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Upper North Branch Lamoille

Thursday Apr 17, 2014
Participants:
Kayak: Paul Carlile, Jamie Dolan
C1: Alden Bird
Organizer: Paul Carlile
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (cfs): 2400
Author: Alden Bird

Two days before we met at the Waterville General Store at 5:00 pm, the Lamoille had run over its banks and closed Route 15. It had rained and then it had snowed and then the river had dropped as quickly as it had flooded. Once we'd met and shuttled and dressed and paddled across the bog high in the drainage, the white rime of ice on the riverbank moss was a foot off the water. The saplings coated like white ornaments bent toward the water. The woods were covered with snow.

By the first mile, I had remembered the beauty of this stretch; by the second mile, the subtlety of the canoe paddle; by the third, the steep rapids above Belvidere Center, some of which you can't see down.

We caught few eddies, the rapids came and came, and there was total focus in the moment. Rapid after rapid, I unwound from a long day. It was nice to have work done and to finish on the river. It had been some time since we'd all paddled this stretch and we all enjoyed it and said we'd be back.

I drove home through the mountains after we'd made plans to paddle again the next day on a different river.

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