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Jay Brook on the fly...

Sunday May 4, 2014
Participants:
Kayak: Ryan M, Clay M, Mike M
Organizer: Mike M.
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

Whoa!

There have been nebulous reports that there was some high quality whitewater in them there hills of the North Country. Since we were already almost at the Canadian boarder for the Missisquoi release and everything north of Rt 15 got pummeled with copious amounts of rain Saturday night we thought....what the heck, lets check it out - its only another 30 minutes to the east and we are all the way up here! So Mike Clay and myself headed east toward Montgomery with visions of beautiful sculpted schist and giant boulder gardens. Our beta of the run came from a few folks that had run it years ago and some obscure photos that Dave Packie took while getting in a solo low water summer run. The photos made it look magical and fun with one terrifying (probably unrunable) waterfall.

So to the put in we went up off of Amidon Road (those of you that ski Jay....think The Belfry). It looked low passable and there was a painted gauge on the bridge abutment that was splashing at 3 when we started and was at a solid 3 when we ended. Again level was low fluid boatable. The first section was shallow cobble/boulder garden stuff. Relatively low gradient but busy enough to be ok. Once Wade Brook came in on the left (Wade drains Hazen Notch on the north side), the flow picked up as did the gradient. The boulders got bigger and the horizon lines did as well. We noticed that the river bed was showing some more signs of bedrock grade control rapids too! Fun high quality stuff that required your attention but didn't elevate to PUCKER FACTOR on the pucker factor meter. We were able to boat around or thru a few of the wood snags, but one was a jumblely mess and we hopped out. Mike and Clay river right and I was on river left. Just below this stick pile the river woke up and showed it's true colors - we were dubbing it QUAD Drop. there were four distinct drops in this rapid that required a little bit of all your creeking skils - a right handed boof into a pool with a quick eddy out, then a jet ferry into a slot that you needed to drive up and into, then another eddy before you caught a tongue on to a flake to clear a seam and then a brace left down a small slide to pick your poison of going left and into another seam/hole thing that jammed you into an undercut boulder (undercut - this is a common theme on this river) or you went right and paddled under a massive boulder - almost like going into a cave. Mike and clay went left I took the opportunity to paddle through and under the cave at the bottom. At higher levels it would be terrifying on river right and maybe even terminal. Below this we could see mist blasting up....had to be the big unrunable. We were caution not to get sucked into the lead in and hopped our way down to it with a couple of other quality rapids. You portage the big one on river right and then carry down to one of the better drops in VT. IT is a double drop of two 10 footers back to back. We all looked at it long and hard but decided that it was late in the day and weren't feeling all that studly at the moment (gotta get back there to give it a go though). Below this there were several cool bedrock drops to the take out - but the middle section above the big falls was top notch and worth the drive up there!

Like I said it is a long haul up there but if you are up in the area and the water is up - you really need to check out this beauty of a brook...I know Mike Clay and I will be back in there....

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