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Another Pemi/EB Pemi Trip report

Saturday May 9, 2015
Kayak: Mike, Will, Becca, lots of Maine Folks
Organizer: Mike
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium low
Gauge (cfs): 500
Author: Mike

Most of the week I was bombarded with reports of sunny weather and great water levels in New Hampshire, but aside from a quick low-water Mad lap my week was nothing but work.  That had been pretty much the story for my entire spring and I was a bit frustrated.  It seemed unlikely that the good snowmelt would continue through the weekend, but I figured at least I'd get a solo low-water EB Pemi lap in to help keep myself sane.


Surprisingly, Will was game for a trip over there, and Friday afternoon showed levels not dropping a whole lot.  Tom had an itch for logging that needed scratching and Becca figured that after she dropped him off for his logging class she could meet us for a run with a couple other Maine folks, and so it looked like a Saturday of paddling was lined up.


We met a big group of Maine folks at Lincoln woods and as usual, inquiries into my State of origin were made, until I told them who their home state was named after.  And being residents of a state devised for my vacationing purposes, they were eager to do the 3-mile hike up to the upper section.  They were so motivated in fact that while I was still the first to the put-in bridge, I had barely enough time to drink my beer before the rest of the group showed up.  


There's not a whole lot to say about the EB Pemi but it was a little over 1000 cfs and at that level it's a lot of fun class III with tons of fun boofs, slots, eddies and holes to mess around with.  At the regular put-in Will and I decided we needed to get moving to catch the Upper Pemi and did the rest of the run in about 45 minutes, passing several more large groups of paddlers out enjoying the beautiful day, and when we did shuttle we ran into yet more paddlers putting in.  There must have been 40 boaters on the river that day, enjoying it like everyone should.


Up at the Upper Pemi put-in, we judged the level acceptable and put on, neither of us having done the run before.  After Alan's passing, I thought I'd never do this run, but now I think that's not a great legacy nor a good way to remember someone.  We took a conservative approach that involved some careful scouting and a ton of careful eddy-hopping and two portages.  What a great run.  Tons of polished granite and clear water that in places takes on an iridescent blue-green hue, not from any sort of sediment but rather the scattering of light off millions of tiny suspended air bubbles.  Unlike a lot of other New England creeks it's not super-steep or stacked... but somehow every time you turn around there's another great, decent-sized rapid.


Jogging shuttle up the bike path was an added bonus, with dusk settling into the spruce and birches while orange sunlight still hung on Lafayette and Cannon above.  On foot I was surprised at how short this run really is... 2 or 3 miles though it feels longer.  And that's just it... a run that just keeps going and going.


And other things that just keep going and going:  memories of people we paddle with, or mellow runs where we remember what we love about the sport.

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