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Joe's Brook

Saturday Apr 22, 2017
Kayak: Jamie Dolan, Scott Gilbert, Noah Greenstein, Chris Ingram, Mike Mainer, Dan Mayer, Ryan McCall, Jason McMullen, Noah Pollock, Neal Sandford, Will Seegers, Jordan Vickers
Open Canoe: Tony Shaw
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium high
Author: Tony Shaw

On days like this one, Joe's Brook deserves (and gets) your full attention. The level was medium pushing medium-high. A smaller party hankering to run Joe's 4 days earlier met in West Danville and agreed the level that day was too stout, so we continued driving east to run the (easier) Moose River from Victory Bog to Concord. High water on Joe's is not for the faint-hearted, and I'm aware that Matt Young, Alden Bird, Scott Gilbert, and possibly others had survived high water runs earlier in April. Scott had warned of the occasional tree trunk or limb in the current to avoid, which is business as usual on seldom run steep creeks.

Though we were a big group - perhaps the biggest group ever to run Joe's - there were eddies (and routes) aplenty. The big slide above the covered bridge at Greenbank's Hollow was run successfully by everyone, but we all walked the long and merciless covered bridge drop, given that the river-right "sneak" route has a tree trunk in it near the top. The two mile long covered bridge section was well-padded and tempestuous. The one river-wide strainer Scott reported in the first big drop below the Morse's Mills bridge had (to our relief) flushed downstream enough to no longer require a portage. Gone too was the impassible ice bridge in the lower "mini" gorge, opening that exciting stretch to the first descents of 2017. Those who ran the serpentine sluiceway of a rapid under the Brook Hill Rd. bridge put on an acrobatic show for those of us living vicariously on the banks, and no one got re-circ'ed in the river-left whirlpool at the bottom. Still, not a bad idea to have your throw bags ready here. I lost count of my swims at about 6, none of which were long or harrowing. Mainly I was getting upended when I'd crash into the big wall of water formed by holes below the steeper slides - always thankfully flushing gently out.

Ten miles, five hours, and 1000 vertical feet later we all washed up on shore at the VT 5 bridge wearing big grins - where cold beers were waiting. There was talk at one point of a Joe's weekend double-header, but 10 more miles on Joe's before Monday sounded overly ambitious. On top of which, a release on the Green River in Hyde Park VT was scheduled for Sunday.

The minutia: 118 cfs through the generator, 30 more cfs through the sluiceway, some ice still on the pond at a height of 5.2 feet, and the bladder partially deflated at 1.5 psi (spilling moderately). The 2 gauge rocks in the water upstream of the powerhouse at the put-in were covered, but a boat going over them would probably scrape. Noah Pollock took lots of cool pictures.

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