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NBW with no one to share it with

Tuesday Jun 6, 2017
Kayak: Ryan M
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium high
Author: Ryan

On my way home from work site visits up in Calais, the skies opened up and it rained like no body's business for 2 hours.  By the time it had ended nothing but the headwater streams were barely budging.  I knew that in about an hour all local runs were going to be in the boatable range.  Sending out a flurry of emails and texts to get folks to join me, I ultimately headed out by myself as is par for the course when you live on the east side of the Green Mountains.  It was about 5:30 and we had ample day light so I knew I was in no hurry to get down the river.....what river did I want to ply this evening.  Skies were breaking, a rainbow had popped out and it was 75 degrees.  Dumb question - go straight to the NBW, Pass go and don't even wait to collect $200...


As I drove up Route 12 the levels still looked low down around the village of Worcester, but boatable.  Once up close to the Elmore line, the water pouring off of the rocks was pretty heavy and I knew that levels would rise while I was on the river.  I took my time getting suited up and on the river.  Once on the river I noticed right away that the levels were stout and likely higher than I had ever run the river solo. 


Working my way down to Broken Falls the warm up ledges were fun and I was trying to get my head dialed in to what would be a pretty committing solo run.  Broken falls was surging and the lines were undefined, but clean and padded.  I just ran into it and kept on a right brace to the lip with a late boof.  OK - I was skipping across the pool at the bottom and feeling as right as rain.  Here we go.


The three sisters were up next and disappoint.  The turtle boof was huge and fluffy and the flair was clean and deep.  The third sister was fine and dandy as well and lead into the narrows which had a bunch of holes through it that aren't usually there.  All good.


Fine Line - the first big vertical drops on the river was pushing pretty good and I decided to eddy out at the lip, great for getting a look not so great for setting up a fun line.  All looked clean and I dropped into the trough on river right.  That set me up for a huge auto boof.  For a change I didn't rocket into the wall and it went well.  Off to Manky Mank.  I ran left lines on both of them and they were fairly padded out with out the usually crunch and smash that usually accompanies that rapid.


OK - Big Bouncy.  I walked up and down it looking at the lines and how much the water was pushing.  I seriously considered walking it a number of times because the level was high, but logically looking that the moves, I knew if I focused and made correct strokes I'd clean it and avoid the nightmare of the portage.  I also thought of running it last fall on my head and how lucky I was not to get injured.  There is a small window to hit at the lip that sets you up for the final 20 feet and if you miss it you are going to get hosed.  Getting to that window means cleanly navigating two 5 foot ledges with holes and a slide into a cross current before stroking hard to get left off of the prow and the final portion of BB.  The ledges were fine and I actually hit them pretty hard to boof over the holes.  The slide I was a little too far right and went deep but was able to crank my self left and hit the prow cleanly and make the bottom in fine shape.  WHEW and WOO HOO!


On down to Flat Falls.  At this level it is a fun and awesome boof off left center.  8 feet of airborne into fluff.  Then around the bend on Sliding board (Stay Left!!!!) and eddy out and get a look at Double Drop...  The whole sequence was clean and man was it pumping!  Uh - the pillow fight was oh so good!  Thinking about this rapid may need a rename.  How may frigging named "Double Drops" are there on rivers around here.  From now on I am officially calling Double Drop "Pillow Fight"!


Next up - Cave Falls.  What an amazing rapid this is.  Maybe the most picturesque on the river.  The entry offers up to options.  The committing boof over the cave and hole or the slide on river right.  Both land you in a mini chasm that you need to build up some speed to bust our of the hole at the bottom.  AS big and fluffy as it has ever been and the slide to boof into the chasm was lubed up and super smooth.  The 4 foot drop just beyond the exit hole was fun and the lip was clean.



The Last Drop - Visually the most committing with a 50 foot slide to a 12 foot lip.  The drop is river wide and a bad line could mean a nasty piton at the bottom of the drop.  My favorite line on river left has been closed out for 3 years with a huge tree and gnarly stump in it.  Down the gut and get a huge stroke to clear the bottom ledge.  On a high from just running the entire river on a beautiful night, I made the most of the remaining light and get back in the river above the drop and made a few strokes and envisioned the moves needed to get on the correct stream down the slide to hit my boof.  Off I went, slid into the pillow and then let the current take me down the slide toward the lip, a hard reach for my toes, grab of the lip with the paddle blade and a vertical tug and pull knees to my ears.  I was mid air wheelie'ng off the lip and on my way to a soft splash down in the pool



A clean run and a beautiful sky to hike back up Route 12 by myself in the dark.  Not a single car passed me in either direction giving me the walk to soak in the experience, night and life.  Man "it" can be so good some times!

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