT

Ottawa River
Saturday Sep 4, 2010
Organizer: Jim Poulin
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low
Author: Jim Poulin

The Bet: Even before we start packing for the weekend the trash talking begins! This comes from a discussion with Brock and Jim on which way is the best route to the river. Jim maintains sucking it up and drive right through Montreal at rush hour. Brock wanted to experiment with the northern New York route slipping by lakes and casinos. Jim and Brock formulate a bet that whichever vehicle arrives last, the loser will fetch beers for the winner for the entire weekend. As it was, Jim and Paul did arrive after Brock and John. But after much arguing, negotiating and a few beers, it was determined that both routes took five and a half hours. Stay tuned for a rematch.

Weather: The weekend was not your usual hot and sunny Ottawa weekends. It was generally cool and rainy. The temps during the day struggled to 60 unless the sun popped out for more than a few minutes (not a common occurrence). Night temperatures were right around 50. The rain came and went all weekend. On a positive note, the weather gods did allow for periods of non-rainy dryness for breakfast, cocktail hour, dinner and evening festivities focusing the rain on sleeping and river time.

Where are my friggin' tent poles: Upon arrival Paul realizes he has a tent. And tent poles. Nice. The only problem they were not a matching set. Not so nice. After some pondering (and another beer or two), the engineering skills of this group came out. Up went the folding canopy (the ones used to protect picnic tables). Then came a whole bunch of rope. The pole-less tent was hung from the bottom of the canopy and was good to go. The canopy even doubled as a fly! The only thing that could have made this better (or more of a kludge) would have been to use a throw rope. See visual evidence in the Paddle Pix section.

River levels: All three days had the gauge at -2.75. This is a fun level but could have been a bit higher to make Baby Face and Garburator reach their full potential. Otherwise all river features and rapids were full on fun!

Day 1: As a warm up the group ran the Middle channel on our first day. Of course this also includes running (or not) McCoys. To give scale, only in Canada do the rapids have so many named features within the rapid! McCoys rapid contains Phils Hole, Sattlers, Corner Wave, Horseshoe (two of 'em) and of course, Baby Face. Extra points goes to paddlers that manage to hit all of them in a single run! After some time on Baby Face our trusty group headed down the Middle. Sucessful runs of Iron Ring, S-Turn, Butterfly, a walk around Garvins, Upper No Name, Lower No Name and Black Velvet. (see John, it does have a name!)

Day 1B: Not joining us for the daytime fun, Grayson and Matt roll into town late in the day. A quick set up of camp and they were off to park & play at McCoys/Baby Face. They come back tired, hungry and happy well after dark.

Day 2: Up and at 'em early today! At the put in before 8am (yup, you read that right). We went straight to Baby Face and surfed until we puked (OK, just shy of that ugly mark). At about 9:30 the rafts and paddlers started showing up in force so we headed back to camp for a nice leisurely brunch! After a good feeding and relaxing session we headed back to the put in for a full run of the Main channel. This run included less time on Baby Face but more on Garburator, Push Button and Brain Douche. We scouted most of the big stuff so that everyone knew what they were getting into. Everybody ran everything with various degrees of success. There were a few swims, but none of consequence and everyone had a grand time.

King of Clubs: This year the second annual battle of the Ontario paddling clubs was happening while we were there. We camped right in the middle of these clubs so had a firsthand view of the goings on. While we missed most of the on river events (McCoy Relay, Cardboard Boat Race, Boater Cross and Tug of War) we had a front row seat for the land events (Boat Toss, Zed Drag and Rope Throw) plus a friendly water balloon war. Of course then it kicked into a campfire party with most of the 125 participants ringing the fire. We met many good Ontario friends. They were strongly encouraging us to field a Vermont team next year (we are considering it). One particularly notable character was our buddy Clive. He had a wonderful weekend. While Clive did not once dip his paddle in the Ottawa whitewater, he did manage to consume a creek boat's volume worth of fine Canadian suds!

Day 3: Split up day. Matt and Grayson decided on a park & play at Pushbutton and heading back early. Brock ran through McCoys and then headed back to his truck to start his journey to Kansas (I did not check MapQuest but I did not realize the fastest way to Kansas from Vermont was through the Ottawa whitewater region). Paul, John and Jim took on another trip down the Middle channel. Since we were all veterans of this run, there was no scouting, just running. There was one side trip to scramble around the rocks that form Little Trickle. At these levels it is dry but comes into play at higher spring levels.

Ottawa Biathlon: The astute VPC trip report reader will remember that last year's trip included a Triathlon for Brock - Run, Walk & Swim. This year Brock upgraded to a Biathlon - Run and Swim. He did not walk any rapids this year on the Middle or the Main. Way to go Brock!

Best(?) Swim: Ottawa rapids are big and a swim usually ends up in the large flat water pools at the end of the rapid. For Brock's run through McCoys we set up safety mid way. He was pulled in right after a Phil's Hole swim, repackaged in his boat and sent downstream only to get munched by Horseshoe. Two swims in one Ottawa rapid, now that's a feat!

Wildlife Sightings: A Bald Eagle, a few deer and countless fish viewings! And this list does not include the crazy Canadians around the campfire on Sunday night.

Vitamin I: The person who invented Ibuprofen should get a Nobel prize in medicine.

Where's John gonna fit: With Brock off to Kansas it was up to Paul and Jim to find room for John and his gear for the ride back to Vermont. After seriously considering tying John on the roof rack we found ways to stuff as much gear as possible into our boats and make a small bit of room for John in the back of the Magnum. He didn't complain too loudly. (or at least we didn't hear him over the road noise)

%$#@ Sunday drivers: After three days of paddling the last thing one wants to encounter on the ride home is a 90 minute traffic jam! But so it was from pretty much the time we turned east on 17 until we cleared Arnprior.

Home again: As always these three day weekends go too fast and there are too many memories to put into these few words. Why don't you consider joining us next year? Same time (Labor Day Weekend), same channel (River Run on the Ottawa River). We'll save ya a camping spot...

Upper Browns River - Underhill
Friday Oct 1, 2010
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: high
Author: Tony Shaw

Mill Brook was too high for open boating (and for most sane kayakers probably too). Everything was that way October 1st, it seems. So Paul and I drove up to Underhill and ran the upper Browns, putting in below the culvert on Stevensville Rd. in Underhill Center and taking out at Mills River Park in Underhill Flats. There was a lot of water, obliterating all of the cobbly islands that characterize the upper Browns, but it was clearly on the way down by ~5pm when we put in.

It has only one constriction 1/2 way down beneath a farm bridge that produced a pretty massive hole/wave, and the rest is a riffling class I-II in medium/high water. But the high water made the upper 1/2 of the run a strong II with just a few of strainers and one ~log jam to keep it interesting. The high water actually made the strainers easier to get around, but a beginner could easily have gotten into trouble here. There are a couple of barbed wire fences to be watching for, too.

It took 1 1/4 hours or less, with things moving along at a good clip when not strategizing how to skirt the log jam. Lots of locals seemed to be impressed by our intrepidness on a day when flash flood warnings were all over the airwaves.

Fire'n it up...Northfield Style in the Devil's Washbowl
Friday Oct 1, 2010
Organizer: Dave Packie
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium high
Author: Ryan McCall

Let's set the stage here....

We just received 5+ inches of rain in the Winooski River Basin and it's tributaries over the last 12 hours. You do one of 3 things - You get to a high point in the landscape, build an Ark or load your creek boat on your vehicle and head to the smallest, steepest runable stretch of brook you have dreamt of running for the last 2 years.

The latter is exactly what happened. The Devil's Washbowl is a never run ribbon of love that streams down from the Northfield Mountains to converge with Cox Brook along Moretown Gap. It has been getting tweezed for the last couple of years and poked and prodded at various levels but never has it seen a full complete descent until October 1st 2010.

The day stared as it usually does when boating is on the agenda...A check of the USGS gauges a drive to Putnamville to see what the NBW is doing and then back to make a few calls starting with Dave. Knowing he was also off of work for the day took the urgency of jumping on it out of the equation. A mellow conversation about possibilities for the day, that he was going to hop in his truck and get a visual...and then I was off the phone and back to breakfast with my kids. About 30 minutes later he called and said everything was huge and it was a Devil's day, get down to Northfield! Scott Gilbert walked away from the NBW and stuff was going off huge. Yup - the online gauges were spiking with no ceiling in sight. I couldn't make it down at the moment though as I was working on my coffee and a bagel sandwich sitting in between a 2 year old and a 4 year old watching Elmo converse with Mr. Noodle...Scott and Dave fired up a partial run at flood stage with out me, walking most of the meat because of the waves and holes.

Once I had my fill of Oscar, Big Bird and the rest of the gang on Sesame, I loaded up my gear and headed down to meet Dave at his house and wait for Russ to get out of class at Norwich. Noon and the three of us are on point ready to get on the river flows still pumping and rain coming down. We get about 1/2 way there and I look in the back of the truck and there is only one paddle, helmet and PDF for two boaters - back to Dave's house to get the rest of his gear...Nice when you only live 5 minutes from the river. As we are headed back up, Sean calls and says he is on his way over. Yes! a 4 man crew...this is good, as it takes the crazy JuJu that seems to hang over the Dave, Russ and Ryan show (I always get hammered in some hole or rapid when I am with those two). We set shuttle at the take out and head up to the draw where the creek flows, don our gear and hike down into the put in.

Dave wants to make sure Sean can find us so he runs back up and waits as I can feel my stomach flopping and all moisture leaving my mouth as I look at the creek. As I turn to Russ to say I want to see some of this on foot, he grins and says it is all boogie with some horizons. Yea - whatever, as I start down the creek knowing I am on a time limit of scouting. We scout down to the confluence with Bean creek (another that is on the shortlist) and get back as Sean is working into his boat at the put in. HERE WE GO!

I am such a pokey bastard and always the last on the water. Probably a bad thing to sweep as I am the weakest paddler in the group, but I do a lot of watching and learning as I see all of them taking their own lines and eddys. About 400 yards into the torrent I am bopping in and out of the action like a dance and really feeling the rhythm. I look up and see Russ and Sean moving out of their boats in an urgent fashion. Dave has pinned in a strainer but is upright and stable. The current is trying to pull him under but quick action and a shallow stream bed allow Russ and Sean to grab Dave and his boat and pull him out of the situation. I had boofed the log and was down stream to pick up any loose pieces. Dave is out safe and already pulling a saw out of his boat to strip the strainer. One less piece of wood to deal with later (Dave and Scott paddled over this at higher flows earlier without knowing - scary). Wood cleaned up we are off on our way to the confluence with Bean Brook and the first major rapid and gorge on the creek. Russ, Dave and Sean are running things in Blue Angles style and I am again alone but want to see the drop...Dancing around trying to see the line Sean pops from behind a rock and says just stay right and over the pillow. OK and I fire it off and it is as smooth as it gets...down in a sweet little gorge with a limbo log to get under - gotta get that one out some other day.

At this point we are all regrouped and feeling good in our boats. Dave has had two partial runs of this creek at this point and Russ one. They boat it as read and run down to the next side creek on the right...MAKE SURE TO EDDY OUT THERE! OK I can follow directions and besides you guys are going to be there - right. We run what feels like another several hundred yards of some of the most rhythmic boating I have ever done and I see Dave out of his boat standing in the eddy smiling from ear to ear ready to snag my bow as I peel into the eddy. He shoulders his boat immediately as I am getting out. Both Sean and Russ leave their boats. I carry mine up to where Dave has his and then walk down a path to see the rapid. It is a right handed turn into a falls dropping you into a beautiful gorge. The move doesn't look hard but more than I want to bite off. Sean is confident in his line and fires it up, getting sucked down upon landing and almost flipping...He cleans it though and is through grinning. Russ was taking speed shots with his camera the entire time. As Russ and Dave are discussing the possibility of following Sean's line, Russ decides to look at his sequence of pictures...He doesn't like what he sees of Sean's run and bags it. Sean nailed the first D of this drop and named it after his daughter Aspen...great name for the drop!

We get in the river below the drop to join Sean and make our way down though more amazing rapids that are now starting to shape up to be fun little boof ledges. All too quickly the action halts as the crew bangs into an eddy and we all scamper up the bank to look at what is around the bend. The Triple Drop....Wow what a pretty drop. There is much deliberation, scouting and an unintentional ghost probe run by Sean's boat - must have slid back into the river and ran the drop cleanly and upright even boofing the ~10ft falls. I have now gotten my boat down to where I am putting in (not running triple) and have scouted the drops below so I know where and what I am doing going on down river. Russ has me set up to take pictures and I am ready with a rope. In all reality Dave has been working this run for a couple of years - he gets the first go at this one. He styles the falls and runs a great line on the slide into the pool where I am at. Russ fires it up next and the Sean. Both Dave and Russ carry back up for a second go and make it look easy again.

Now that we are all back in our boats and working the river eddy to eddy you notice that it is definitely steeper than at the beginning and it is mostly 4ft ledges one after another...total boof fest - except for one that has a rooster tail that looks like a rocket launcher. Again Dave and Russ fire it up as I make the easy boof. Looked like a sweet launch (check the pix). We come to the last ledge and all run it cleanly, eddy out and hike back to the car set for shuttle.

Once at the car we find Russ has left his keys up in my truck at the put-in. Sean and I thumb back up and we are quickly back at the take out. With so much water it is tuff to call it a day but Dave and I have to head back. Russ and Sean are off to bomb a quick Stony run only to find it has already flushed out as we suspect Devil's Washbowl has too behind us. At the bottom of Cox Brook Road in Northfield Falls is the Rustic Inn and not ready to totally call it quits and it being a tradition of mine after paddling in the Northfield vicinity, Dave and I belly up for a couple of pints to recap the day's events and toast the rain gods for serving up such beautiful liquid madness before heading back to our respective abodes.

So the long winded version of the Devil's Washbowl first descent...Get when you can!

First Dee - Green River Reservoir
Friday Oct 1, 2010
Organizer: Christian Woodard
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: high

Taken from a NPMB post

Got to the NBW about 7:30 to find ten cars, fifteen bleary kayakers, and a river that was patently unrunnable. Some folks headed down for ultra high water Mad runs, and the rest of us drove up to the Green River Reservoir, hoping to find the only river in the state that was "low." With no drainage area and the whole river stopped up by a huge impoundment, the Green River is the perfect option when everything else is out of its banks. It might even still be too low.

We put in just downstream of the culvert, portaging two logjams right out of the gate. Soon, we came to the first drop, which is shaped a bit like the turning boof on the East Branch Pis, but with a far less obvious line. The main flow appears to land on an angled shelf, so the only options are a hard drive left or a turning boof to the right. All of us that ran this drop ran it on the right, off a shallow flake into a shallow pool. Tripp fired it up first with a beautiful line, and we followed with slight variations on a slightly more center route. Alan pitoned really hard off this drop - 15ish feet into three feet of water. Be careful here. There may also be an easier line driving hard left, but you'd have to fight some powerful boils to break back into the main current. The runout of this rapid has a nice boof followed by an undercut chute where you want to stay left.

A few more trees and easy rapids, including a fairly steep river-wide hole. Then a mile-ish of foggy flatwater with turning leaves and heavy rain. A few trees in this section, but it went quickly.

Got out to scout the "teacups" in a large eddy on the right. This is the only drop we didn't run because of wood. The line is a straightforward boof on the left, followed by a boily runout in a mini-gorge. A few more easy rapids brought us to another of the standout drops of the run. This rapid has an easy class II entry followed by a sloping fan 10-12 feet high. There's wood in the entrance that forces you right, and there's a huge pine down in the pool, right where you'd resurface on the boil. I ran a left to right line, boofing into the right eddy above the wood and finishing in a side channel. Tripp, Alan and Mike all attempted the late boof in the center. Mike got violently backendered and swam right into the strainer, where Tripp executed a characteristically speedy and effective rescue.

Downstream, some boatscoutable water, mixed with larger rapids, including a fun steep sequence curving around two corners. A small ledge with an obvious boof flake, and we were at the logging bridge (which is an easy 15 minute hike out or in). Just downstream of the bridge we carried one river-wide log, then got out to scout an interesting drop jam packed with wood. I ran it down the left (I went under one of the logs, but had to pass my paddle over the top), but when the wood is out, the main line will be down the right.

A nice set with a stronger hole than we'd anticipated at the end, then "piton" drop to finish the river. Stay center on this one - more than half of us got too far right and smacked some rocks right good. One more timber portage, and you're out to the bridge.

We parked at the electric transfer station, but this required us to walk out boats along the road for a few hundred yards. If there's a convenient parking lot or pulloff on the Lamoille, it might make sense to continue into the main river and paddle down from there. Be sure to look right and see the junkyard fully underwater if you do this.

Based on my previous walk of the river bed, and some photos of the 288 cfs release, I think that we had slightly less than that, maybe closer to 200. Everything was runnable, but everyone on the river agreed that a little more water would smooth the run out. Especially the first drop, which was essentially a speedy seal-launch with a midair 180. It needs some wood to be cut out (which may not be terribly popular with the fishermen who use this river far more than we do), but this has the potential to be a really prime dam release river. Everything is runnable, and the drops have a good bedrock character, though it is potholed under there. The run took us two hours, with eight people and a fair amount of scouting. If you knew this river and the wood were cut out you could route it in a half hour.

The Upper Moose
Saturday Oct 2, 2010
Organizer: AJ Seibel
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: AJ Seibel

The second full descent of the Upper Moose in Victory, VT.

If most folks had this run in their back yard, they would be stoked every time it came in. But, I'm the only person whose backyard this run seems to be in, and though I'm stoked to run it whenever I can, it is certainly a haul for anyone who lives near any major population center... Only in VT would Montpelier be considered a major population center, and then only by a country dweller from the NEK. But, I digress...

We had run Joe's Brook the day before at what would later be realized as flood stage. We pulled off at the covered bridge and wanted to come back a day later to catch it at more manageable flows. Well, we arrived the next day to find that the river had in fact not dropped at all! The flashiest run in VT was somehow holding water, and so it was time for plan B. I grabbed a saw and Gerard and the two of us led the pack, speeding, to the NEK. I had scouted for wood but a few days before to find some of the best rapids absolutely choked with wood. Well, to my surprise the upper moose is a self-cleaning river. The huge flows from the previous few days of rain had cleared all of the wood from all but one of the drops. A short wait for the group and we were all at the top, gearing up and putting on at the huge culvert at the junction of Radar Rd. and Radar Rd. (confusing!)

Our huge group peeled off and around the corner to find and smooth the first drop, a beautiful sloping 5 foot plunge into a short pool surrounded by bedrock walls. It was at this moment we began to spread out, making use of the single boat eddies on this smaller than average creek... We continued downstream across some fun quick and steep boulder rapids, and began to wind through ledge rapids, slides and cobbly stuff enjoying every bump. Seriously, the water was low, there was much boat scraping... We shortly arrived at the largest drop on the run, an 7' ledge where all the water funnels to the right, down a slide and off of an auto-boof rock. Russ was the first to descend, making it look easy and fun, which it was. With the group fighting for shore space to scout the rapid, Russ was prompted to name the drop as it was a first D. The mess of boaters and good humor of the group led to the name Fustercluck (move letters as necessary). A fitting name with our group that day! With the drop behind us and photos taken we were off to explore the rest of the river. We soon arrived at Sideways Waterfall That Lands on Rock and all portaged the drop. At higher water it looks to go off the right, but for now it's a portage with a big tree stuck in the LZ. Some more fun ledges and generally easy class III creeking continued beneath the bridge and around the first of the class II bump-fests. After an old concrete structure appears on the right bank and the river bends 90 degrees to the left, get ready! Once you round the bend you're in the Moose Cooch. This gorged up rapid contains 7 back to back drops, all fun and boat scoutable by our group this day. The middle drop that plops you in a big pool has changed with the recent rains, now hosting a double drop stairstep which was formerly a smooth 6 footer. That last manky boulder field was tight, and had recently been dubbed a name that reflects that. We'll save that for another non-family post! The turnover ledge at the bottom claimed one swim from this guy who used to packraft, I think his name is Magnum, but a quick self rescue brought everything back to safety.

The class II bump fest resumed after this sweet sequence, and we were all able to zone out, enjoying the foliage, remarking at the high water mark and chatting about the day. Larger rocks begin to appear as you come in to Victory proper, soon passing beneath the Victory Rd. bridge and in to the last great sequence. A small gorge rapid shows its face for the grand finale, and Ryan stated that it looks like something out of Quebec, and that hell, we're practically in Canada in the NEK! So, I've decided to call this last drop Little Canada. The entrance features a nice 3 foot ledge followed by a slide on the right wall, leading right in to a cross current that slammed many boats directly in to the gorge wall. Then comes a hundred feet of fun boogie leading to the 4' plunge in to the take-out pool at the end.

Some warm Long Trail IPA's in the back of Alden's van on the way back to the put-in made for a good cap to a fun low-water run in my backyard. Some cold PBR pounders waiting at the put-in surely topped off the day.

This run would be fantastic as an intro to creeking run, and with more water may hold up as a good option for anyone looking for some fun class III-IV creeking.

New Haven and Middlebury
Monday Oct 4, 2010
Organizer: Alden Bird
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Alden Bird

With almost five inches of rain having fallen late last week, and with the New Haven gauge having soared above 10,000 cfs, today's runs down the New Haven Ledges and the Middlebury Gorge -- both notoriously malleable riverbeds -- were an opportunity both for nostalgia and for exploration. It was my first time back in five years.

The most significant change to the New Haven seemed to be a large, inconvenient rock now balanced on the lip of Secret Compartment, necessitating a precise set of moves: first a worried expression, then a panicked sprint away, followed lastly by an awkward brace or possibly, capsize, finished off with a look of cool indifference at the bottom.

The other significant change to the river was that the infamous Playpen sieve's time has apparently come and gone in the short space of my five years away: the sieve is now much easier to avoid, if not completely defanged.

And so we took one fast, sweet run down the New Haven, and ten minutes later, we were at the bottom.

From there it was off to the Middlebury Gorge, where inside, the gorge was as beautiful as ever. The upper gorge seemed relatively unchanged, but the inner gorge, the Birth Canal, was quite altered from my last run in 2005. And in my opinion -- for the better. The lip of the waterfall, in particular, seemed to afford an easier launch than previous incarnations.

At the end of the run, I relished being able to run the now-clear second-to-last rapid (once the site of a horrible sieve), which I had never before gotten to paddle.

A no-portage descent of the Middlebury! Finally!

(I must admit that I was most happy about this not out of pride, but instead because it means that I no longer have to wake up my feet [which have always fallen asleep by this point in the run] to make the portage -- or to endure the ensuing taunts from kayakers about my choice of craft as I hobble out of my boat on the portage trail.

All in all, a great day of boating!

Upper/Lower Mad
Saturday Oct 9, 2010
Organizer: Peg/John A
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Peg

Beautiful weather, great company. John A, Rich, Francis and Peg paddled the Upper Mad. The day started of with a blast when Peg led the gang on a mysterious road trip having driven past Flatbread, (where the heck is she going???). Tom then put his wetsuit on backwards, (quite a fashion statement) and Peg followed suit by putting her dry top on backwards. It didn't finish there, although I thought John would hurt himself the way he was laughing, Tom tried to put his skirt on upside down (he was concerned about his underwear being on correctly, but we really didn't want to find out). This was the beginning. About 3 feet after the put in, Peg tips over in 1.5 feet of water. (darned Shark hit the bottom of my boat). Getting towards Punch Bowl, Peg chickened out and portaged, everyone went thru fine except John, who did a little roll to show off in the pool below (it WAS planned right John). Then onward to Butter Cup (nut)??. John's first attempt was messy ending in an upside down John, boat and swimming paddle. All were quickly brought to shore by the keen throwing ability of Rich, who even roped the paddle. Tom, even in a "real" kayak, did amazingly well coming down, bounced off a few ledges but landed safely and upright. Francis gave the river a piece of his mind and paddled thru like a warrior. John, not to be outdone, re-paddled this feature and nailed it. At the pullout, we quickly changed into something more comfortable, ok, we towel dried ourselves, and met Jamie D and Jamie S and the Lower Mad. Upon the approach to the put in, we scouted the river and Peg quietly asked John if Chris W had been intoxicated when he mentioned that I should paddle the Lower. NOT!!!. Rich, Jamie, Jamie, Tom and Francis all gave the Lower a "what for" and kicked some butt. Naturally Jamie and Jamie had a sleeve full of tricks to show us all, which we quite enjoyed watching as we salivated wanting to be able to do the same. Tom was quite comfortable in his yak, however, we were confused having only seen him being 4 feet taller in his C-1. He rolled his yak, which left us somewhat dumbfounded, (as we have never seen him roll before) and we were exceptionally proud. John and myself paddled the Winooski, and John taught me a few tricks. To show off, I decided to roll twice for John, and found out that an ice cream headache is not always caused by cold ice cream, cold water has the same affect. Upon meeting at the take out (after John tried to make "goat like" climbing part of the kayaking experience) we met with the rest of the gang. Rumor has it that Rich swam a little but nothing compared to John's marathon swims earlier in the year. Tom got all his gear off successfully, but John had to blow it by trying to pull his skirt over the back of his head with his drytop. Ahh John! But at least he had his keys and no surgery was required on his car, by our very own "car breaking into surgeon", Rich. All in all, a wonderful albeit, chilly day was had by all. I am thinking of starting a collection to buy Jamie S some long pants. (I was freezing looking at him)

Hudson River Gorge
Sunday Oct 10, 2010
Organizer: Jim Poulin
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: JimP

A gorgeous fall day on the Hudson.

With only three of us it was a fast job of organizing and we were on the river right at 10am. Well in front of all the rafts and other riff raff. It was still cool when we put on - maybe 50 but the sun was out and warming things up fast. It eventually hit the mid 60s.

Speaking of fast. The Indian. What a hoot. Read and run and as always, and over much too soon. Everyone had a great time on the Indian, especially John as this was his first run down this Adirondack classic.

With the recent rain and the bubble we were running on a 5.0 gauge reading - or about 3,000cfs. A nice level with much more water than the normal summer/fall levels.

Everyone had fun splashing down the warm up rapids and then on to Blue Ledge and The Narrows. Clean runs by all.

We then dropped into One Mile, which saw the first fish counting incident of the day. John got munched by a hole and powered up such a fast roll that he went right over again. The next attempts were not as successful and we had our first swim of the day. After a few minutes gathering all the pieces parts, we were heading back downstream.

The next bit of fun happened at Soup Strainer where Richard had his turn looking at the watery world from within. He was near the bottom anyway so the swim was of little consequence. It was time for lunch and we stopped on the river left shore right after Soup Strainer. Full warm sun and plenty of entertainment - the rafts and other kayakers had finally caught up to us by this time.

We powered down the rest of the river. Even the flat water section went along pretty well with the extra juice in the river today. We were at the take out before 3!

A quick shuttle by John and Richard allowed Jim to catch a few zzzzz's. Then it was pack up and head back to the Green Mountain State all satisfied with another Hudson run.

jimp

Mach 7 With Your Hair On Fire - Hancock Brook (NBW)
Friday Oct 15, 2010
Organizer: Team effort
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: high
Author: Ryan

Ever been shot out of a cannon or at least felt like it? From the moment my bow hit the water to the premature end of the run, I am pretty sure I had a Concorde jet engine attached to the stern of my kayak. That should set the stage for this TR....

It was noon on Friday, almost a mirror of the Friday 2 weeks prior. Stuff took it's time to pop but when it did, everything was too damn big. Believe it or not the NBW was too friggin' big again!!!!! Having a good hook on the local beta (living 10 minutes from the NBW and its tribs) I had a couple of options up my sleeve. When Dave rolled in from scouting the upper part of the NBW he said he wasn't comfortable with the level and I definitely wasn't just looking at the last drop and knowing what the flow there translated to on the bigger, more convoluted ones upstream. The decision was easy; let's check out a rarely run tributary to the NBW. Fortunately Dave and I had done some woodworking on said drainage at one point with Chris Weed a few years prior and the wood situation was much better than you would expect. Ben and Russ were all for checking out the roadside romp and had heard of the infamous teacup gorge at the bottom.

Off we headed to Hancock Brook.... We parked and scouted the meaty sections with the majority of the vertical drops near the bottom. I knew from first look I was out for any of these. The undercut slide looked like death and the usually calm pool above the teacups had a concave hole in it of about 3 feet and was actually looking more like the inside of a toilet bowl than a pool with a whirlpool forming....forget about it! So we headed upriver to scout along as we went. Above the vertical drops the river looked much more manageable but still balls to the wall!. I was really impressed with how fast the water looked to be moving. Everything looked clean up to what was thought would be a decent put-in except for a small log just downstream. We dislodged it and the current swept it away downstream to who knows where; man that floated away really fast!!! When we got back up to the vehicles we decided to drive up further. The run looked too good not to keep checking up to the last major culvert before it becomes a true mountain brook coming off of Mt. Worcester. Right below this culvert there was a pretty good sized log jam that we all thought putting in below would be the best move. IF we were to run from this spot to just above the waterfall section it would be close to a 2 mile run. Not bad and at the speed the river was moving it may take 30 minutes if all went well.

Speaking for myself, as I was gearing up my stomach was in my throat. Ben, Dave, and Russ were pretty calm compared to how I was feeling. Dave was first in the water and ferried to the other side of the river into one of only about 3 eddies on the entire river that was big enough for 4 boats. Did I mention there were barely any eddies and most were 1 boat in size? Instantly we had to make a decision of which way to go at an island. I led the right side and we all bopped down a-ways to where we knew there was a limbo log and a right hand turn in the river that was the start of the first real rapid. It was a long class 4 and relatively steep with holes and waves all over. The ironic thing is it really wasn't much different than what we had just boated through. Dave led, and Russ followed with Ben and me in sweep. As I rounded the corner and ducked the birch tree I saw Russ stopped river right — stopped in a hole and surfing like mad to get out. Ben eddied out river left and I met Dave below in a slightly larger eddy. As soon as I peeled in I heard Ben's whistle and saw the boat. Russ was out of his boat and it was on its way to us. Dave and I quickly jumped out of our boats and grabbed the Jefe and pulled it ashore. Russ was out of the river and his paddle was pinned on river left. Russ was okay but a bit winded and eyes like saucers. We reacquainted him with his gear and we scouted the next drop that had a decent eddy behind it and then the flush on under Hancock Brook Road.

From this point things eased up a bit and I caught the eddy behind abandoned bridge abutments, where we initially thought we would put in. It was a good place to regroup and get the team on the same page. Just below here is where we had dislodged the river-wide strainer and let it take off. I knew we had one significant rapid and then a 5 foot high sloping ledge that quite possibly had a retentive hole at the bottom. As Ben and I peeled out and headed downriver Dave and Russ followed. We passed the place where we let the log go and then you could see the horizon line for the rapid. Definitely a class 4/4+ with a center to left move over two distinct drops both forming broken holes. Ben did a good job of navigating them so I followed his line to some success on the first part and basically just throwing two huge back-to-back boof strokes on the second part to bridge the two holes. Little did I know Dave was more or less under my stern on the first drop and was off line to the right in the first part of this rapid. He stopped in the first hole and never made it out of the second hole so he was getting recirculated in the top part of this drop with two substantial holes below him. He came out of his boat to be pulled back into the hole now having an "out of boat experience"....his first ever. I caught an eddy and saw the boat go by me, then the paddle. Russ got the paddle out of the river but the boat was headed to the ledge drop below. Dave was out of the river and safe on shore — road side. I had been sitting in the eddy assessing what was next and if I should chase the boat down. As I peeled out Ben and Russ were screaming that I need to eddy out. Just as I was headed into the eddy where they were Russ pulled out and I missed my move. I was just going to run the drop and deal with it when Ben bellowed that I needed to eddy out above the drop...Not much of an eddy but I jetted my bow up on a shallow bench, launched my paddle on shore and jumped out of my boat about a foot from the lip. At that moment something red caught my eye; Dave's boat was vertically pinned below the drop in the main channel on the exact log that we had dislodged earlier. At this point Dave, Russ, and Ben were on river left and I was on river right — good thing because I could wade the river right channel and get a line on the boat from the island. The boat didn't have any water in it and was light. Stupid me; I got the line on the boat and to the guys on shore. No big deal — I can just lift it up and out. Sure enough the log cut loose and I almost was caught up in it, the boat, and the rope. It had snagged my leg on its release; I got lucky and the log took off. They reeled Dave's boat in and realized it had split on the stern again. Dave's day was over, leaving him with all of his gear and another weld job. Ben and I decided to pull the plug on the run and I headed downriver to a small bridge to join up with the guys.

We gathered up the vehicles, Dave headed home, and Ben, Russ and I met up with some UVM Kayak Club members to run Martin's. In hindsight we could have paddled downriver a good bit in more or less class III/IV boogie but we had made a decision and called it a day on Hancock with our parts intact in spite of a couple of severe beat-downs on a full-on steep creek. We'll be back for more of what Hancock dishes out!

Eeking out the last bit of light….Martin’s Brook, Blue Angels Style
Friday Oct 15, 2010
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Ryan

After a hair-raising experience on Hancock (with my hair on fire), our group being dealt two substantial beat-downs and a broken boat, something a smidge mellower was of order. Ben was supposed to meet up with some of his old UVM club-mates at the NBW so he and Russ raced off to check the take out for them. I jetted over to Minister to get a look at the old breached dam drop at the bottom of the run and to meet them over there. No one liked the looks of the drop or the hole at the bottom. It's not very often you see a recirculating hole at the bottom of a horsetail spout waterfall; there was one there though. We all loaded up in the cars and boogied over to Martin's to get in a run before the sun set — the biggest and easiest of the tribs to the NBW and definitely the cleanest. After the UVM guys got suited up and were ready to get wet we loaded up and headed up to the put-in off of Macy's Road. We probably didn't put in until 5:45 and it was more or less dusk making the initial gorge pretty dark. The flow was good but definitely dropping so we were lucky to be catching this run at a medium level. Any lower and Russ would have added more than just the one additional crack to his multi-welded Jefe.

Martin's Brook is a pretty mountain stream that gathers the water from Patterson, Martin's and further down, Herrick streams off of the slopes of White Rocks, Hunger, Putnam and a few others in the Hogback range in Middlesex. We put in on Patterson above where Martin's comes in. There are a handful of mild class 3 rapids above a boulder choked Big Branchesque rapid that with more flow pushes class 4+. Today it was a 3+ with broach potential. Below this rapid things pick up to the confluence with Martin's Brook. We all found ourselves in line like ducks with either Russ or myself in the lead. We bombed down through the continuous class 3 action from the confluence of Martin's and Patterson to Shady Rill and one of the bigger drops on the river that you can catch a decent boof off of — this is where Herrick comes in as well boosting the flow some. Once you cross under Shady Rill bridge, you enter the ledge drop section straight away. It has holes and ledges to avoid or crash, and plenty of boof moves to make if you choose. At this point the group was loose and paddling cleanly. Danny, Mike, and Rogan were fresh and making crisp moves. Russ, Ben, and myself were enjoying low stress creeking after the freight train ride we had just been on over at Hancock Brook. From the straightaway you run down to a few vertical drops that require some precise maneuvering to run cleanly and a confident line to avoid excessive bracing. The group of 6 ran this section cleanly, Blue Angel style, except for me; I flopped the last rapid and had to throw a HUGE brace on my left side in the landing pool...no harm, no foul though. From there it is a couple of more class 2+ rapids to the take out at the Shady Rill Park. Everyone was happy to be off the river as we were out of daylight! We all had huge smiles and were pleased with the run to wrap up another epic October 2010 Friday.

Fun stuff...

Upper White Stockbridge to Gaysville
Saturday Oct 16, 2010
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium high
Author: Peg

WOW. What a fun trip. Tony, Eric and John had already paddled the W. Br. Ompompanoosuc River but were up for another trip. Jon D and myself traveled well over 3 hours to find some paddlers, and we did. Tony suggested we do the Upper White in Stockbridge to Gaysville. It was a great run. Of course, from where I was sitting (in my boat) the waves were about 10 feet high, but they were not. John A estimates waves of about 4 feet. There were a bunch or curls, drops, holes all kinds of fun stuff. The entire trip was done with a huge smiles on all our faces, (no wonder I have more wrinkles today). For once I had NO idea how many fish were in the river. Jon D graciously took that task in hand. Not only did he check once, but then double checked the fish count a little ways further down. Still not satisfied with the totals, he checked it a third time until he was totally satisfied that, yes there were fish in there. Eric lost his bailer somewhere along the way (silly open canoe). At one point I found myself in the middle of a huge wave, not being able to see anything but water in front of me. Was very cool, cool indeed when the water then soaked me by going right over me as I punched through. Tony and I had a minor fender bender on the river, when I rammed in to the side of him (sorry bout that). Those darned big boats are hard to get around. As always, John A HAD to be off the water at 3:30 to meet his poor, ever forgiving wife (you're a trooper Elv) for dinner. We got off the river at 4:15 and John was on his way by 4:45. Ahhhh John. (but he had his keys this time)

West Br. Ompompanoosuc
Saturday Oct 16, 2010
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low
Author: Tony Shaw

This was the closest thing we've had to a day of spring paddling since, well, spring! Snowfall records for Oct. 14th and 15th were smashed atop Mt. Mansfield (17") and cold rain fell almost everywhere else in VT - especially west of the Green Mts (3.5" in my rain gauge in Williston).

I was looking for class II/III water (trying to nurse back to health a shoulder I bruised falling off my bike 10/10/10), as well as something in Orange County (to officially complete my 'Around VT in 30 Rivers' list). We settled on the W. Br. Omp, from South Strafford to where it passes beneath Rt. 132 below Rices Mills - 4.4 miles total. A respectable 2" of rain had fallen there the day before, giving us medium-low conditions (~275 cfs) with the sun peeking out occasionally to fire up the remaining fall foliage.

Peg and Jon showed up on the roadside just in time to watch us scout and run the class III staircase at Rices Mills, where we each took a different line but all "styled" it. The rest of this run is attractive and ~continuous class II, with lots of rock dodging at lower levels. John seemingly felt obligated to broach his kayak on the one river-wide strainer, where (adding insult to injury) he was rescued by two open boaters!!

The only other VPC/NVCC account I could find of running this stretch was from a 1978 Bow and Stern - several tandem couples. I hope we don't wait another 30+ years to run it again!

The paddling wasn't over when we took off the water at 1:15pm, as Peg and Jon lured us to the upper White for some more fine paddling and a double (OMG it's SO beautiful!!!) rainbow. See Peg's trip report for details.

By Monday morning my lame shoulder was starting to feel better for the first time in a week, so don't let anyone tell you that paddling isn't therapeutic.

New Haven Ledges at a boat breaking low level
Saturday Oct 23, 2010
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

Everyone had the bug to get wet...The ledges were at a low boatable level yesterday so why not. Everyone was game so the plan was made. We met over at Rocky Dale 11am - closer to noon actually. The river looked really low but what the heck, Would be a good way to see what all the hype was about with the new changes to some of the rapids that took place from the flood high waters of October 1st.

Doing a little roadside scouting as a group and me taking my grand old time up at Eagle park we finally got on the river as a unit at about 12:45. I threw a couple of quick braces to get wet and loosen up and ended up upside down the last man back and now needing to roll right off the bat in way too shallow water...SHEESH!

Around the bend and into Rick's Phu$k Up. It actually wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting at this level. The main flow of water was relatively fluid. We all met Russ just below this rapid as Russ has about 5 cracks in his boat that have been welded in some form or another, but others just keep on coming. It may be reaching the brittle point now. Off to Road Side Rapid we went with Russ leading the way we all had varying lines of success. It was bumpier than I ever remember but then again, I have never run this river at such a low level.

Next up is Secret Compartment...Definitely has changed with a PIA boulder in the normal line/boof move and what seems like a sure fire piton in the left channel you either had the make a pretty fast move right or eddy out above the drop and then jet across and peel into the drop to smooth it out. Again, I am pretty sure everyone had their own rendition with two capsizes to quick rolls, a backwards go at it, A hip check on the middle rock, and one raft making the left line look way smoother than it was! Nice Gerard!

Now the river opens up a few lines down to the Ledges proper. Fun ELF boating. Everyone was bobbing and weaving through the various slots...some more fluid than others. The river right line at the ledges wasn't an option today with the low flow so you had to run down and get left for the longer slde and then work back right and left again to set up for By The Way. This rapid has changed as well. It is a funky slide into a heaved up ledge on the left and an actual 4 foot vertical drop on the right up against the bank. Very substantial change. We all took the slide on the left and it was relatively violent slam-bam - one party member had a rather substantial piton and gave us all the standard grimace.

Below we boogied on down to Toaster but not before smashing into what used to be a nice pillow on rooster tail transfored in to another piton rock. Remind me not to hit this next time! Toaster time - everyone styled toaster that ran it - including Gerard in his pack-raft...he even banged out a beautiful roll at the bottom.

Off to Playpen...Seemed to be to be much easier than the last couple of years. The sieve in the lead in rapid is now a non issue. The FU rock at the entry to the actually playpen is gone now too leaving a really nice jet of flow up against the river right wall that you can hop on and shoot dowon on through. Everyone cleaned it nicely.

All American Boof - clean and purrrdy... Same for Mamma Tried and we styled the next few ledges and were out above the bridge.

Two had to hit the road and two had broken their boats....We ended the day with a couple of Genny Cream Ales and got on our way...

Nice to be in the river under blue skies with a great crew of paddlers and friends alike.

Lower Mad Call in Sick run
Tuesday Oct 26, 2010
Organizer: Peg
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium high
Author: Peg

WHAT A RUSH!! Five of us bit the bullet and left work early, to come paddling. It started out with Jim P, Rich R and myself, and then grew with some quick text messages to Noah and Jon. Gathering at the Lower Mad take out, we spent some time discussing wardrobe. I told the boys they were "jibberjabbering" (a term stolen from Jim F) and we should move on. We put in at bout 4:15 and were off and running. Jim P made sure he had a tight leash on me as we started our run. After some ferrying, eddying and deep breathing, we made it down the first shoot into the double drop. A quick scout of the area, left me portaging and the boys running the shoot. (I just didn't want to show them up). Under the bridge we went, after a minor 4 kayak pileup. Jim had drawn a clear line for me to follow, which of course I did not. I chose my own eddy approximately 50 feet further down. After an incredible save off my back deck (ok pure luck), we hit the flatwater. (where was John A when we needed him, the flatwater King). We continued down this way until we reached Horseshoe, where Rich and I were given the very important task of holding rescue ropes (ok we portaged around it but we DID have ropes in our hands). Rich and I walked for what seemed like 5 miles and put in under Washing Machine. after getting back in our boats, Noah and I were in a neck and neck race for this little set of rapids, playing a quick game of chicken. He won and I ended up beached on the wrong side of some rocks. Again, I walked for miles, (well maybe 75 feet) until Jon came to get me (thanks Jon). Back in the water we were, heading for the second bridge, when Jon decided this would be a good time to get a fish count. Well he must have greased his boat prior to put in because that little bugger would not wait for him and took off down the river, with Jim chasing it. A few tries and giggles later, Jon was on his way. After ramming Rich under the bridge we eddied in to look for the ledge. Well, they did...I kept on going and found myself balanced precariously on top of the ledge, with no choice but to go down. After some expletives, the rest of the crew made it down and enjoyed a good chuckle at my white knuckle paddling. In the eddy we discussed the last feature of the Mad before the Winooski. Jim told me what to do and where to go, and he told me to follow him down. Now did I? NO! That rather large rock he told me to go AROUND...well I went right into it. With a loud crack that left my teeth rattling, we punched through the rest of the holes and high fives were shared all around. AHHH! The sweet taste of victory. Paddling back to the take out, discussions were had all around about this being the last trip of the season.....well....maybe....ok, the last trip of the day seemed more realistic. Crawling up some goat path, we made it to the cars and headed home full of plans for the next trip down the Mad. Thanks guys, I had such a great time and could not have done it without you!

Poultney
Saturday Oct 30, 2010
Organizer: Brock and John A.
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium high

A first run for all but Jamie down the Poultney. Really a great river very enjoyable trip. This river starts with a bang; a ledge drop about 100yds beyond the put in. We scouted river left. Fairly straight forward although two of us still managed a swim.

The next significant drop is a long slide. Jamie ran it while the rest of us watched and walked. It has a tricky entrance and a very long curling wave. Jamie said it was a tricky run.

The last big rapid I think is called Triple Drop. Jamie boat scouted the first drop and eddied out river left while we took out and scouted river right. The river divides below the first drop. A big slide with a nasty curling wave at the entrance and a massive hole in the middle below the last drop is the river left choice. A fairly benign slide with a bit of a tricky entrance is the river right choice.

Jim and John carried the first drop and then put in above the split and ran river right. Jamie ran from an eddie on the opposite shore down the river right chute caroming off the curling wave to miss the big hole by going way left. I elected to run far right. Run away far right might be more accurate as I was far enough right to be out of the water entirely.

Lots of nice class II and III ledge drops with two III + but both are easily walkable. Took us about 3 hours to run with not much playing and a fair amount of scouting. Big pools to collect yourself if things go bad. This river is fun, runs a lot is 1.5 hours from Burlington and should be on everyones list of classic Vermont runs.

Lower Paul Stream - Episiode III
Saturday Nov 6, 2010
Organizer: AJ Seibel
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: AJ Seibel

So this day was lined up to be eventful before the clock even struck midnight. I got a call from mark telling me that the East Branch of the Nulhegan was ripping. That's all I needed to hear... I quickly got on the horn and rounded up some kayakers to be raft-bait and we all met the next morning at 10am boater time, so 11am for the rest of the world. To our dismay the EB Nully had dropped over 2 feet overnight. We'll keep that in mind in the future, she's a flashy giant. So, the runs are now up for debate: a quickie on the true Nully, or over to Paul Stream. Well, Mark was stuck with a bunch of creek-boaters, and we wanted to get on Paul's at a respectable flow. Mark was down, and off we went.

We were pleased to find the run had about another 8" of water at the takeout than our previous spring descents, and pleasantly surprised to find the flow in the rapids to be sublime. We all walked Seam's Easy, the first drop at the put-in bridge. That Seam didn't seem so easy today... Triple drop, or Puma Pounder, or Mamba Muncher - whichever name it ends up being - housed a large flat recycle on the last drop today, and the photos of Mark's side surf show just how fun it was. There aren't any photos of Jamie's insta-backender and subsequent trashing. I guess Ryan grabbed the rope instead of documenting the carnage. Either way, a quick throw bag got the swimmer out. The sneak line was in on far river right today and provided a class II-III sneak to the hole.

So, gear in hand we're back on the river. Headed downstream and enjoying the flow, we come to the next drop, which was a large curler/hole. No problem, but those pesky rocks in the outflow provided the second swim of the day - nice form Ryan! Boat rescued, javelined paddle recovered, we're off once again through the mellower section before the river tilts downhill and picks up steam. We all did a quick scout of the first section to check for wood, and didn't find any. So from there we were off - picking through the boulder gardens and numerous micro eddies. Ryan and I led around the corner and waited. And waited. And waited. Ryan was already downstream checking the lines on the meat of the rapid, a little doozy called Log Jam. I headed upstream just in time to see a rope go out and a swimmer come down. Mark had pinned his raft on the shallow rocks and tossed Cynthia overboard to free up some draft. No, just kidding - I don't know how she ended up in the river, but Gerard was the hero with the throw-bag to get her to shore. Mark swam it in with official "VPC Safety Coordinator" style, and got ready to hightail it back to the truck to warm up Cynthia and avoid any complications.

So now we're there - 4 kayaks and an empty raft. What to do with the raft?

A) Ghost float it and hope it doesn't pin.

B) Line it and hope we're all still friends at the bottom of the rapid

C) Leave the damn thing there and get it when the water drops

D) Hop in and hold on

Well, being the smart kids we are, Jamie and I chose D and hopped in the raft after Gerard and Ryan had some ropes ready to go near some rather large holes. We get in, asking "who wants oars, who wants the paddle?" and "Have you ever been in a raft before?" Well, I grabbed oars, Jamie grabbed the paddle, and neither of us had ever paddled a raft, let alone in a creek. Turns out that beast will go where it wants and keep going. We were completely off line, almost falling out at the top of the rapid, then off line for the second part, hitting the big hole we didn't want to hit (which in hindsight wasn't so bad, the raft slipped right through). And to finish it off we were sort of on-line at the end (see Ryan's Photos) but lost an oar that got sucked right out of the oar-lock. We got the oar back after eddying up a few hundred feet downstream. So much for the first time in a raft!

After that ordeal, Ryan and Gerard decided to take the Class VI sneak line on a 50 degree bank, and Jamie and I, once again being smart, decided to run the rapid rather than carry. It looked fun, and the portage actually looked harder than paddling. Off we went. The entrance was smooth - a sweet boof over a medium sized hole. Then down the slide, missing the big hole halfway down, and around the pillow at the bottom. Eddying up to high fives, huzzahs and general class IV excitement. An excellent rapid, approached in multiple craft, on an excellent creek.

The remainder of the run has one more nice drop, then some mellow action to the take-out, where Mark met us just in time to lug his raft out of the river.

All was well, and this is surely one of my favorite local runs.

Pics: http://www.vtpaddlers.net/talk/upload/index.php?directive=show&showVolume=rivers&showAlbum=Paul+Stream&dirAlbum=Paul Stream&showEvent=11_6_2010&eventLabel=11%2F6%2F2010&datestamp=2010-11-06 00:00:00&index=0&date_test=%3C%3D%272010-12-31%27#slideshow

link

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd17lg7zJR4

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Brown Paddle
Saturday Nov 13, 2010
Organizer: John A
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low
Author: Peg P

What a beautiful day for a paddle. Not a cloud in the sky, warm weather good friends. Too bad the water wasn't quite as warm as I thought it would be. There was one fish counter this trip and it was me. I used the excuse that I was paddling a strange boat (Paul C's Mamba), but that only went so far. The first feature we encounter was the dam. We got out to scout and John took the first run. Straight for the rooster tail, bounce off a rock and into the pool below. Easy right? I put in my boat and planned to follow John's path. NOT! I went too far to the left, got forced right, into a rock and finally ending up upside down. BRRRRR!. Ken was up next with a beautiful execution followed by Chris who nailed it. After wainting for me to empty my boat, we were on our way again. (did I mention how cold the water was?). Paddled through some fun little rapids, even though there were alot of rocks. (John thought it was fun to BOOF off rocks) Silly John. Got to a little S turn where we were supposed to go Left then Right then Left and into and eddy. (thus avoiding the big rock in the middle) Chris was clean as always, then it was Ken's turn. Left, Right, Left, oops, flip, roll, then eddy. (ice cream type headache). My turn. Left, Right, Right, Right, bounce off the rock I was supposed to avoid, and over the little ledge I went. (I had planned the whole thing) Into an eddy I went, followed by Chris, Ken then John. Off again to paddle some more rocks. After a few bumps and boof's we reached the falls. Out to scout a line. Another plan of Right, Left, Eddy, Left. Or so I thought. I got the Right Left Right down, but then beached on a rock. Watching Chris roll his eyes, I lunged forward into the eddy. PHEW! John came after me and decided to forgo the eddy and head right down the slide on the falls. Ken was on his heels, who picked a much more graceful line than John. Ok, my turn. Heading for the slide...oops, change of plans. Just shy of the slide, I bounced off the rock, spun around and found myself going backwards down the falls. Leave it to me. With one last look at John and Ken, over I go. Guess who gets their stern stuck in the falls. ME! Trying to push off the rock behind the falls, the water grabs my paddle and I am left on my own. I guess the scene was quite amusing to watch, according to John, as I kept pushing off the rocks with my hands and then going right back where I was. I even tried to dog paddle my boat out, but to no avail. Eventually I went to reach for the rock to push off, only to discover it was not there, and over I went. In what felt like an eternity, but only a few seconds, the water pushed me down under my boat. Finally surfacing, John and Ken brought me to shore, all the while maintaining a straight face. We turn around in time to watch Chris head down. Well in the biggest moment of flattery ever, Chris decides to take the same line I did. Spinning around and about to go over the wrong part, backwards, he paddles like a maniac and gets back into the eddy. (I think he wanted to be cool like me). And down he comes, in the right place, and nails it. While emptying my boat again, I am wondering if blue is the right color for my fingers. I decide it is not. Back in the river we go. Bouncing and boofing off rocks, we head to the beaver dam. Luckily John had his handy dandy saw, and manages to chew through the big log blocking the way. Chris roped it and pulled it free and we were ready to go. John first. Oops, hit that rock, oops, there is another, but he lands gracefully into the pool below. Chris is next, and of course nails the line and drops into the pool, as Ken and I watch. Umm did I mention that I chose to NOT go over this feature, but walked around. Hearing hoots and hollers from the river, I assume that Ken made it down without a hitch. Would have been kinda nice of the boys had told me where to put back in, but instead I walked and walked until I could find a place to drop in. And off we were again. John tells us that there is another feature coming up and before we know it, we are there. (this is where Chris advised me NOT to go right, thanks Chris) Chris, Ken and I are down and go around the corner to see the bottom of where we didn't want to go right. Nice slide, complicated. Chris's words of wisdom to John was "yes but if you end up upside down, it could be messy" Messy Chris? I thought very painful and possible drowning was more likely. Back to the river. (it is only then that John tells us that if we would have encouraged him, he would have gone right....sure John). Oh wait, I didn't mention that in the beginning of the trip, John told us he had found a new take out, "just a little ways after the bridge". Apparently we need to get John an odometer for his kayak as his "little ways down" turned into almost ending up in the Lamoille. ALL FLAT WATER! Thanks John. When we finally get the the bridge at the take out, there is a small wave train, where John tried to redeem himself stating we would have missed "all this" if we had taken out earlier. (about 3 inches of water for the wave train, how could we have turned that up John). By this time, I am frozen and decide that I am going to take out before the bridge. And through a cow field I go, complete with burdocks, water and poop. The boys play somemore under the bridge, and we meet at Johns truck. (thank you John for parking in the swamp) John shows us his new key fob that is attached to his PFD, so we knew we were ok. (guess he learned Rich) The boys took pity on me as I shivered so hard the road shook, put me in the car and loaded my boat for me. :) Back to the put in we go. Wet clothes stripped off, boats loaded, heading for home). So the moral of this story is....the next time John says he is buying.....HE LIES! Thanks for the last paddle of the year for me guys. You are awesome. See you all on the water in the pool.

Wood Removal
Saturday Nov 27, 2010
Organizer: John Atherton
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Peg

Ok, so not really a "paddling trip report" but a report, none the less. A cold and frosty day was off to a great start, when I showed up by myself. Oh BTW John, NHL is NOT on route 17. Whatever, we met up at Toaster. Umm AJ...I think I will wait a bit on that one, but thanks. John redeemed himself by bringing me my Latte...YUM! Headed over to the church and scouted the "log jam". By this time, the snow had begun to fall lightly. Met Jamie in the woods, and John and I headed out to get the tools needed to become lumberjacks. Out of John's truck came a chainsaw, a little saw, a smaller saw, some rope, more rope and some gas. Then the fun stuff came out. The WADERS!!! John said that he had never used them before and was not sure if they had holes in or not. One way to find out, I say, if they fill up with water and you go floating down the river, then we know we have a problem. (yunno me, always have a solution). So there goes John hiking up his pants, and off we go....."ummm hey John?" "Yes Peg?" "Umm John, your pants are falling down." "Yes Peg I was wondering how they were going to stay up." "Umm John, those things hitting you in the knees would be the suspenders." "Oh why yes they are Peg, thanks", as he buttons himself up. We meet Jamie on the path who simply rolls his eyes at yet another moment from the class of 2010 clowns. Off we go again to tackle the trees. John immediately tests his waders and find no holes. My boots are too short so I stay on dry land, (that's my excuse and I am sticking to it) and Jamie suits up in his dry suit and quite gracefully skitters across the log. The chainsaw fires up and the boys are just a cutting. Now picture this, these logs are about 8-10 feet in the air and OVER the river. Got it? So here goes John with the saw above his head cutting wood, until he can't reach any further. After some managerial discussions, they decide to move to the other side of the river, where I am. Again Jamie shows his cat like grace and swings up over the water onto land. John however, seems to be having trouble. Umm John......your vest goes on THE OTHER WAY....IT'S UPSIDE DOWN. After Jamie and I dry our tears, John makes it over to the other side. Back to cutting. Now John decides he has to stand on the side of the hill and Jamie (I can hold ya there John) lends a hand. Cut after cut, the tree slowly disappears and the channel is now open again. By this time, the snow has really started to fall and we call it a day. Snip off some more pesky limbs and head back to the vehicles. Then out for a tour of NHL with our nimble guide, Jamie. John, yes pretty nimble, Peg....ya not so much. After a grueling trek up trails for goats, we are able to see some features and pick out our lines. Well for next year anyways. NHL watch out! 2011 here we come.

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