The Vermont Paddlers Club

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White River - Stockbridge to Bethel

Saturday Apr 26, 2014
Participants:
Kayak: Craig (CJ) Carline, Chris Frost, David Hathaway, Chuck Malerich, James Travers, Chris Weed
Open Canoe: Tony Shaw
C1: Ryan Zajac
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low
Gauge (ft): 6.2
Gauge (cfs): 2800
Author: Tony Shaw

Even with the inhospitable weather forecast more than 10 boaters expressed interest in the novice/intermediate "Upper White" trip - and 8 of us showed up at noon at the put-in, just as the temperature broke the 40 degree mark and the rain showers tapered off.

Some ducked and some carried around the river-wide strainer 100 yard downstream from the Tweed River put-in off VT 100. We dispensed with our first (and only) swim early in the run. Scattered here and there dead trees still litter the banks, principally on river left, where tropical storm Irene caused whole hillsides to collapse into the river, and one of those trees caught Chris F. unawares and knocked his helmet cam into the drink. Thankfully, he discovered, it floats!

The Upper White is certainly siltier since Irene, and still looks battle-torn in many places, but it remains nevertheless an attractive river - even on a see-your-breath dreary kind of day. Friday's showers afforded medium-low conditions with plenty of small pour-overs and holes to boost your surfing confidence. CJ set a leisurely pace as the "lead", and we stopped a couple of times briefly to snack, stretch, and/or water the lawn. Most of the solid class II rapids in the middle (a.k.a. "Gaysville") section we took in single file fashion, but in every rapid there were always multiple lines if you wanted to spice it up. In Gaysville we floated by (and spoke briefly with) a newly self-baptized dripping wet teen-age participant in the latest Facebook "Polar Plunge Dare" challenge that apparently is going viral - and IMO none too smart at this time of year.

Craig's wife Sarah met us at the take-out with a Wolaver's Stout 12 pack as the sun made it's first appearance all day, a purrrrfect ending for a chilly April outing on the Upper White. River time: 4 hours. Distance: 6.8 miles. High: 46 degrees.

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