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Missisquoi Release #2

Saturday May 30, 2015
Kayak: 5 Dartmouth kids, Ben, Catharine, Jim, Brock, Sarah, Cam, Danny, Eric, Kevin, Billy, Max, Sam, Mike
Organizer: AW, Enel, etc.
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Mike M

With year-to-date precipitation nearing 60% of normal and the NWS putting VT in a minor drought, I had pretty much given up on paddling much this season.  The last weekend of May offered the potential of an inch or so of rain Saturday evening, but it seemed unlikely that an inch would even wet the ground, much less bring anything worthwhile up.  And so the weekend looked to be one of car maintenance, doing a week's worth of laundry or catching up at the office.


Then I got an email from Bob Nasdor.  It looked like the Missisquoi was up and if I could get a group of five committed Enel was willing to give us a low water release.  Well 2:00 rolled around and it was like pulling teeth getting enough folks interested.  Then all of a sudden 10 people were committed and it looked like I wasn't going to be doing laundry on Saturday morning.


I usually get up there a little before 10 to meet the dam operator and get things rolling.  As 10:00 approached I was surprised to see many more cars with boats pulling in, and then the Dartmouth van.  The Enel Dam Op folks are really reliable and are always there ready to turn the water on but 10:00 rolled around and no dam operator.  Folks joked that there must be a wall switch somewhere that we could use... but as the clocked passed 10:05 still no luck and furrowed brows looked towards me, imploring me to find some sort of liquid to paddle on that beautiful morning.  Worried that I'd look like a fool I headed for the takeout and sure enough a guy from Enel was on his way up.  And before long 18 boaters were watching the flap gate open and spill 1000 cfs of silty green water into the Sheldon Springs Bypass.


There's not much more to the day, other than that we did 5 laps as a giant group.  Every time I turned around the river would be full of boaters, ferrying back and forth, boofing, surfing and running different lines.  It was great to see.  The 1000 cfs level was a little lower than ideal but still 100% fun, though the middle tier of Big Schott and a few other places have some really legitimate pin potential at these lower levels.  Regardless, Enel actually shut the whole plant down to get us the water, so I wasn't complaining.


We finished our last lap a little before 3:30.  It was still sunny and surprisingly hot, but there were cumulonimbus clouds to the west and the breeze smelled like rain.

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