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Huntington River

Sunday Apr 21, 2013
Kayak: JimP, JimF, Frank, Ed, Ken, Paul, Sue, Mark, Dottie, Jonathan, Silas, Rod, Jamie, Chris
Open Canoe: Tony
C1: Ryan
Inflatable: Tina
Organizer: JimF & JimP
Difficulty: novice WW
Level: low boatable
Author: JimP

(non-paddlers): Dawn, Jessica, Charlotte, Derek, Joann, John

Was this a river trip with two food events or a couple of food events that included a river trip? Well, I guess I'll let you decide

There were five parts of this "trip" so the trip report will deal with each portion separately.

Part I -- Brunch

Sunday morning, April 21st started off cool and clear. A perfect day for brunch! Seventeen (17!) paddlers and five hungry non paddlers descended upon Main Road in Huntington, home of the Fecteaus. Jim and Jessica did a marvelous job hosting the brunch and many participants brought dishes to augment the feast. Plus the time spent socializing let the temperatures warm to somewhere just over the freezing mark!

Part II -- Put in to the Huntington Gorge

We launched from Port Fecteau at around 11:30. The level was "Low Fun" which means we can make it down! The first stretch, while the Huntington is a wide valley river, proved challenging in a few spots. Not so shallow that you had to get out of your boat, but not fluid enough to float over everything.

JimP ran lead and TonyS was sweep boat so we could keep track of everyone. As one can imagine, seventeen boats can stretch out quite a bit on the river! And you try doing a head count on 17 moving paddlers -- I came up with a different number every time! 15, no, 16, no, 15, grrr, no wait 17!

Once we entered the Gorge Section -- which I identify as paralleling Dugway Road -- the river pinched and low flow is less of an issue. There were a few smaller play spots that got some love.

We made it to the Huntington Gorge without incident and everyone made the "must make" eddy before the Gorge. It was at this point that Tina and Sue decided they had enough. (or conversely, starting thinking about the waiting hot tub at the take out!)

Part III -- Huntington Gorge to Three Buckets

So the remaining group of fifteen shouldered our boats and portaged around the Huntington Gorge. Not exactly easy but we made our way down to rejoin the river about 100 yards below the Gorge. This section of river is a very short stretch, maybe one half mile. But it contains a nice stretch of whitewater. With the sun shining brightly overhead, the water was glistening white and everyone navigated down to the next portage from hell.

Part IV -- Three Buckets to Jonesville Takeout

All the boaters trudged up the steep unimproved bank to Dugway road. There was sweating, swearing and heavy breathing all about. OK, that was just me and it wasn't pretty! Once on Dugway Road we needed to repeat the process working our way back down to the river. This was done via a path maintained by the Richmond Land Trust and much easier than the ascent. We put in right at the end of the Three Buckets. There is a tricky wall shot immediately after launching. This move gobbled up three of our group. Once safely repackaged in their crafts we ventured downstream only to be greeted by a river broaching log in the next rapid.

We set safety as the portage included a "must make" eddy on river left right before the log. With JimF standing in the shallow eddy snagging boats and JimP strategically sitting mid-river on the log itself, we managed to get all boaters, save one, into the eddy. That one lucky boater got to see what it is like to float into a river wide strainer and gave Jim (and the rest of our group) a bit of a panic attack! But it all worked out OK and soon we were headed downstream again.

There were a few more rapids that were highlighted by limited visibility of the whole rapid and the white froth of sunlit whitewater. Fun, bouncy, class II stuff. After the last rapid we were greeted by the non paddlers that had walked up to a popular swimming hole just to greet us.

After a few hellos, the paddlers hit the watery trail and the non paddlers hit the dusty trail for the remaining half mile of the trip.

Part V -- BBQ

Once the paddlers were out of their gear and the shuttles run, we settled down for the second eating event of the day! Some paddlers delayed the food event so they could warm their core temps in the hot tub. Others dug into the feast like they hadn't eaten in five hours! There was good food and drink and many an exaggerated story. You woulda though we just finished some class V death run, not the tame old Huntington!

But all in all it was a great day with a great group of people -- both paddlers and non. We all agreed this was an event that should make its appearance on the trip calendar every year. So we renamed it the First Annual Huntington River Paddle/Eat Fest.

Eat to Paddle, Paddle to Eat


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