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Lower Mad

Saturday Apr 30, 2011
Kayak: David Hathaway, Francis McGuire, John Atherton, Jim Poulin, EJ Bartlett, Woody ??, Chris Weed
Organizer: David Hathaway
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium high
Gauge (ft): 4.33
Gauge (cfs): 943

Everyone but Woody (who we didn't know was coming) met at the Lover's Lane take out at 11 AM and headed up in two cars. At the put in we found Woody's front wheels mired in the ditch (looked solid, but wasn't), but John had a towing strap and managed to pull him out. We warmed up ferrying back and forth at the put in, and then started down, with Jim in the lead and Chris running sweep. John flipped and swam near the bottom of the entry rapid and lost hold of his boat and paddle. David grabbed the paddle and clipped it to his tether, but then ended up misaligned on Double Drop and ran through the big curling wave on the right, and flipped and swam (but held on to his boat and both paddles). Meanwhile Jim was chasing John's boat and managed to bring it to shore below the bridge. After watching all this, Francis decided to walk around Double Drop. On one of the next rapids David managed to flip again, but this time pulled off a successful roll. We all got out above Horseshoe, and only John decided to try running it. With four throw ropes at the ready, John bumped along the far left and was in almost perfect position as he took the drop. It looked like he took the drop well, but didn't have quite enough speed, and disappeared into the froth. Both Jim and EJ threw ropes, and John, his boat, and his paddle were all pulled to shore. John said he didn't have to wet exit, as the turbulence sucked him right out of his boat. Francis decided to walk Washing Machine as well as Horseshoe, but the rest of us proceeded through it. John took a swim crossing the eddy line out into the turbulent pool below horseshoe, but managed to get out before being flushed through Washing Machine, and EJ rounded up his boat at the bottom. I didn't see it, but since I saw him draining his boat on the shore, I think Woody also swam in Washing Machine. Somewhere along the way the strap holding EJ's seat back managed to come loose. She had the pin that linked the back strap to the ratchet strip, but the back to it was missing. A jury rigged repair with an old piece of duck tape wrapped and tied around it held for the rest of the trip. From there on down the trip was pretty uneventful. We all took the right side of the island for the final rapid, and John went back up and ran the left side as well. Then a flat water paddle with a stiff headwind back to the take out, getting there a little before 2, I think.

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