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The river I still can't spell correctly

Sunday Jun 15, 2014
Participants:
Kayak: Danny, Andy, Hank, Andrew, Mike
Organizer: Paddlers in the 1980's
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Gauge (cfs): 1800
Author: Mike M

It might not be worth preparing a trip report for every random local run I do, but since this river is a product of release negotiations (and will again in the next decade or so, I hope), it's worth putting this in the record.

First, let's start with a factoid: The name "Missisquoi" is derived from the Algonquin word "Masiskoik", which means "Big Rocks". This is something of a misnomer since most of the Missisquoi is clayey and very flat, and the few places there might have once been large rocks have generally been flooded by hydroelectric projects, the Sheldon Springs Rapids being the notable exception.

The first two weeks of June ended up being fairly good in Vermont, especially that weekend when Friday and Saturday offered considerable local goodness. But by Sunday morning things were dropping and the choices boiled down to bone-zone New Haven Ledges laps, the Lower Mad at a somewhat scrapy level, or.... juicy class IV! I chose the latter and arranged for folks to meet me up at Sheldon Springs and for the power company to give us some water.

It was a ton of fun... more fun than I should be allowed to have at least. It seemed tricky to get the level behind the dam stabilized, but it came out to be around 202.8 plus the flap gate all the way open, so probably 1800 cfs or so. For some reason it came up to about 203.0 for our next few laps, probably about 2000, felt similar to the higher releases we've seen in the past, perhaps a smidge lower since things seemed a little meatier. The left side sneak looked barely runnable at 1800. Either way it was just great. To quote former Jedi paddler and my spiritual advisor Dave "just like a pillow fight with 15 virgins". We did four laps, and could have done more except I was getting sunburned and it was Patrick's birthday so we headed to St. Albans for lunch.

While this run is short and not incredibly scenic, it has some really fun full-volume paddling and a pretty long season with the releases thrown in. As Danny said "I'm not supposed to run a river like this in Vermont, especially not when it's sunny out."

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